Saturday, August 15, 2009

NOVICA "Out on the Town" Handbag Review

The folks over at NOVICA asked me to try out a product from their budding handbag line, and I jumped at the chance. NOVICA is a subsidiary of National Geographic, peddling fair trade accessories, jewelry, handbags, artwork, and clothing produced by artisans from around the world. The site is a goldmine of gift ideas and funky adornments, but since they're hoping to stir up some interest in their extensive collection of handbags, they asked me to choose a review item from that section of the site.

Many of the bags were just gorgeous, but as a devotee of silver- or no-hardware, I found my options limited: Lots of brass and goldtone, but relatively little silver. There are also many, many adorable cloth bags, but I am a leather handbag girl to the end. Finally, the site offers countless gorgeous hand-tooled leather options, but I really do prefer a plain bag. Dang, I am hard to please!

But I finally landed on the Out on the Town handbag, pictured above, which fits all of my picky-girl criteria and is utterly darling to boot. It arrived within four days of order, and came beautifully wrapped:

And included a gift card with a short bio for the artisan:

This smallish tote style handbag is elegantly designed, and the craftsmanship did not disappoint. The handles are sturdily constructed and the exterior pocket has a subtle slope that adds to the overall appeal of the bag's design. The leather isn't particularly supple, but its stiffness works well with the overall shape: Anything softer wouldn't hold this particular form terribly well.

The satin-lined interior is surprisingly roomy for such a compact bag, and has an internal zip pocket (vital for a Rolaid-and-lip-balm hoarder such as myself). However, this is still an occasional bag for me. I need something twice this size for daily use! But I've been lacking a slightly dressy brown handbag, and this little cutie definitely fits the bill.

Obviously, I can't vouch for the entire product line, but I am definitely pleased with design, construction, and quality of the Out on the Town handbag sample I received. I'd definitely keep NOVICA in mind for gift-giving occasions, especially for the environmentally and economically conscious folks in my life.

Has anyone else explored or ordered from the site? Heard any other opinions of their products? Do tell, if so!


Imogen Lamport said...

What a gorgeous little handbag!

Wendy said...

I've been reading your blog for about a month (love it!) but this post finally prompted me to comment. I love Novica, and have ordered from them about ten times, all with great success. I have gifted several of their items, as well.

I mostly buy silver jewelry from Novica--I get a rash from anything other than sterling silver, vermeil, or pure gold, so I'm always looking for sources for unusual, relatively inexpensive pieces in sterling or vermeil. When I found Novica I went a little crazy.

I get so many compliments on my Novica jewelry! Everyone wants to know where I got the pieces. It's not at all like what everyone else is wearing, and several of the necklaces and earrings I've purchased are among my statement/signature pieces.

There is a wide price range depending on materials, region of the world, etc., but there are definitely some excellently priced items and everything is handmade. The silver jewelry from Bali, for example, is generally quite reasonably priced (though it can take longer to arrive given the distance it has to travel).

I've admired their beaded evening bags from India, too, and have always thought I'd get one the next time I have a dressy occasion to go to, and I'm eyeing some of the beautiful scarves for fall.

Lesa said...

I have bought a ton of things on Novica (great for unusual wedding gifts) I collect Mexican folk art so it is a treasure trove for me. I also love that you get to know a little about the artist....

If you get on their mailing list they have sales, usually geared to a certain part of the world.

Also, unique silver jewlery to die for!


Diana said...

I've never bought anything from this company before but that handbag is beautiful, and I love the ethics behind it. I think I'll have to try them out.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

This is new to me. Super cute bag and I LOVE all of the packaging details.

Rosie Unknown said...

What a gorgeous bag! I love it!

Sal said...

Wow, you guys! Just goes to show that just because a shopping resource is new to ME, doesn't mean you awesome people haven't been shopping there for ages.

Wendy, thanks especially for your input on the jewelry. I was very curious about the quality!

Lesa: I can so see that! Cruising around the site, I saw tons of great items that would've made unique gifts.