ALTERNATIVE SHOPPING WITH A VINTAGE TWIST

Feeling fabulous with Vintage Lover

One of the most difficult things to do is find an online shop that really ticks all the boxes. As a genuine lover of online shopping I’m constantly looking for a new online store to play at. I’ve followed Vintage Lover on Instagram for quite some time.

While I adore their images and quirky shirts I’ve never really bought anything from them. I’m a fanatic of all things Harry Potter which is what drove me to make my first purchase with Vintage Lover.

And boy was that an experience I want on repeat…seriously. The entire experience was similar to a birthday celebration or Christmas day.

About Store/ shop/

It’s so easy to shop at Vintage Lover and the best part is that there endless options. You can alternate between shopping for the most beautiful vintage pieces and new items. Then there is their T-shirt section where you can find a range of the best and funniest T-Shirts online. Their latest Harry Potter range is to die for and I’m looking to get my hands on a few of them too.

The Website

When you visit the website you’ll find the newest and most popular items displayed on the home page. What I love about Vintage Lover is that they have categories for everything from jackets to headbands and sunglasses. If you love the old school sunglasses then you’ll find them here.

If you know what you are looking for you can simply visit the category of choice and browse to your hearts content. It’s a simplistically designed site that’s easy to navigate and the search function runs smoothly.

Products

I’ve always been weary of buying clothes online simply because I know one size might work in one store but it won’t necessarily work in another. When I saw the Harry Potter shirts I simply had to give it a go. I ordered a size bigger just to be safe. As an eager beaver for receiving more I started browsing through their other categories and I found a Deathly Hallows necklace. What I love about Vintage Lover is that they don’t give you the whole “one size fits all” spiel. In terms of necklaces they give you different lengths for the chain which is a win in my book. I got the longest length necklace chain and it was the best decision for my dressing style.

The T-shirts I ordered and the necklace was of the highest quality and the sizing is actually on point.

Pricing

Vintage Lover is one of those online stores that has something that fits everyone’s budget. Some items are a bit more expensive but that comes with the type of product purchased or the material used. Items are reasonably priced and the quality that goes with it is great. Definitely the best pricing you’ll get for branded shirts, vintage clothing and branded jewellery.

Packaging

This is the part I’m most excited to share with you as it’s the biggest reason for my excitement when it comes to Vintage Lover. On the one hand I don’t want to spoil it for you but on the other hand I want to share the experience so you too can get excited about your first or next purchase at Vintage Lover.

The items were shipped quickly after the order was made and came a few days later. For someone like me delivery days are like Christmas but this one was extra special. The packaging is absolutely beautiful and Vintage Lover has shown that you can make something simplistic look like a million bucks. The Shirts were wrapped in washi tape and then put in a protective plastic sleeve. Inside the package was my neatly folded new shirts, a handwritten note and a few extra surprises. I won’t ruin that part for you but just know Vintage Lover makes every order extra special.

Last thoughts

Shopping online is always fun but other variables like delivery, customer service and packaging can really ruin the experience. Vintage Lover ticks all the right boxes and makes shopping online simple, easy and extra special.

I’m constantly browsing their site, eagerly looking for more clothes and jewellery I can order. All just so I can wait for delivery day. They have a wide variety of clothing which is perfect for different occasions including festivals. Each and every item is treated with care and delivered in mint condition.

I adore Vintage Lover as you can see and I will continue to purchase from them just to get that birthday/Christmas feel. Have you shopped with them before? Share your experience?

Have any questions or queries?

Feel free to contact me…

MINIMALIST JEWELLERY MADE WITH LOVE

Trouver Jewellery

The thing about being curious is that you are constantly in need of something new. As an avid shopper, The Curious Critic is most happy stumbling upon new and less known shops whether it be online or off. Trouver Jewellery is a baby online store that can easily kick dust in most competitor’s eyes. This online store was officially launched in June 2017 and has slowly but surely become a recognized name among South Africans.

About Trouver Jewellery

For a store to exist there has to be a passionate individual who’s put in hours of thought and work. Trouver was created by Tharo Bothes in June 2014 but only sold to friends and acquaintances at first. Interestingly Tharo has had years of experience not just in the South African Fashion industry but also Californian. She spent quite some time overseas working with massive fashion brands such as the award-winning Trovata.

When she finally came back to South Africa she continued to learn and grow by taking jewellery manufacturing classes at night. It was in these classes that her dream and Trouver was born.

The Website

Website Snapshot

The amazing thing about Trouver is that what you see is what you get. The website is simplistic, pure and clean making it a blissful almost Zen shopping experience. In some ways the sites simplicity gives you a preview of what you can expect in the jewellery design.

You’ll also notice that you can choose which currency you want to purchase in which is a nice edition and makes it possible for shoppers worldwide to buy with comfort.

Products

Image by Trouver Jewellery

When you think of any of the rings, necklaces or earrings designed by Trouver you can expect minimalism and simplicity. Each and every piece is made using the lost wax casting method and then finished with hand. So in essence whenever you buy a product from Trouver, you buy something made with love and care.

Tharo, the owner and head designer, works with local craftsmen and suppliers to ensure that you get only the best on home ground. While the pieces might be simplistic they tend to make a statement. No matter what your Outfit of the Day is, you will be ready to rock with her sterling silver or brass coated jewellery.

Some of our favourite designs from Trouver is the Curva earrings and the Formado pendant. These beauties come with curves in all the right places and will leave you looking like a goddess. Most of the designs are unique and can’t be found at any other online stores, but there are scenarios where you can get something from Trouver that is similar to that created at one of the many other growing online jewellery store.

With a classic selection of pieces to choose from The Curious Critic fell in love with the Tiny Heart Ring. This piece is simplistic and looks beautiful on any finger. It was a tough choice considering that there are so many beautiful products to choose from but at the end of the day the sterling silver band with a tiny heart coated in brass just called out. Take a look at the beauty below:

Image by The Curious Critic

Pricing

When it comes to the Price Range it is in the same class as most of the other online jewellery shops online. Considering that you get sterling silver products created by hand with love and extra care you are actually getting a bargain price. What’s nice about Trouver is that each and every product available is affordable. Whether you are a mom or fresh out of college you will be able to afford one or two pieces a month without breaking the bank. It’s especially nice seeing as the products will last forever. Sure you can go to any clothing store and purchase 5 rings at a lower price but the difference is that these can be worn out where as products bought from a quality store such as Trouver can last for years and years.

Disappointments:

Shopping at Trouver brings little if not zero disappointments. If you don’t know your ring size you can cause your own disappointment by buying one a size or three too big (speaking out of experience here). Luckily Tharo is a legend and prides herself in giving excellent customer care. In very little time she will turn your disappointing frown into a smiling crown.

To avoid disappointment you can also head over to the sizing and care section on the site where you will get all the necessary information to place the correct order.

Packaging

As with everything else the packaging of your Trouver jewellery pieces are simplistic and clean. You’ll receive a little white box with some beautiful white and green washi paper inside and your jewellery piece neatly displayed and kept safe in a tiny zip lock bag.

Image by Trouver Jewellery

Customer Support:

I’m going to be honest and say that I’m probably not their favourite shopper at the moment. I had a little issue as I bought a ring that was way too big for me. In my defence I lost a lot of weight recently and I still sometimes buy as if I’m still 20kgs heavier than I am.

Tharo was a real gem, she handled the situation like a lady and even went above and beyond to send me two different sized rings to see which one fit. At the end of the day I realized I’m not an O or an N ½ but a size L 1/2. It amazed me that Tharo did so much from her side, I even got a little hand written note from the big boss lady herself.

*Disclaimer: In no way did Tharo know I was writing a review about this experience. I bought and acted like a normal customer to get the same treatment anyone else would get.

If you ever have a problem with your order or anything related to a Trouver purchase you can contact the team via their Contact Form on their website or via e-mail. Seeing as we live in a technologically advance era you can also contact Trouver via Facebook or Instagram. As is the case with most online stores, Trouver is highly active on both social media platforms which makes communication easy and speedy.

Image by Trouver Jewellery

Last Thoughts?

If there is one store I’d shop at any day it is Trouver. I highly recommend them if you are looking for minimalistic, statement jewellery of excellent quality. The shopping experience is blissful and even a little exotic seeing as each product gets a unique name that describes the style. But you can read more of this on the Journal (interlink) section of the website.

I might not know Tharo personally but it genuinely feels like I was buying something from a friend. She treats all customers like they are part of her inner circle. Correct me if I am wrong but I’d rather shop from someone who cares about my order, my sizing and my satisfaction rather than someone who is just in it for the money.

If you want to see more of what Trouver has to offer you can visit them at www.trouver.co.za. Trust me when I say you won’t be sorry, I know I wasn’t.

** If you’ve shopped with Trouver before but had a different experience tell me about it below.

Have any questions or queries?

Feel free to contact me…

THE SWEETIE BOX

A Monthly Sweetie Box
Subscription boxes are the latest trend. They are convenient, filled with goodies and delivered straight to your doorstep. If you are a shopping enthusiast like me with a need to spoil yourself from time to time then subscription boxes are ideal. You know what to expect but you never know exactly what you are going to get.

There are plenty of subscription boxes available both in South Africa and overseas. Of course you can get hundreds of subscription boxes overseas but South Africa is slowly but surely catching up. Home decor and treats seem to be the biggest focus of most boxes, and while that is amazing sometimes you just need to satisfy your sweet tooth and open yourself up to new flavours. If you’re thinking “Yes Please” then Sweetie Box is the subscription you need.

About Sweetie Box

Sweetie Box is a monthly subscription box packed to the brim with the most delicious sweets and treats. Each month around the 7th of the month you will be surprised with a themed sweetie box. The site was created by sweetie lovers who had one mission in mind and that is to satisfy the craving of fellow sweet toothed South Africans.

The Website

Website View

Sweetie Box has a bright, colourful and simplistic website layout that makes sure your eye is only caught by all the relevant details and sweetness. It’s easy to navigate and as a first time shopper you will have no problems understanding how it works or what to expect.

What’s in the Box?

Each month you will receive a box filled with delicious treats from various countries. Thus you get to satisfy your curiosity of outlandish treats while biting into uniquely flavoured treats. Each box is themed and all sweets packed inside are packed according to the theme.

If you’d like to find out more about what to expect read our review on the September Box or October Box… Don’t judge, it’s not a subscription worth cancelling. It’s a sweet, sweet sin we’re happily indulging in.

Overall you can expect to find three 500ml tubs jam packed with sweets. One artisanal homemade product and a variety of loose treats inside the box. The one thing you can be certain of is that there is zero space wastage and your box will be jam-packed with delicious goodness.

Image by Sweetie Box

Packaging

Each and every box is professionally branded and packed to the brim. You don’t have to worry about treats falling out and the added bonus is that the treats remain a surprise until you remove the Washi Paper. The three tubs found inside can also be re-used for your tools, hair accessories or pretty much anything small and loose lying around.

It’s clear that the Sweetie Box owners genuinely love what they do and take great care in providing you not just with tasting pleasure but also a visually appealing delivery.

Customer Support

I honestly feel like I am selling this company to you but in truth I’ve just had a marvelous experience with them. Not only is the service fast, efficient and professional but so is the personal service. You can find them on Facebook and Instagram where they post regularly to keep you informed about deliveries and also tease you with treats from previous boxes. If you’re expecting to find spoilers from what’s to come don’t hold your breath, these sweet masters know how to keep a secret.

Most of the need to know information is on their site so you’ll never really have to deal with customer support. However, if at some point you choose to end your subscription or contact them with a question or query you can expect a swift response within 24 hours. As with all things they do the customer support is first class and you’ll end the conversation with a smile and a happy heart.

Image by Sweetie Box

Last Thoughts?

Sweetie Box is a highly recommended subscription box for anyone who loves sweet treats and discovering new things. The box is filled to the brim and you’ll never open it only to be left with disappointment.

The only thing to be weary of is that you have to unsubscribe at least a month before the next box arrives or you’ll have to pay for that box. On the bright side you get to tease yourself with just one more delicious box of goodness before you say goodbye to it.

If you’re trying to watch your weight stay away! You might think you have self-control but once you open that box and feast your eyes on all the delicious treats waiting for you there’s no going back.

Have any questions or queries?

Feel free to contact me…

LOCAL JEWELLERY MAGICIAN

Exploring Hallo Jane

If you haven’t heard of Hallo Jane then you might’ve been living under a rock for quite some time. This online store was launched in 2015 and has ever since grown into being one of the biggest and most well-known jewellery and decor online shops in South Africa.

Sterling Silver Cat Studs

About Hallo Jane

The mastermind behind Hallo Jane is Jaynie Niewoudt and what started out as a hobby turned into a successful online business. Hallo Jane is based in the small coastal town, Pringle Bay, situated in the Western Cape.

The inspiration for most of their designs are derived from all the beautiful things they lay their eyes upon. And if you live in Cape Town you know there is plenty to obtain inspiration from.

The Website

Website Preview

The website itself has a clean and simplistic lay-out that makes it easy for your eyes to find all the beautiful jewellery and décor on offer. If you have a jewellery or décor preference then you can quickly find the tab to the objects you desire on the left hand side of the screen.

Products

If you have a love for your fur kids, your country or our national flower (the Protea) then Hallo Jane will tickle your fancy. Each and every item on the site is absolutely beautiful and the best part is that it is affordable so you won’t need to trade a kidney for an item or two on the site.

Hallo Jane designs and creates authentic and unique laser cut jewellery as well as décor. Their current range consists of laser cut bamboo, wood, leather, Plexiglas/Perspex. For fans who live and breathe South African spirit this site is an absolute gem. If you are from across the borders then buying one of the items available on this site will make you the talk of the town.

Bamboo Products

Pricing:

As mentioned before, the pricing of the items on this site is affordable for those in all salary brackets. The best part is that you’re getting more than your money’s worth, in most cases.

Faulty Products:

I was lucky enough to bag a bunch of items on my wish list at Hallo Jane with their fabulous Christmas in July sale. Not only did I score 60% off on the one day but also R250 off two days later. You’re damn right I splurged, what girl wouldn’t with such amazing discounts?

Unfortunately, the mismatched geometric bamboo earrings I bought were faulty. I didn’t wear them right away because I wanted to take pretty pictures to show off these amazing products. When I finally got all the images I needed I was ecstatic to start wearing my beautiful jewellery. The night after the second wear the sterling silver part of the earring came apart from the bamboo front. I was highly upset since I’m a sucker for anything bamboo and one of the only two pairs (shame I know) broke.

Now if you’re a frequent shopper you’ll know there are times when products are faulty. What matters is how the store deals with these issues. Hallo Jane knows how to treat customers, they addressed the matter in a timely fashion and offered to send me a new pair. Not only did I get a new pair, I also got a little surprise in my package. While the gift was deeply appreciated it wasn’t necessary. Each and every other necklace, bracelet and earring set I’ve bought at Hallo Jane was of perfect quality. Mistakes happen as we’re all human, but Hallo Jane definitely knows how to turn a sad situation into another joyous moment.

Packaging:

I pride myself in being honest, I want you to know what to expect from any and all brands I review. The delivery packaging of Hallo Jane is nothing to write home about. The real packaging magic is on the inside of the box. All the necklaces (yes there was more than one) I ordered was displayed on a beautiful wooden block. Each and every wooden piece had the name of the brand, necklace and the slogan that goes with it engraved on it. Truthfully it took me quite a long time to get it over my heart to discard these little necklace holders. They were so pretty, if you don’t believe me take a look below:

Protea Range

Customer Support:

How did I handle the situation? I contacted the friendly people from Hallo Jane of course. They are highly active on most social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I opted for Facebook. If you’ve ever messaged Hallo Jane then you would know they have an automated reply informing you of their e-mail address on which you can contact them too. I didn’t, I chose to wait for a response. I received a response on Facebook about two days later where the Hallo Jane team requested that I email them. At first I was a little annoyed because that would mean I have to repeat what I had said in the Facebook message but finally realized that it might just be a way for them to keep track of contact especially when it comes to serious matters. Once I e-mailed them they had me sorted in no time and BONUS they sent me a new pair of the studs I wanted at no extra charge. Talk about quality service.

On a side note, you can go the route I went or you can email them directly at hallojane.shop@gmail.com. If you’re on their site you can head over to their contact page and fill in the contact form. The average time for response is about 24 hours which is not a long time to wait compared to other sites.

Geometric Bamboo Earrings

Last Thoughts?

Truth is even with the bit of disappointment I’d still buy from them in the future. Hallo Jane has some extraordinary designs and I love their creativity. My favourite items I bought from them has to be my Cat Silhouette Studs and my Mini Table Mountain Necklace. There are two things in this world I love more than shopping and exploring new online stores and that is my cat (as seen below) and my city.

Their site is simplistic and easy to navigate, the products are beautiful and their online presence is excellent. It’s clear that the creators behind Hallo Jane truly care about their users. During their Christmas in July sale in 2017 there were a bunch of customers upset because they weren’t fast enough to cash in on the limited discounts. After two or three days of upset customers flooding their page with messages Hallo Jane decided to end the discounts. It was a bummer because it was fun feeling competitive and waiting for that code to pop up at a certain time. It was a thrilling chase and it was all in good faith. It was admirable though that instead of disappointing their customers they decided to stop the discount chase.

Have you shopped at Hallo Jane before? Share your experience with your fellow online shoppers by dropping a comment below.

Have any questions or queries?

Feel free to contact me…