I've decided that I'd like to help my fellow Etsy sellers out a bit and do an "Etsy Seller Review of the Month" on my blog... I do a decent amount of shopping on there (especially for Christmas) so I have ample people that I want to recommend to my friends and readers.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Now, whether it'll really be *every* month is up in the air... ;)
Anyway, February's seller is TheFigLeaf.
Honestly, I've been eyeing her stuff for a long time (she's been on my favorite seller list since June or July, at least). I love her iPod Nano holders but I never worked up the willpower to order something pretty/non-necessary for myself. This Christmas she was brought back to my attention when she was a Featured Seller at the exact time I was shopping for presents for friends and family. I found a really cute four pocket wallet for a teenage cousin of mine and decided to make a custom order request for a cream/red iPod holder as a Christmas present to myself.
I was so impressed with her that I decided to make another order with both a single pocket wallet for my preschooler (who will start receiving an allowance very soon) and my Valentine's Day gift (thanks, honey!). I requested one of her larger, clutch-style wallets to match the iPod holder. When I'm impressed with a seller enough to go back and order *again*, you know they're quality.
Customer Service: I contacted her about the custom order and purchased the wallet... even with the crush of orders she received from the Featured Seller bump, she still answered my convos in a timely manner (which matters a lot to me). She is wonderfully friendly and completely willing to customize designs to suit your needs. Once the custom order was done, I purchased it on Etsy and she sent it quickly. Her items come wrapped in a sturdy, tan paper and tied with a thin rope. They're well-wrapped and shipping isn't unreasonable for the items (one of my *biggest* pet peeves).
In the two orders I've placed with TheFigLeaf, I've never been disappointed in any aspect of customer service... which is so refreshing in today's gift-purchasing market.
Quality: Wow... that's all I really have to say. When I saw the wallet and the iPod holder, I was blown away. The craftsmanship is top-notch and the leathers she uses are butter-soft -- I was really surprised at the quality of the leather. Her assembly/stitching is perfect and her creations are definitely built to last. In this age of faux-everything, it's refreshing to see someone taking the effort to create stuff out of natural materials... especially considering she's doing it in a eco-friendly manner by strictly using remnants.
Both items I received (my son's wallet and my own) are wonderful. My son's wallet is a single pocket (since he'll only be getting a few bucks a week, he doesn't need that much space) and came with an elastic band to prevent the money from falling out. It's a great size -- perfect for a driver's license and a few credit cards along with cash -- for the price. I had her make a boat on it (he's huge in to pirates right now and thought a 'pirate ship' would really excite him) and it came out perfectly! My wallet is even more impressive. I ordered it because I'm going to be switching to a large diaper bag and my tiny wallet simply won't be found in its depths... ever... but I've already started using it (and getting TONS of compliments on it wherever I go) because of how beautiful it truly is. It comes with four pockets to hold credit cards, two larger pockets to hold cash or receipts, one large zippered pocket for change, and a pen/checkbook. It closes with a sturdy snap and even comes with a small ring so you can clip it to the inside of your purse (if you have a clip) or diaper bag.
In addition, I love her designs. She does everything from stamped leaves to stitched designs (I'm partial to the birds, can you tell?). Look through her past sales to really see the range of styles and designs she has done and don't be afraid to ask for a *new* design if you don't see what you want!
Price: I'll be honest -- sometimes I see items online and am shocked at the price (yes, even on Etsy). Mass-manufactured "boutique" items go for insane amounts -- $20 for a bib? Even using organic fabrics, that's ridiculous (and I should know since I buy organic fabrics). I'm sure many items are worth the cost (not the bibs, though) but it's still way outside of my comfort zone. I'm a stay-at-home mom, pregnant with my second, and throwing money away on items just doesn't appeal to me.
That being said, TheFigLeaf is priced wonderfully, insanely well (ie: affordable luxury for everyone, with any kind of budget). Her wallets range from $10.95 for the single-pocket/no elastic design up through $55 for the larger, clutch-style wallets. Her regular, five-pocket wallets (that look more like traditional wallets) cost a very reasonable $24.95 (check out her new design here for a neat four-pocket design with an additional money slot). I do want to note this right now, though, prices are accurate as of the time/date of this blog posting. Prices may increase and may not be accurate when you look at her shop.
Value: You know the saying "you get what you pay for" ? Well, in this instance you get so much more than you pay for. You don't have to worry about shoddy customer service or sub-par craftsmanship with TheFigLeaf -- her stuff will last for years to come. Her leathers will only get more luxurious and beautiful with use (though it does pain me slightly to abuse something so pretty).
Who is this shop for? Really... anyone. Looking for a gift for a teenager? She has iPod holders in tons of different styles and designs, great for boys and girls. Looking for a hard-to-shop-for husband? Her four and five-pocket wallets are a great, functional gift. Environmentally-conscious friend? Her leathers are new remnants (leftovers) and she makes everything by hand at home -- no mass-manufactured items here! Need something for mom? Her larger wallets or beautiful brooches are great for mom, aunt, sister or grandma! Or, just buy for yourself! It's one of the few things I've actually splurged on for myself in years and it was totally worth it.
I've made two purchases from TheFigLeaf and I *will* be back, that's a guarantee. If not for a gift, then probably for a business card holder later in the year. She is one seller I wouldn't hesitate to purchase from again and again. I really can't say enough about her. She's an A+ seller with A+ products at an A+ price. So many times I'll shop on the internet (including Etsy), pay a fair price for something and just be disappointed with the item when it arrives... though it does pain me more when it happens on Etsy itself. It's so hard, when you're dealing with handmade items, to judge the quality based on a few photos and prior feedback (especially since many people leave feedback before they bother to use the items and you cannot go back and change it later... it's happened to me). I hope this review has put those fears to rest about TheFigLeaf. There is a reason she has tons of positive feedback, she's been an Etsy Featured Seller and I've purchased from her twice (and plan on purchasing again) -- she truly combines the best of everything into the quintessential perfect seller. Higher praise is simply impossible to give. :)