I'm about to divulge a secret.
I have an acute handbag fetish.
It started shortly after college with kitschy bags to match every outfit. It gradually progressed into straw bags from France, numerous Kate Spade totes and other designer handbags that are sold with those wonderful pillowcases to protect the precious gems while not in use. My closet is full of those little pillowcases. Once I started having children, my fetish morphed into an obsession with diaper bags--Oilily, Petunia Picklebottoms and, of course, Kates, to name a few. Now that I'm getting away from the diaper bags, I'm starting to feel those inner stirrings once again.
Lucky for me I have found an online outlet to fulfill my desires--NOVICA.com. NOVICA, in association with National Geographic, initially began as a platform for artists and artisans to sell their wares--including home decor items, jewelry and gifts--to a global audience they might not reach in their native countries. NOVICA recently has launched a line of exquisitely hand-crafted handbags from artisans all over the world.
I have been drooling over all of the unique handbag designs and patterns. One of the bags that immediately caught my eye was this lime and strawberry alpaca wool shoulder bag, pictured at left. Made in Peru, the bag's exterior is a rich alpaca wool blend. The interior of the bag is lined with cotton and features a pocket to hold keys or other small objects. The bag closes with a magnetic button.
Another gem, also made in Peru, is this gorgeous brown leather bag, pictured at right. I easily could see myself taking this multi-pocketed bag shopping, with plenty of nooks to hold my keys, cell phone, credit cards and mad money. The chocolate brown leather handbag looks so rich, soft and supple, and the classic style will keep the bag current for years to come.
Tote bags are essential for busy moms who are always called upon to "hold this for me," and NOVICA has plenty of styles to fit the bill. This colorful cotton and hemp tote from Thailand (pictured left) is roomy enough for a day's necessities, yet stylish enough to let sophisticated moms stand out from their canvas-bookbag-wielding counterparts.
What I particularly like about the NOVICA site is that not only do they provide detailed product information, but also they include biographical information about each artist. The alpaca shoulder bag, for example, was crafted by the Yurivilca Family of Peru. The family is led by Don Cesar Yurivilca, considered a pioneer in the field of weaving who earned this designation by taking a departure from traditional weaving practices with his invention of the tapiz relleno technique.
"During my career I have received many awards and prizes, including the designation of Grand Master, but nothing satisfies me more than the love that I receive from my fellow countrymen - the only thing that will keep me going after I turn 80 years old. I hope that through Novica I am able to meet new friends and to also disseminate the art and culture of my country, Peru," says Yurivilca.
I cannot recall a time I ever was afforded a lesson in culture when purchasing a Kate Spade bag, unless you take into consideration eBay write-ups detailing how many times the bag was used on what occasion along with descriptions of wear-and-tear.
My husband, always the pessimist when it comes to my internet purchasing habits, cautioned me that the NOVICA handbag site might exact a hefty shipping fee for these worldly purchases; however, the rates are actually quite reasonable. Normal delivery (two-four weeks) for the alpaca bag is just $3.95; premium delivery (five to 14 days) is $12.95; and the gotta-have-it-now priority premium (four to eight days) rate is $21.95. Of course, rates vary by country, but all are quite affordable.
Much like the swine flu, it seems my handbag addiction has taken on global proportions. However, my ill easily will be cured with a few purchases from NOVICA.com. Now if you will excuse me, I need to get back to my virtual shopping trip.
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