Wednesday, March 25, 2015

OOTD/Review/Giveaway: Dancing Brown Leaves with Novica.

Although it is rare for me to host giveaways here at this blog, especially ones that I have not directly paid for, I will, from time to time, happily host giveaways when I am approached by a company that fits into the aesthetic/purpose of this blog. 

About a month ago a representative from Novica emailed me and asked if I would be interested in working with them on a giveaway/review of one of their products here at the blog, and after looking around their site and seeing their mission and their offerings, I knew this was a good fit for my readers and me, so I happily agreed to do both. 

The outfit of the day portion is first, followed by the review of the Dancing Brown Leaves Alpaca Sweater, with the giveaway information as the final part of the post.

Day: Saturday, March 14, 2015.

Where: Baby shower and a visit to a local firehouse with my daughter's girl scout troop.

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  It was a warm-ish day, so besides a very lightweight rain jacket (not pictured), I was perfectly comfortable in the outfit.

You all know about my love of the Turner pants, so I am sure it surprises none of you to see this pair on me, but I was surprised by how well the pale pink went with the grey/brown shades of the Dancing Leaves sweater.  The sweater itself was not overly warm, or particularly itchy (though remember I am less sensitive to wool in general).  A review of this sweater at the site describes it as a warm hug and I would definitely agree with that sentiment.  It did feel like a warm hug.  :-) 

Outfit Details:  Dancing Brown Leaves Sweater (here at Novica), Turner Pants (here at J. Crew).

Anecdote of the Day:  The firehouse we toured is three blocks from where I grew up, so it was a really cool finally getting to see it from the inside.  There was some spectacularly specific kind of vehicles in there, including a hazardous materials van.  This firehouse was one of the first to respond to the 9/11 attacks at the Pentagon (I grew up two miles away), so it doesn't surprise me they have them, I just was blown away by how advanced and specialized it all felt.  The girls just loved seeing the sirens and receiving pink fireman's hats, though, lol.

Dancing Brown Leaves Sweater These sweaters, beautifully crafted by a Peruvian duo Corina and Jesus, come in alpha sizes only, so I chose the small because I suspected (rightly) that they would not be oversized the way J. Crew's are.  For reference I am typically a size 6 in Boden knitwear and a XS/4 in J. Crew.

I received a $50 gift card from Novica, and though I was tempted to just purchase something at the $50 mark, I kept going back to the Alpaca section of the site, and especially the offerings by Corina and Jesus.  After about a half-hour of deliberation, I decided this was the sweater for me, and put in my $50 gift card info and then place the remainder (around $40) on the credit card. 

I couldn't be happier with my decision.  From a purely materialistic perspective, the sweater is made very well in a unique knitted design in a gorgeously soft alpaca wool.  The neckline is stunning and because of its showstopping design, I didn't feel the need to wear any additional jewelry beyond the rings and bracelets I wear daily.

And, yes, a big part of me was stoked that this amazing sweater only cost $90, whereas I know it would be significantly more expensive elsewhere, and that actually gets me to why this route of purchasing is also pretty awesome, it benefits both the consumers of the products BUT ESPECIALLY the artisans who created the products.  Novica partnered with the National Geographic Society on this and their mission is something that I am glad I get to spread the word about.

Their mission is pretty simple:

They connect: 
Artisans to a global marketplace of socially conscious customers.

They empower: 
Artisans to build a sustainable business from their craft.

They preserve: 
Ancient artistic traditions for future generations to enjoy.

I know some of you know this about me, but maybe you don't, so it bears mentioning.  I was an anthropology major in college and I was very invested in learning as much as I could about the cultures, traditions, and ways of life around the world.  I feel so strongly about supporting anything that promotes the continuation and preservation of all the human groupings around the world, that although really excited I would be able to add a beautiful piece of clothing to my wardrobe, what really got me to say yes to this giveaway was their mission.  

I do know that I expected to receive the package from a warehouse in the United States, but nope, it came direct from Peru, all wrapped up beautifully, with a little card about Corina and Jesus, and a sweet little doll.  I had read that the packages would be gift-wrapped, but hadn't read about the direct to consumer shipments, but upon seeing that, the pin dropped and I understood how the artisans were able to better support themselves from a system like this...rather than a bunch of middle men between the consumers and the artisans, there are now far few barriers, and more of the money stays in the hands of the creative people behind the products.  :-) 

100% alpaca sweater Dancing Brown Leaves (Peru)
Dancing Brown Leaves Sweater.  This sweater was already at a pretty low stock when I purchased it back in February.  That said, there is a L and and XL still available.  Some other beautiful options like the Dancing Brown Leaves sweater, also from Corina and Jesus, are the Dancing Blue Leaves Sweater (here), the Leaf Shadow sweater (here), and the Hypnotic Honeycomb Sweater (here).

Closeup of the beautiful knitting on the sweater.


Novica has offered to give a $50 gift card to one of my readers so they can enjoy a product made by one of their artisans from around the world.  I am partial to the artisans from the Andes, but there are artisans from Bali and Java, Brazil, and India, just to name a few.

In order to enter, I need for you to leave a comment below this post with your email address and one product that you see over at the Novica site that you just love.

The giveaway ends next Wednesday, April 1, 2015, at EDT 11:59 PM.

This giveaway is only open to US residents.

UPDATE: This morning (3/26/15) I received a couple of coupons from the NOVICA affiliates.  They are good until 3/31/15 and 3/30/15. :-)

$10 off at NOVICA! Enter HAPPYSPRING at checkout. Valid through 3-31-15 11:59 PM PT.

10% off select African jewelry and decor at NOVICA! Valid 3-30-15 through 4-5-15 11:59 PM PT.

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