I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not much of a Black Friday shopper. I like my shopping low-key and crowd-free. I am a big fan of two other things, though: Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
Online holiday shopping is great, but one thing that makes me kind of stabby about it is Amazon. Like Facebook and Google, Amazon is one of those internet behemoths that I kind of love and kind of hate. I love all the books, their Kindles, their super saver shipping, the way they’ve rattled the publishing industry and every other industry they’ve taken on.
I hate… a lot of other things. Especially their holiday shopping insanity. Deals! More deals! Flash sales! It’s open! You missed it! Too much, too crazy, just blech.
Similarly, searching for gifts there is ridiculous. It’s such a vast marketplace that you can’t really find anything unless you already know what you want to get. The first time it really made me crazy was when I was pregnant with Graham and looking for baby gear and bedding. I would spend forever looking and researching and make virtually no progress. Oh, and then there’s the issue of some of the sellers who are lackluster at best. Not all Amazon sellers are created equal. Not by a long shot.
Luckily there are some other internet retailers out there that are making the online shopping process easier and still offering cool stuff and good prices.
Uncommon Goods is cool for a few reasons. They focus on creative merchandise, offer handmade items and feature green goods. They pay their workers well and support artists, plus they support several non-profits including RAINN and American Forests. Awesome, no? Their toys for kids are creative rather than the popular item of the moment. Because of their environmental commitments you can also find lots of great wooden and natural fabric toys there. There’s a fab marketplace of artisan jewelry for ladies. I know mugs and glasses aren’t a super cool present, but I want pretty much all the ones they carry. Their gifts “for him” are really unique, too. This is definitely one to bookmark if you’ve got someone who’s tough to buy for or who loves unusual and handmade gifts.
Jess’s picks: Smartphone Film Scanner (convert film negatives into pics on your phone); Braille & Sign Language Blocks; Personalized Whiskey Barrel. Pictured: Major Scale Musical Wine Glasses – Set of 2.
This is probably one of those sites you’ve never heard of. They’re like a mini-Amazon but with a much smaller selection. The big pluses: always free shipping, and they can get almost anywhere in the US in 2 days. Tons of LEGO stuff, great baby gear. The real winner? If you’re looking for a dollhouse. A-freaking-mazing dollhouses of all kinds here and they’re cheaper than Amazon. Kidkraft is one of their biggest brands.
Jess’s picks: KidKraft Fun Explorers Rocket Ship Play Set / 63213, KidKraft Everyday Heroes Police & Fire Set, all their wooden kitchen sets. Pictured: Glitz & Glitter Dream Wood Dollhouse
What’s impressive about Modnique is how varied their stuff is. They focus on apparel (men, women and kids) and accessories (watches, handbags, shoes, jewelry, makeup). Their model means that they will have a $10 bracelet next to a $15,000 bracelet. You can find something for basically any budget. And you’ll find big huge designer labels at big markdowns.
My review from last week gave me the opportunity to peruse the site and see what I thought. This is another situation where a limited selection is not a drawback. While I found the women’s apparel section not quite as strong, in the accessories they’ve got some great stuff. If you’re looking to snag a great gift at a lower price, they’re worth a shot. They have a great daily deal element, too. My products came quickly (order processing took a few days but shipping was fast) and I’m very pleased with my orders.
My picks: Purses, Shoes, Watches, Jewelry. It’s new stuff every day but it’s pretty great.