This is a site I discovered quite recently. It's a unique online shopping space selling items by individual sellers and stores. It is a site best used for gift purchases since it has an extensive gift and novelty range. It also has excellent facilities for allowing you to best choose items that will suit the person to whom you wish to give the gift. For instance, you can search the site for gifts by narrowing the items down to those suited to particular personality types such as "art lover" or "pet lover".
The site requires registration prior to being able to make a purchase. However, the selling process is very simple. Items on the site are sold by different sellers so if you choose more than one item you will be charged per item for delivery and rates may vary according to each seller. The process is rather similar to Amazon MarketPlace or Ebay although I do feel as though this site is particularly well designed and very safe. The website individually approve all sellers before allowing them to have a selling account - this includes having the seller show their goods and providing any other information about their other professional standing.
Having ordered a few times from the site now I am happy to say I'm pleased with the service I received from all of the sellers I used. The items all arrived within a week of the order being placed and the items were packaged to a very high standard in order to adequately protect the items during transit.
I would say that in general the items on the site are perhaps more expensive than you might expect to pay for the same or similar items if you found them on the high street. However, most of the items on the site are quite unique and different and you'd be hard pressed to find them elsewhere. It has a boutique feel to a lot of the items. There is also a high degree of 'artsy' type products and hand produced items similar to what you'd find on sites like Etsy.
I would definitely recommend this site to anyone who is looking for interesting, quirky, one of a kind gifts or products for themselves. This is a really lovely website to use for shopping as it's well designed with lots of photos and product information. It's also exceptionally simple to search through categories. It's enjoyable to see all of the different items available for men, women, kids and more and they have categories including fashion, art, garden, home, jewellery and weddings.
I think Notonthehighstreet gets a lot of unfair criticism, usually from people who have given very little notice or people who do not appreciate that a lot of the items are custom made to order and so are not readily available 'off the shelf'.
I bought a personalised poster from there for my sisters birthday and it was exactly what I wanted and my sister was absolutely thrilled with it. It was, however, a little pricey and since then I found another site called perfectposters who were cheaper. But my purchase was delivered quickly enough, was exactly as described on the site and I knew the cost before proceeding including the postage so I have no complaints.
My advice would be to shop around, many of the items for sale are from small one man/woman businesses who have their own websites and are probably paying a fair premium to Notonthehighstreet to sell on there. Otherwise be patient and order in good time at what is probably going to be a very busy online Christmas period.
I first found Not On The Highstreet when I was looking for somewhere to get personalised signs from. NOTH isn't actually a shop in its own right but more of a marketplace with lots of different sellers all using the website as a way for people all round the country to find their products.
The website is extremely easy to browse through and you can alter your search to only show the types of products you are looking for, so for me I just highlighted personalised signs, and there sure are plenty to choose from.
I had a good look through the site and then choose two different designs which I thought would suit my needs best. The instructions for the various personalised signs are very easy to follow, and you just fill in the various text boxes with your required text and other details.
The two signs I ordered were both from the small company 'Potting Shed Designs'. Once I placed my order I got an email confirmation. Then about a week later I got a dispatch email telling me my signs had been finished and were on the way to me. They took a good few days to arrive, but delivery was free so I wasn't complaining, and it sure was worth the wait!
Each sign was individually packaged in bubblewrap and wrapped in lovely packaging paper with a purple ribbon, a little gift card, and also a little bag of lavender which I thought was just lovely. The smell of the lavender hits you as soon as you open the package, and who doesn't love the smell of lavender! I hadn't even seen the first sign and I was already smiling, but when I did see the sign I was so pleased. It was better than I had pictured! It was a wooden sign with hand painted text, and you could see it was extremely high quality just by looking at it, but it also felt high quality. The second sign I had ordered was equally high quality. At this point I didn't think I could have been any happier, but that was when I noticed there was a third package again with a ribbon and gift tag, but this gift tag wasn't blank like the others, this one said 'Thank You'. I opened it a little confused at this stage as I knew I had only ordered two signs, but then once I saw what it was I realised it was a free gift! It was a little personalised wooden sign saying 'Mark's Office' (my name is Mark). The sign was equally high quality.
This really did make my day as I certainly wasn't expecting anything like that!
Because I had such an amazing order experience, a few weeks later I decided to purchase another three signs. This time two sign were from Potting Shed Designs and the third sign was from a different small company called 'Delightful Living'.
The sign from Delightful Living arrived first, and like my first two signs from PSD, it was super high quality, just what I was after.
Then a couple of days later, my next two signs arrived from Potting Shed Designs, and again both were packaged in lovely wrapping paper with a ribbon and a small bag of lavender, and to my surprise I had another small free sign. I thought the last free sign was just a thank you for being a first time customer, but here was a second free sign, in the same style as the first, but this one saying 'Work in progress...'.
I really didn't think I could be happier after my first order, but I was proved wrong. They even wrote a personal hand written thank you note on the receipt that came with both orders.
I am sure I will be ordered yet more products from NOTH, especially anything from PSD. The little touches such as the ribbon and bag of lavender and hand written note aren't hard to do, but make it extra special, and the free sign they send you is so generous of them. I really can't recommend them enough.
Ordered two garden lamps on the 14th July, marked them as gifts and assumed all was well. Six days later, I was informed they were not in stock and wouldn't be until mid august. No apology offered. I returned an email asking when exactly they would be in stock and was told they would arrive from the supplier on the 19th of August. I particularly liked the lamps so agreed this was acceptable.It's worth noting I was asked if I preferred some of the other items which were in stock. On the 22nd July, over a week after the initial order had been placed, I received what appeared to be an automated email telling me my order has been cancelled with no reasons given. Very disappointed, I would not recommend this site. Stick to the high street.
If you are ever stuck for gifting ideas then I have 5 works for you - Not. On. The. High. Street! I've been using this wonderful website for over a year now and have never been disappointed, it's fast become my first stop for birthdays, Christmas and lovely things for the home.
I found Not on the High Street when googling products made by another (gorgeous) website - www.buythesea.co.uk - who also sell through NOTHS. I was immediately hooked and have since purchased from this website at least 6 or 7 times.
NOTHS has been going since 2006, the concept being that the main site is an umbrella under which lots of other companies sell their products. These products are, for the most part, quite high end and original; essentially, things that cannot be found on the high street!
All of the companies that sell through the site are independent, small businesses, who bring trade to the site, and then attain a great selling platform that they may otherwise not reach. This means that NOTHS is not run out of an enormous warehouse, it is a hub site for 100s of different companies, who then receive the orders to their own stores/warehouses and subsequently supply the customer. All companies have to apply and be accepted to sell on the site, so you know that everyone has gone through a process to be there, rather than just having joined up without being vetted.
The web address for NOTHS is - http://www.notonthehighstreet.com
Pop this into the address bar of your browser and you will find a lovely, bright user friendly website. With your shopping experience broken down into useful categories, as well as a search bar for specific products/key words.There are 7 tabs across the top of the webpage:
home & garden/ women/ men/ baby & child/ gifts/ weddings/ the perfect gift guide
The first 5 offer exactly what you would expect, and the far right tab ('perfect gift guide') offers up all sorts of great gift ideas and tips that bring that special personal touch. Hover your mouse over any of these tabs and you will then be met with further categories, with each main theme broken down into useful sub departments. As well as things such as clothing or jewellery in the subdepartments, each menu contains 3 other categories that come in very handy when browsing:
1. Highlights - favourites picked by the NOTHS team - many a gift inspiration can be found here!
2. By Theme - this is rather abstract way to search for products under themes such as 'outdoor ambience' or 'sunny delights' in the garden department, which brings together a range of products like a personal shopper, and makes browsing more fun
3. On Trend - popular items reflecting current styles and fashions
By clicking on one product by a certain small business you can also then see their entire range, which is a tool that I find very useful when I see a product I like, but often makes me spend more!
Overall the website is set out very well for both those who know what sort of thing they are looking for, and those who want to spend some quality browsing time.
THE PRODUCT RANGE
The tagline on the NOTHSwebsite is 'one basket, hundreds of unique shops', and this is certainly the case here. The range of products and businesses on this site is huge. You can buy anything from babygros to garden furniture and everything in between.
The other thing I love about this website is all of the personalised products that the various companies have to offer. There are all sorts of chocolate products where you can spell out people's names (which I did for all the family at Christmas with great results) - Choklet is the best company for this, they have beautiful patterened chocolate letters, laid out in boxes to spell names, messages or just initials with lovely decorative bows added to the packaging.
There are also ideas like putting children's drawings onto brooches, pendants or hessian shopping bags (A M Jewellery / Big Stitch) or framing single or multiple location map in a heart (Bombus). I could go on for hours!
Everything I have bought from this site so far (robot night light/ chocolate names/ personalised Mother's Day candle/ various personalised and graphic t-shirts) has been good quality product, all fairly expensive but worth the money for such original and lovely gifts - not the same old stuff from the high street!
THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE & CUSTOMER SERVICE
All of my shopping experiences have met with great customer service. The payment is easy and secure, verified by all of the usual methods. There is a feature where you can contact the sellers about your order, which I have used to very swift response when I ordered a t-shirt fromGillian Kyle (who wouldn't love a website where you can buy a tshirt with a Tunnocks tea-cake on it?!), making the experience feel less impersonal. The range of recommended products that feature on the site is also another great way of seeing that the site knows its customer, and what they want.
Lots of the companies also offer gift wrapping, or the addition of gift bows, usually at between 50p-a couple of £ with a choice of colour or pattern.
Once you are on their mailing list, NOTHS also regularly send great catalogues, with an overview of some of their hot products of the moment. There was a special Valentines Day catalogue, and just this week I have received a great catalogue of varied gift ideas, which sent me straight back to the site for my Mum's birthday (and prompted this review!)
The only very slight downside to the whole shopping experience is price, in 2 ways:
1. The product on this site is, in general, expensive, but I do feel that the quality of every product I have bought and the ease of putting so many disparate and wonderful things into your basket, that you would not find side by side anywhere else, makes it worth the price.
2. Shipping - although the site is a one-stop shop, the postage is not a one-charge amount. Each business that you buy from will, understandably, charge you for their postage, although some companies do offer free postage after you spend a certain amount. This can REALLY add up, and you feel it especially strongly because you haven't been shopping at 5 different websites, despite having bought from 5 different companies!
Overall I cannot recommend this site enough. You will have so much fun browsing all of the original product ideas, and never be stuck for a gift again, whilst prettying up your own home, and possibly making your bank account look a little ugly, in the process!
I stumbled across notonthehighstreet.com after looking for a father's day present from my two little girls to my husband. I was sick of buying the usual boring presents and wanted something a little different. After using a search engine to try to find some unusual gifts, I found THE website! It is absolutely fantastic. The gifts are so beautiful I could have spent an absolute fortune! However (!!!), it is very expensive!
Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish started notonthehighstreet.com in April 2006 after the frustration of never being able to find the perfect gifts. They source beautiful items from small businesses and sell them on their website, giving the majority of the takings to the small business and taking a small cut themselves. Perfect for the little businesses that until now had been stuck in markets or in small villages.
The thing that I love most about notonthehighstreet.com is the personalised section where you can buy anything from personalised children's t-shirts, cushions, keepsake boxes and even wig-wams! My personal favourite (and one which I actually bought), is the handmade, personalised jewelry where you can have your children's names etched on a bangle or a necklace. Just beautiful! They also sell anything from home ware to fashion, food, cards and wrapping paper. For fathers day, I bought my husband a plant box (without the plants in), which was personalised to see 'Anja and Isabelle love their daddy'. I wasn't disappointed when I arrived this through the post just a few days later, however it did set me back £30.
Notonthehighstreet.com have the usual browse and search facilities, and an easy to use shopping basket, enabling you to add items from as many different small business sellers as you wish. The only thing with ordering, is as each item is made by individual businesses, you will be paying more than one delivery charge, but it will be added to your order in one go, so you can pay in one checkout. Your order is confirmed to you by email and you also get status updates by email too, such as when the item has been posted and how long you should expect to wait before receiving it.
They accept all major credit and debit cards, including Switch, Visa, Delta, Maestro and MasterCard, and with their online payment system being endorsed with VeriSign and McAfee certificates, you know you are shopping securely.
As many of the sellers are making hand made products, the majority do send in beautifully wrapped packaging (it states what kind of packaging the items will be received in for many of the items) at no extra cost, but some do offer a gift wrapping service if you are wanting the item as a gift. The items I have bought through this website have nearly always come in unique and imaginative wrapping, such as organza and velvet pouches and jeweled boxes.
If you hand make any of your own items, then you can of course sell the items through this website (subject to their say so I may add!), you just have to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have to have a look at this website - but hide your credit card first!
Notonthehighstreet.com has to be one of my favourite websites, i spend hours browsing through this site.
It was started up by two women in 2006 who just could never find what they were looking for - something original, little gifts that are just not stocked in big retail shops, and this is what this website is.
Notonthehighstreet is made up of lots of different sellers that sell their items through notonthehighstreet (a bit like ebay - just not second hand). All items are brand new and have been hand made or come from unique sources.
Notonthehighstreet sells many items womens, men and childrens fashion, beauty products, home and garden products, personalised items, eco products, wedding products anything you could possibly want. The items that are on there are beautiful and really personal you can buy just the most amazing gifts for that special person. Items including anything from fridge magnets to getting baby's fingerprinted inprinted onto a gold or silver piece of jewellery, cushions, lamps, kitchenware for the homelover, recycled products - anything you want.
You can buy something on here from £1 to £2,000+. I personally want to buy everything on this site.
You can even have your wedding list on this site (I would have mine here, i keep hinting, 9 years + 1child-no proposal = waiting).
All you have to do is go into the website find the items that you are looking for, using various search engines and add them to your shopping basket (the website is very easy to navigate). Once finished shopping you then pay for all your items using credit, debit or mastercard, visa or switch.
Once all goods have been ordered Notonthehighstreet will send you a confirmation e-mail to your address, and then confirm to let the sellers know. Once payment has been received your items are then ready for dispatch, and the seller of the product will e-mail you to let you know when they are being dispatched.
The only downside to this website is that each seller adds a delivery charge so if you order from 10 items from 10 different sellers you can end up paying quite a lot in delivery costs and these are not stated until you go to checkout.
So now i have persuaded you into looking, all you have to do is log onto their very easy to use website have a look and register.
Some of you may know that I love Welsh cakes, and that I eat them a lot as do most of my family. I have been searching for some time to find the perfect tin in which to store them, as they were languishing in one of those" lock and lock" containers which although keeps them perfectly fresh doesn't look particularly appetising or aesthetically pleasing.
Trawling the internet I found a web site which caught my eye because it claimed to be selling a cake tin inscribed with the words "Cacen" which is Welsh for cakes so I thought- perfect.
The website can be found at www.notonthehighstreet.com and it is a company who are acting as a window for sales from small businesses, who have to pass very strict criteria to be included in their selection. They only accept 5% of applicants, which indicates to me that they are a discerning group of people, who have put together some extremely well made and unique items. As their website address indicates many of these items are a little different, so if you are searching for an individual present you may find something of interest here.
The home page is very attractive and underneath the company logo is a statement which says "one basket, hundreds of unique shops", and this paints a picture really of what you might expect to find in the pages as you search the categories. These are clearly labelled at the top allowing you to click through to home and garden, fashion, jewellery, personalised, gifts, baby and child, cards and wrap, gourmet, weddings and a section for items which are hand made completes the choices. Each of these sections has sub categories which are clearly labelled, so you can soon find exactly what item you are looking for easily, quickly, and further subdivisions enable you to home in on exactly the item you are searching for. I think this is a superbly designed website.
Underneath these categories are boxes which you can click on to see what is new in that day, and they also have a section which has 40 great ideas which are updated daily too, so this may be helpful if you are looking for inspiration. There is also the opportunity to set up a wedding list on this site which you can allow others to access.
A particular favourite of mine is the section called "inspired by the sea", I own a cottage in the Outer Hebrides and these are the kind of items my house is filled with. Individually made pieces of seaside things, some made from driftwood, and many made by individuals making a living in these places producing gifts and home ware with beach and coastal themes. These items are also perfect if you want to create a nautical theme, maybe in a child's bedroom, and they have many items I have never seen before.
How It All Works
They have no warehouse or central store, because you are simply being given the opportunity to buy from small businesses themselves, who have been vetted and given this forum in which to sell their items.
Payments are completely secure, endorsed with VeriSign and McAfee certificates, and the company take a small fee from the amount of the sale, which you never see, of course, as it is included in the price, this being their commission for maintaining the website, marketing, and of course selecting the businesses, and ensuring the quality of the items.
As each seller is different the postage charges will vary between them, but they are working to tight guidelines laid out by the company, so that they deliver at a fair price, and also that they work to time scales so that the delivery times are acceptable. Most of their prices are set at £2.95 and some even deliver for free.
Any queries are to be directed at the seller in the first instance, but if this does not end the matter, the company will then intervene to ensure a satisfactory outcome, so I feel it certainly made me think I could order with complete confidence
The sellers benefit from extensive marketing behind the company and the buyer is assured of a good product.
I purchased a tin for my Welsh cakes in lovely blue enamel and it arrived with me in 3 working days. It was beautifully wrapped, and it was also perfectly made too. On the website I was able to discern that the company who were going to sell this to me is a new enterprise that specializes in the sale of Welsh items and hampers. The company is called Bodlon and I was able to find everything I would possibly know about them by clicking on 3 items corresponding to "about the seller", "sales and returns policy", and I was able to see all their products by clicking through to them. The company makes hampers in a Victorian schoolroom in Llanarthne near Carmarthen, and the company name means "fulfilled or satisfied" in English which inspired me to order from them, and I was absolutely delighted.
Every item you look at has a seller with a history you can delve into, and from "Norfolk Boy" who makes beautiful things from driftwood in Norfolk, to "Cup Cakes" who sell all sorts of beautifully made items form craft workers all over the UK, this catalogue is a forum for the work of the best of British design and originality.
You can request a catalogue by filling in the form on their website or simply browse through pages and pages of online goodies from the comfort of home.
This is the most interesting and inspiring website I have come across in a long time, and certainly for gifts it will be somewhere I will be happy to use as a first port of call.
The final point I would like to make is that I emailed them to express my thanks for their excellent service, and received a thank you back straight away. I thought this was professional and welcoming, and certainly from the placing of my order through receipt of the item I have been totally impressed.
I think at a time when many small businesses are struggling this is a great way to support them, many of them operating from economically challenged areas, and producing items of outstanding beauty.
Simply find what youre looking for, using the browse and search facilities, and then drop as many things into one shopping basket, from as many different small business sellers as you wish.