Sunday, February 11, 2007

Shopping: VivaTerra

Maybe I've been living in a cave, but I just now discovered VivaTerra.
Or better yet, they discovered me. Their catalog landed in my mailbox about a week ago with the 78th Pottery Barn tome of the year.

Aside: Am I the only one that seems to get a Pottery Barn catalog once a week? The merchandise never changes....they just switch the covers. It makes me want to stick a fork in my eye. I mean, how much are they spending on printing and how many trees are they killing trying to get me to buy some slipcovered chairs? Sheesh.

Anyway, so I try to be green. I really do. But 90% of the eco-friendly furnishings, accessories and decorative stuff out there is, um, a bit crunchy for my taste. I don't want hemp throw pillows filled with recycled wood chips. I just don't.

Enter VivaTerra and I am a new man.

I am drooling over this timber block stool/table thing. Fantastic.


I have a crush on this lotus flower chandelier.


I'm smitten with this Shiva stone thingy. Forget that it is supposed to be good Feng Shui. I just like shape.


And I am in love with these raku eggs handmade in Portugal. Sensual and gorgeous. I want one to sit on a stack of books somewhere.

Look at this great hand-dyed linen woodgrain table runner! Will you just look?


All of this stuff is made of recycled, reused or renewable products. I'm probably going to have to buy something just to insure that they keep sending me their catalog forever. I'm serious.

Yeah, I'm getting a raku egg.

16 Comments:

Blogger donutboy said...

It seems that I get pottery barn catalogs like I use to get AOL cds!

Thanks for the link!

5:29 PM  
Blogger Claire Brennan said...

Does Pottery Barn also send you three KIDS catalogs every month?!! I don't even have kids, so I have no reason to have a catalog of overpriced monogrammed spit-up bibs and pink/green/white striped sheets and bumper pads in my house.

Love your blog, thanks for the design catalog tips.

6:14 PM  
Blogger robot75 said...

Cool site.

And speaking of cool lamps....this isn't necessarily eco-friendly, but I dig it.


http://75robots.blogspot.com/2007/02/roost-pendant-lamp.html

http://www.homeportfolio.com/catalog/Product.jhtml?avId=21678&selected_anId=&prodId=134880

9:08 PM  
Blogger Janvangogh said...

I dont think I have gotten a Viva Terra catalogue since I moved. Sigh. Thanks for the reminder.

5:41 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Oh my god- I'm so glad you said that about the PB catalogs. I get so frustrated everytime i get them- I thinkg MAYBE this time there will be something truley new and interesting inside... but NO! It's always the same stuff but just in a different order. Phew- I'm glad I"m not the only one!

7:19 AM  
Blogger modernemama said...

Thank you, thank you. I literally gasped when I clicked the link and saw the side table - pure lust on my part.
Pottery Barn and Frontgate catalogs - I can set my calendar by them- and full of depressing stuff I've seen a million times before.
I'm off to Vivaterra.com to order a twisty stool...

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI: I did a search under VivaTerre trying to find something about the company itself and found your blog. I thought you all might like to know my experience. I was in love with these items! I placed an order Sunday at 10 PM. Two of the three items aren't available for over 3 months??? So since they weren't open, I phoned at 8 AM Eastern time on MOnday to cancel all. I gave them system-issued order number and no one could find it. They said I could call back every hour if I liked. I said that since I have actually a LIFE and have to work, I asked that they just take care of it. The guy refused. I emailed. I received an automated response to phone the 800 number or they'd respond in 24 hours. I responded back that 24 hours is unacceptable and that I had phoned and the agent was ineffecitve. So....now 36 hours later, no response still and....I just now got a notification that they shipped ANYWAY, tho it's been cancelled in writing long ago. I phoned. Cust service person said she couldn't help me....that their system was set up so that they can't cancel now. I said "I cancelled at 8 AM on the 12th" and she said "well, we didn't have the order yet" I said , "Well, I emailed at 8:20 AM. You charged my card two hours later" she said "Well, I should've called earlier" WTF?????

Bottom line, this is in violation of their merchant account rules and I'm protesting and of course, I'm disputing the credit card bill. Since I'm out of the country as of Friday, this thing is going to sit on my porch for 10 days and will probably be stolen since we're on a busy street. These people can suffer the loss 'cause I have the proof that I cancelled and no one would take the responsibility of actually PROVIDING customer service.

Bottom Line? It's really pathetic that this country, with such cool items, has a standard, no-personal-responsibility policy with their employees or their operations.

I simply can advise everyone to be very careful. They do not support their product and do not provide customer service. It's all a scam. If a company doesn't not provide even the most basic customer service, if their systems don't perform and they are 'set up' to ignore customers and customer service, no good can ever come of this.

Throw away the catalog! Go to Gaiam or a REALLY well known company. Don't shop here.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Christina W said...

So many wonderful things...and the raku egg really is lovely.

2:56 AM  
Anonymous Seeing Red said...

This is absolutely the WORST organization. A product I ordered arrived looking nothing like the image in the catalog. There customer service agents are always busy and you cannot get through. It's an embarassment that they tout themselves to be eco-friendly; they need to learn to be consumer friendly. Avoid the company like the plague.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a terrible experience with them as well. Don't order from them. Really.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HORRIBLE experience with VivaTerra. No matter how cool the catalog -DO NOT ORDER. I have spent nearly 4 hours on the phone trying to get an order I placed 3 weeks ago. The customer service is the worst I have ever had. There is something VERY wrong with this business.I filed a fraud charge with my cc company, as well as, BBB in colorado (company location) and the Colorado State Attorney's office.DONT BUY FROM THEM!

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will add to the chorus of dissatisfied customers. My holiday shopping with Viva Terra has to be one of the worst online shopping experiences I have ever had, as a result I would personally never *ever* ordering from them again.

On December 10th I placed an order for two Christmas gifts, two days before the cutoff for standard shipping. The website promised that I would be notified when the packages shipped, and given a tracking number.

When I did not hear from them, the following week, I decided to give the company a call. The representatives told me that the items were in transit, and that they would arrive by the 24th. However, I was a little skeptical and proceeded to check in with them every few days, just to see what was up. Each time I called, I was told that the items were definitely in transit and would arrive in time for the holiday, even though they could not provide me with functional shipping tracking numbers.

Needless to say, the items did not arrive in time for Christmas. Instead after several more calls, I learned that one of the items was on backorder, and the other one finally shipped the second week of January. It arrived about a month later on the 10th of January. Totally fed up with the company, I refused the package, and disputed the item on my credit card.

Viva Terra seems to have a policy of not allowing you to cancel an order, even if it has not shipped. They also seem to have a policy of not telling the truth to their customers. I can't imagine how such a business model is sustainable.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all the viva terra victims..thanks for the really good advise. I just saved $500 for stuff I probably wouldn't have received. PB catalog just came addressed to our cat..hello.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous juddub said...

If you don't want a catalogue from a company, it is simple to go on line and ask to be removed. PB will do that within a month.
EVERYTHING seems to be "back-ordered" from Viva Terra...I have never received an item when promised. I am guessing they have small craft factories in foreign parts and only get items when they are actually purchased by somebody! Too bad - the stuff is unique.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I discovered this company that has many Eco-friendly products. It was worth my time.

http://www.terrafurnishings.com/

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to add to this form the other side of the Viva Terra nightmare. My fiance was "commissioned" (and I use that term very lightly as we have still yet to get paid the balance for product delivered) to provide 180 units of a modern adirondack chair he designed. This company has proved to be horrendously unprofessional and they treat their vendors like absolute crap. These are supposed to be eco-friendly artisan(NOT mass produced overseas) products. The expectations for perfection on a product made of reclaimed redwood, not to mention their unrealistic wholesale price makes my blood boil. At every turn they were changing terms of payment and adding conditions at their whim....ever heard of attorneys? Our net 30 terms were changed and we were never notified. My fiance received an e-mail TODAY stating that the product isn't selling(the catalog has only been out for a month) and they need to discount it so they are paying us less...um, not our problem a-holes! We were promised payment on the 15th which is in 2 days...I will be camping outside of their office in San Rafael until they cut a check. DO NOT buy from Viva Terra on principal, they are shady and not true to their so-called mission. They do not support the artisans, they suck them dry emotionally and financially. The chairs we sold them are marked up 300% and there is an additional charge for shipping. If you want a great chair for your deck or yard please buy it from the source so our blood, sweat and tears are not in vain...they don't deserve your hard earned money! www.luma-designs.com

2:49 PM  

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