Thursday, October 27, 2011

Amore Vivo - PREview and Extra (Easy) Entry {#MadeInMichigan}

This is a review for one of my sponsors of the Made in Michigan Blog Giveaway Hop, which will take place from October 28 – November 2. I will be offering my readers the chance to win a (Hand)Made in Michigan prize package worth nearly $200! Please take a moment to read about this wonderful Etsy shop and then fill out the Rafflecopter form below for a very easy extra entry into the giveaway.

Amore Vivo is an Etsy shop that specializes in beautiful floral arrangements, wreaths, wine art (a little more on that later!), and upcycled cork art. In Italian, "Amore Vivo" means "Love Life" and it is the perfect name for this shop! Many of the items you will find at Amore Vivo are full of life - live and silk Floral Arrangements, beautiful Peacock Feather Wreaths, and Unique Handmade Wine Bottle Toppers are at the heart of this shop. The shop's owner, Michele, is from South Lyon and has been a floral designer and crafter for over 25 years. Her love of local wines and penchant for floral design kind of coalesced into a passion.
 Now, my "review" is actually going to be a PRE-view. Rather than sending me one of her Fresh Christmas Centerpieces now, Michele has agreed to wait to send it until the perfect time for me & my family - between November 20 and December 18 - so we can enjoy it during the holidays. Because this is an arrangement made with Fresh Michigan Evergreens (balsam fir, blue spruce, juniper, cedar, pine...), it will last 2-3 weeks and I'd really prefer to enjoy it during the holiday season. I can almost smell it now and almost don't want to wait!

Isn't that just beautiful?! I wish I had a scratch-n-sniff monitor! And, just so you know, Michele will work with customers to get the look they want. It is completely customizable in color, size, style... the possibilities are endless. Each arrangement comes in a foam "oasis" container to keep the fresh pieces looking great and help them last. Michele also includes care instructions and a nice information sheet about Michigan Evergreens. Hey - sounds like a great learning opportunity as an added bonus!

This is what the information sheet says:
"This centerpiece is handmade with wonderful evergreens from our vast Winter Wonderland state of Michigan!  I hand cut these greens just before arranging my Christmas Centerpieces to keep them long lasting and naturally fragrant!  Most of them come from my home in Southeastern Michigan with accents from areas of Traverse City, Tawas by Lake Huron and the Tri City area.  In these times when so many of us have artificial trees, my special fresh evergreen centerpieces still give the home the fresh tree aroma."

Since I cannot write a review because I haven't received the item yet, I'm going to share some of the feedback that Amore Vivo has received on Etsy and via email. The first is from a client who was so happy with her order that she actually got out paper and pen and wrote an actual letter (anyone who takes the time to do this has got to be a happy customer!):
Hope you remember, me. I ordered 5 of your Made In Michigan centerpieces for Christmas to be shipped to different states. Wow, what a great response of thanks I received! I now live in Michigan and every year search of special gifts for my family Made In Michigan. Yours was perfect, along with the evergreen information you attached. Thank you so much, I will be back next year!
Her Etsy feedback is just wonderful - 100% positive. I keep seeing two things that people have written over and over: her shipping is very fast and her items are beautiful. Both of these are important to me, as a buyer. No one wants to purchase something and then wait weeks for it to arrive, especially on sites like Etsy where you really don't know the person you're dealing with. If it takes more than a week and a half for me to receive an order or a tracking number... something from the seller, I start getting nervous. Did I just send money to someone who isn't going to send me my item??? Then there's the disappointment you sometimes have when an item that looked absolutely gorgeous on the computer screen ends up being something I could have made with Little Guy and had it turn out better. You just never know and there's a level of trust that you must put into the shop owner. From the looks of the feedback, Amore Vivo has surprised clients in the opposite direction! Just check out some of these feedback excerpts:
"Even prettier in person!"
"Fantastic job!"
"So awesome! Even better looking in person!"
"Wonderful person to deal with. My mother loved the arrangement, and it's so nice to know the evergreens were fresh. I'll never buy from [popular fresh florist] again!"

In addition to Amore Vivo, you can find Michele's work at her other Etsy shop, Amore Bride. I cannot believe the amazing pieces that she's created - from Peacock Feather Bouquets to Hairpieces to Cake Toppers - that are both beautiful and will last. They're all artificial arrangements, although Michele says that the most frequently asked question she receives is: "Are the florals real or fresh?" They look that good!

Disclosure: I will receive one Christmas Centerpiece, as pictures above, for this review. No other form of compensation will be exchanged. All opinions are my own.