Soft and Natural Clothing and Home Goods
Jan 11, 2003 (Updated Dec 20, 2004)
Soft Surroundings has an interesting market niche - they sell all natural goods that are soft and easy to care for. It sounds pretty limited, however they have a broad line of merchandise. When applicable, they describe items with a softness code consisting of clouds. Three clouds are ultimate softness, one cloud is merely so soft.
WHAT TO BUY
There is a wide variety of merchandise:
Women's apparel: Choices include shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, pajamas, bras and panties (some sexy and some comfortable) and shoes. The clothing styles are generally feminine and stylish. There are no conservative fashions. Sizes range from 4-18. There are some 1X and 2X. There are also some petites.
Bedding: Matching quilts, sheets and bedskirts. They also have natural fiber blankets and throws. The bedding is flowery and feminine.
Make-up: An eclectic selection of make-up and potions. Brands include Payot, Vincent Longo and Philip B.
Home decor: There are a few lamps, wall hangings and rugs. Many of these items compliment the bedding styles.
Furniture: A few chairs, ottomans and bed frames.
HOW TO BUY
There is a web site at www.softsurroundings.com. There is also a catalog you can request for free on the web site. The merchandise on the web site and in the catalog is usually different. There is also a separate web site called www.softsurroundingsoutlet.com that sells items on sale. To order by phone, call 1-800-749-7638.
WEB SITE OPERATION
Web site operation is intuitive and it loads quickly. There are categories on the left and you can choose them to see the items offered. There are not many bells and whistles on the web site but they don't offer tons of merchandise so they really are not necessary.
I got an e-mail from Soft Surroundings offering me a 15% discount on anything. I had been eyeing a blanket that ranked three clouds (ultimate softness) and decided to purchase. I got an e-mail acknowledging my order and another when the blanket was shipped. It arrived when promised. It was packed in a plastic bag inside a box. The box was secured by one piece of tape. I would have liked to see a bit more tape but the box did not open and the blanket arrived in fine condition.
The web site will send an e-mail when you place an order and again when the order ships. I have never made a return or called the catalog toll-free line. The customer service line is 1-888-414-7638.
STEALS AND DEALS
If you sign up for e-mails on the web site, you will get a weekly e-mail listing outlet items. These items are usually offered at over 50% off. In December, I got an e-mail coupon for 15% off anything on the web site. The web site had more limited items than the catalog at the time but there was still a lot to choose from.
You can order certain gift certificates at a 10% discount.
Soft Surroundings offers lots of unique items that will appeal to many people (okay, women). All of the items are easy to care for and comfortable (except maybe the thongs). I love my blanket and it came exactly as described and promised. I recommend this company.
DO YOU LIKE TO SHOP ON THE INTERNET? HERE ARE SOME MORE REVIEWS OF WEB STORES:
Clothing and Accessories: Talbots; The Gap; CWD Kids; Hanna Andersson; J. Jill; Tote Le Monde ; Blu Pyxie ; Miniboden; One Hanes Place; Nordstrom; Gymboree; Simple Shoes; Sierra Blue; Ebags.
Clothing and Home Goods: Lands End; Bluefly; Garnet Hill; Sundance; L.L. Bean.
Home and Garden: Smith & Noble; Restoration Hardware; Gardeners Supply Company; Unicahome; Homeclick; FaucetDirect; Gardens Alive; West Elm; Crate & Barrel; MyKnobs; CB2.
Books and Magazines: Amazon.com; ValueMags; Magazine Values; Dover Publications.
Office Supplies, Furniture and Services: Staples; Officemax; Topdeq; Efax.
Electronics: HP Shopping; Buy.com; ABT Electronics.
Travel: Amtrak; Hotwire; Orbitz; Hotels.com.
Discount: Overstock.com; Target.
Photo Developing: Shutterfly; Snapfish.
Baby Stuff: Babystyle; Babys Here Birth Announcements; Baby Universe; SoZo; Baby Center; Baby Age.
Miscellaneous: 1-800 contacts; Movie Tickets.com; Drugstore.com.
Rebate Sites: Upromise; Ebates.
Before you start shopping, check out my tips on how to save money by shopping on the internet . I have also included some coupon codes and plan to add more as I find them.