Do you Shop AHAlife?
Are you bored with shopping because you can’t find anything creative and interesting to buy? AHAlife.com claims to be a place where you can find objects that will inspire you and bring some pleasing aha moments to your humdrum shopping life. Is this claim true? Should you Shop AHAlife?
At AHAlife.com you will find a wide assortment of items including jewelry from independent designers such as Anastazio Kotsopoulous as shown above, or designers like Fabrizio Cantamessa who designs for the high-end Italian jewelry company Cantamessa, items such as shown below.
Looks like you might need to be wealthy to shop AHAlife for certain objects.
I’ve never purchased anything from the ahalife.com website. But while browsing, I did see a few things in their jewelry and accessories collection that I would classify as creative and interesting. However, I did not really find anything in my price range that I liked well enough to buy. Everything that I found interesting enough that I would give thought to purchasing was priced well beyond my means. Such as these cute Judith Leiber clutches, which if they were priced as inexpensive little trinkets, I would definitely buy, not to actually use them as clutches, but just to decorate the vanity table in my bedroom.
Note: I should also make clear that I am an affiliate of ahalife.com, so I am writing this feature in the capacity of an affiliate for the purpose of promoting ahalife.com. But I assure you that I will not tell you anything about ahalife.com that is information I have been asked to publish under the guise of my own opinion. My article is entirely about my experience and observations after virtually traversing the ahalife.com website, and researching the company.
While AHAlife sells jewelry, bags, some types of apparel, accessories and beauty products, they appear to primarily sell products to enhance your house and home. But I have to admit, I went several pages deep browsing through their home decor section and I did not find anything that jumped out at me and made me go “aha, I found what I didn’t even know I was looking for!”. I did have high expectations because of what appears in the manifesto on their about page. I was certain that I was about to have a fulfilling and scintillating experience finding new and interesting creative home decor objects from designers and artisans around the world. But nope, that did not happen for me, and I was sincerely looking because I need to decorate the home I just moved into a few months back to give it some character. There was not a single thing that I saw that I felt like I needed to have. But I only went about 15 pages deep of 89 pages.
Is AHAlife.com a good place to shop?
A search for reviews from people who have actually shopped AHAlife brought nothing of particular interest. There’s no one out there raving about the company and their website; but it also does not appear that there are many people out there complaining. It does raise questions as to how well the company is doing. Their prices do appear a bit high for things that don’t really look that impressive in their primary departments. For example, I came across some wall art priced in the $1500 range that look like someone simply applied an extreme Gaussian blur filter in Photoshop on some pictures and is trying to convince people that the effect evokes some kind of emotive experience. I would not personally pay a dime to obtain these blurred photos when, if I desired photos of blurred flowers on my wall I could take my own photos and blur them on the PC, print them out and put them on my wall, achieving the same poor result as what I saw in the photo that was showcasing the art prints on a wall.
If I were to Shop AHAlife, I think I would only be interested in buying jewelry. Among the designers selling their jewelry at ahalife.com, is New York based jewelry designer Lele Sadoughi. Hers has been featured on ahalife.com as a brand they love and I can see why. From the pictures, her jewelry looks wearable and her prices are for the most part affordable. Her most expensive item on the site is this Peking headdress necklace which comes with a $495 price tag. So her items aren’t outrageously expensive.
What I really like are her bracelets and some of her necklaces, but even though they aren’t crazy expensive, I still can’t afford them right now.
But I could purchase Lele Sadoughi jewelry on her own website at www.lelesadoughi.com, so what reason would I have for ever deciding to shop AHAlife? And what reason would you?
I would shop AHAlife to support independent designers and artisans
I like the idea of doing my part to support independent designers and artisans. Because I know from a lifetime of experience how difficult it can be to live when you work for yourself and depend upon selling your work to make a living. I have always tried and will continue to try whenever possible to support creative people. I am myself a creative person who has always worked for myself because of phobias that made a “normal” life impossible. Since I was 18 I have had to try to find ways to make a living via one creative means or another. And I have been met mostly with rejection, and it has been excruciating and difficult. And because I know what it is like to feel all the emotions that come with having people repeatedly reject you and your work for decades, whenever I am in position to support someone’s creative endeavors I try to do it.
According to their manifesto, as published on their website, “AHA IS THE PREMIERE CURATED MARKETPLACE FOR CREATIVE & INSPIRING OBJECTS”. They say that they “scour the globe to find exceptional, quality objects for every single aspect of your life.” They go on to talk about how creativity is at risk because independent designers and artisans are struggling to compete with big business. And they state that they on on a mission to make an impact.
We believe the essence of an exceptional object is the story behind its people, creative process and inspiration. AHA is an online platform for independent designers and artisans to tell their story and interact with a global community that shares our ethos.
I believe in lending a helping hand when and if you can. If you’re going to buy something and you can buy it from a small business or an artist working independently, why not do it just for the sake of helping the people who need help. Big businesses have billions. Lots of small business owners and independent designers and artisans are struggling. And some of them don’t have options outside of what they are trying to do to make a living.
Of course, when you make a choice to support someone in this way, you do it knowing you are taking a risk. Because not everyone is honest. AHAlife is a profit generating business after all. So before you Shop AHAlife simply because you want to help the company achieve its expressed goal to bring consumers high quality objects that inspire them and help them live life to the fullest while simultaneously helping independent designers and artisans hold their own, do your due diligence in researching the company. It is important to be sure you trust that they truly stand for the same things you do, and that the designers and artisans whose products they sell are as concerned with providing high quality and safe products to consumers as they are concerned with being fairly compensated for their creations.
After reading a 2011 New York Times interview with the founder of AHAlife Shauna Mei, I was left a little confused as to the company’s real purpose.
But it is entirely possible that the company has evolved and changed their ethos since being founded.
Asked in the New York Times interview what inspired her to start AHAlife, founder Shauna Mei replied:
“I had this aha! moment. Both online and in stores, companies market to men. Only the fashion industry targets women, but we make most purchasing decisions.”
When the interviewer presses, naming Target and supermarkets on a whole as examples of companies that market to women, Mei replies:
“When products are more generic, like cars, companies tend to market more to men. Apple is the only technology company that knows how to market to women. When other industries target women, they market to a woman my mom’s age who’s in the kitchen wearing an apron. She’s frumpy and her hair is in a Scrunchie. Who aspires to look like that? The fashion industry, however, does a great job of making women believe they’ll feel fantastic if they buy a $3,000 handbag. I want to feature all sorts of products, using that same idea.”
Here are some other snippets from that interview. But you can read the interview in it’s entirety here
Q. That sounds like the format of many women’s magazines.
A. In print I’m sure it’s covered, but I haven’t read print for three years and neither have my friends. None of these magazines do a good job engaging the online viewer. There’s a ton of content online, but it’s not curated. We can’t separate the good from the bad.
Q. How is this different from, say, Martha Stewart?
A. She’s quintessentially American and more home-oriented. Her audience is housewives. We’re completely global; almost half our products are foreign. We want early adopters, people willing to pay full price for the coolest new thing.
Q. Don’t other retail sites do that?
A. Internet shopping was designed by men and reflects the way men like to shop. It’s all about practicality and efficiency.
To me it sounds from this interview that AHAlife was intended really to be a website where the founder and staff would select things they consider to be cool and hip from the perspective of a certain type of women — the woman who is out to prove that she’s not her mother and that her mother’s way of life and the things that facilitate her mother’s lifestyle are outdated and boring, and beneath her. The type of woman who wants to spend the extra dollars for the ability to separate herself and shroud herself in the perception of having good taste, high class and sophistication, and of being better than women who do not live as she does whether by choice or due to not being able to afford a luxe lifestyle.
This is not exactly what comes across in the manifesto on their website, so perhaps the site has since changed philosophy. For sure, I would be less inclined to support a company that belittles any group on the basis of how they live and that promotes an idea that a more expensive lifestyle is a better lifestyle. Because many people, myself among them, cannot afford an expensive lifestyle. So any idea that we are less worthy due to not having the means to pay three hundred thousand dollars for a Cantamessa necklace would be a little bit offensive.
I do think that a lot of the items I saw on the site have higher price tags than they really should; but I understand the need to charge more than a larger company would charge for the same quality item. Where a large company might be able to sell 100,000 products, an independent designer or artisan might be able to sell less than 100. At $300, they are bringing in 30,000. At $30, the larger company is bringing in $3,000,000. It’s a different ball game.
Intimate apparel at AHAlife…
If you are a lady who loves fun and flirty intimates but you can’t find anything interesting at your usual haunts online or offline, ahalife.com certainly won’t have the wide selection of Victoria’s Secret; but you might find interesting styles that aren’t available everywhere else.
AHAlife.com prides itself on being a place where you can find creative and inspiring objects made by talented artisans around the world.
After browsing the site, I don’t know that they necessarily have such a vast amount of unusual and different products from what you will typically find on other similar websites. I was not wowed or otherwise inclined to think the products there were unforgettably outstanding. But I did feel the urge to make a purchase just to support their cause of supporting independent designers and artisans. Unfortunately, I did not find anything I needed or wanted that had the right price tag for me at the moment. I am trying to press the pause button on spending for a little bit.
You won’t find things that are particularly cheap at ahalife.com. And I think because of the prices of their items and because their items at the end of the day aren’t really all that outstanding, the angle of encouraging the consumer to care about the livelihood of the designers and artisans and to shop AHAlife for that purpose – to help designers and artisans make a living and compete with big business, is critical.
From ahalife.com – “Around the world, we’re rapidly losing generations of artisans’ skills and creative solutions for our future. It’s increasingly more difficult for independent designers and artisans to compete against large companies, gain exposure, scale their business and connect with people who care about their story.”
This post contains affiliate links to the website ahalife.com
Should you make a purchase from ahalife.com after visiting through a link in this post, provided you do not return your purchase, I will make a small commission. I thank you in advance. Your support helps me to keep this blog operational.