Bargain Hunting for Catholic Resources - check out Catholic Door, a family business with prices to rival Amazon + free shipping!
Catholic/Protestant Issues, Catholicism, Conversion

Bargain Hunting for Catholic Resources {Review}

(I received free items in compensation for providing a review of Catholic Door. My opinions are entirely my own. You can see my full disclosure policy here.  Thanks bunches.)

My heart for this blog is to provide resources and encouragement for Catholic converts, reverts, those wanting to understand their Catholic or Protestant friends better, and lifelong Catholics wanting to grow in their faith.

Converts often feel that they are playing catchup, as they adapt to a new culture and context, new traditions, new friends. Sometimes, we’re playing catchup in our temporal matters as well. For those whose work is religious in nature, a conversion can throw a great big monkey wrench into the career plan. If we come to the Church later in life, that can be doubly difficult.

Having the right tools can make a big difference. (If anybody knows the right tools and tricks for a convert to rescue a theological career at 40, drop me a line, will you? I live with this brilliant Ph.D. dude who’d love to know.)

But when it comes to leaning into new forms of prayer, introducing new prayers to our kids, and learning about the saints, the right tools are a little easier to find. While we all know the big places to shop online, wouldn’t it be great if a Catholic family business could compete with the big-store prices?

When I had the opportunity to review a Catholic shopping site called Catholic Door, I was just a little nervous. Could they really compete with the online giants? Can anyone? What will I say if they can’t? Ethical blogging means I give it to you straight, so I’m not going to tell you Catholic Door is where it’s at if it just isn’t.

Here’s what I found:

What I Loved

Prices

So that career issue I mentioned? Yeah, at our house it’s all about the Benjamins these days. Even if I love a company, I just can’t justify paying more for the same product. I was beyond impressed to see that Catholic Door, in their goal to be competitive with Amazon.com, has solidly done so. I searched the following price comparisons at random, by browsing the categories. I didn’t make any special effort to find or avoid sales on either site, and these prices are accurate at the time of writing.

So you can see that Catholic Door is quite competitive in their pricing. Most of the prices are roughly the same, with some things being even less. When Amazon does get the edge, it’s only by a few cents.

When I did my own shopping, I didn’t compare any prices. I just bought what I really wanted. Want to see how the prices compare on that order? I’ll cover that further on.

But what about shipping?

Catholic Door has free shipping on all orders, no minimum. No membership fees.  The end.

Free shipping! That meant I got another book instead of needing to use that money to pay shipping.

Selection

Catholic Door launched in 2016, and is a small family business right now with big dreams for the future. In that context, the selection of book, movies, decor, jewelry, clothing, rosaries, etc., is quite good. According to David (the proprietor), the decor, etc. is handpicked by his wife, Laurel, while the book selection is chosen with an eye to becoming competitive with Amazon.com in the Catholic book arena.

If there is something you’d like that you can’t find, they invite you to request a special order and still take advantage of free shipping.

Navigation, Site Design, and Smooth Ordering

I found the site very responsive and easy to navigate. The search filters made it very easy to quickly locate what I was looking for. The cart was easy to use, even for someone who might have issues with indecisiveness and need to add and delete items multiple times before checking out.  Not saying that I have that issue, mind.

My order arrived promptly. They separated my order into different shipments, which meant I got part of it in lightning speed, and the rest came a few days later.

A Catholic Heart

This is my favorite thing about this business. David has big plans for his family business. His vision includes:

  • 10% of profits donated to Catholic charities.
  • Responsible product sourcing: the majority of products are sourced from the US or from predominantly Catholic countries like Mexico and Poland.
  • Aside from books, most vendors are small Catholic businesses.
  • Hiring plans: future plans for Catholic Door include plans to create a Catholic culture in the workplace, and to strive to hire employees that otherwise struggle to find work, such as the homeless or recently imprisoned.

A business model that includes a Catholic heart for the poor and marginalized is worth getting behind, friends.

 

What I Ordered with Price Comparisons

As I wrap up, let me share what I ordered:

Louie the Lamb Prayer Buddy, $21.95.

You guys. This little guy is completely adorable. I’ve actually been jonesing for one for months, and I was over the moon when I found him on Catholic Door. He’s cute, soft, and squishable, and when you squeeze his foot, he recites the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be in a cute-but-not-annoying little kid voice. You know how you NEVER EVER FORGET the phrases that talking toys spout out over and over and over again?

Uh huh. Key prayers taught to children. Check. He’s $24.95 on Amazon, so this is a deal for sure.

I also ordered:

  • Pius XII movie featuring James Cromwell, $17.95. Have not watched it yet, but the reviews are great. We’re really looking forward to watching this as a family. Price check: Amazon has it for $19.57, about $1.50 more than Catholic Door. 
  • Anima Christi: Soul of Christ, Mother Mary Frances, P.C.C. $9.95. Price check: Amazon has it for precisely the same, $9.95.
  • The Fathers Know Best, James Akin, $19.95. Price check: Amazon has it for $20.86.

My final total from Catholic Door: $69.80.

The same order from Amazon would have run me $75.33. 

I had not price checked those items at the time that I ordered, so I’m pretty tickled to see that in addition to supporting a small Catholic business with a big heart, I also saved $5.53 off what I would have paid elsewhere, including shipping. Well done, Catholic Door.

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “Bargain Hunting for Catholic Resources {Review}”

  1. Thank you for the great review. I hope our online store will be a great resource for you and other Catholic converts. Have a blessed upcoming Advent and Christmas season. God bless!

    1. Jeanie,

      It is a strategic decision I made when I decided I wanted to take over the online Catholic book market from that big company in Seattle. How do you get people to come to Catholic Door for their books instead of you know who? Well, for one you need to be competitive with pricing because it would be great to support Catholic stores but like Desiree said the need to save money many times trumps the want to support. The other was that so many people enjoy free shipping with them that charging for shipping is both unexpected and adds a significant cost if you are just buying one book. The how we do it is a secret I will keep close to my vest but I will tell you that margins are razor thin and I am relying on repeat business and word of mouth advertising to get the volume and low cost of advertising necessary to make the money in books we need to grow and succeed. So please give us a chance for any Catholic books, or gifts for that matter, you need and please tell all of your family and friends about us. The one thing we don’t match that company with right now is breadth of selection but that will come with time and more success. In the meantime, let me know if there is something we don’t carry and I will try my best to get it and match when it makes sense because I will tell you that there are some titles that are discounted so much that I would be losing money on the sale and so those will have to be charged more for. Come check out our store and tell me what you think.

  2. Sounds great – but free shipping only applies to the continental US (understandable, as the company is located in Texas). As usual, us Canadians are left out in the cold…

    1. Oh, that’s a bummer. I guess international would be prohibitively expensive. I’m still jealous of your health care system, though. 🙂

    2. You are correct in that we only do free shipping for Continental US right now. We will evaluate that and see if it can ever change. But I will tell you that I have done some shipments to Canada on an ad hoc basis and just pass on the cost to the consumer so if you would like our store to ship something to Canada then reach out via our website and I will let you know how much. We do want to help our friendly neighbors to the North but we want to grow smartly and make sure it makes good business sense. Hopefully we will be shipping to Canada in the near future whether its free or at least affordable…I imagine we will be sooner rather than later.

      1. It’s good to know that you do ship to Canada (even if not for free) – not everyone does. Perhaps you could add a note on your website somewhere to let people know that. I’ll certainly mention Catholic Door online – might as well give the money to a Catholic family business instead of Amazon!

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