Sample sales are the fashion insider's shopping secret. It's the perfect way to get guaranteed, authentic designer goods without paying full retail prices.
Stars will never talk about this secret since they are often given designer pieces for free … it's good publicity for the designer. This is the insider shopping secret of the true New York fashion elite.
I've outlined the money-saving reasons to try sample sales below.
Samples sales commonly average a discount of 40-80 percent off retail prices. Here are some examples of the typical savings (these samples are actual postings):
1. Over 12,000 pairs of women's designer shoes featuring current collections by Stuart Weitzman, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, Burberry, Michael Kors, Pucci, DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Anne Klein, Puma, Cynthia Rowley, Donald J. Pliner, Calvin Klein, Beverly Feldman, Miss Sixty, Frye, Lilly Pulitzer Hush Puppies, Minnetonka, Betsy Johnson, New Balance, Uggs, and many others. All shoes are $ 25- $ 110. All boots are $ 50- $ 165.
2. Armani Casa's sleek home furnishings are reduced by up to 70 percent.
3. Jill Stuart's Fall / Winter 2005 collection of wool coats, Victorian tops, flirty skirts, evening dresses, shoes and accessories will be marked down by up to 75 percent.
4. Save up to 80 percent off retail prices on their lines of women's and kids' clothing and accessories … Examples: Hollywood sexy high heel shoes, originally $ 450, now $ 95, a chocolate mink fur coat, originally $ 1,700, now $ 350, Calypso Paloma wrap around chiffon skirt was $ 200, now $ 40, leather and natural pearl embellished Buba bags (made in India) were $ 745, now $ 150.
One example of the opportunities for extra savings is New York's tax-free week (usually twice each year). The discount, for purchases under $ 110, covers clothing, footwear, fabric, thread, yarn, buttons, zippers, neckties, scarves, hats, uniforms, athletic clothing, and diapers. The next tax-free week is January 30 – February 5, 2006.
More than Clothing
Sample sales include much more than just designer clothes and accessories. You can also find furniture, home accent pieces, rugs, and costume and fine jewelry. I've even known a prop sample sale … selling furniture and décor items used in movies and television shows.
Sample sales are a great opportunity to check out the wares from new, not-yet-popular designers. The added advantage is getting discounted, unique pieces form designers before they become popular and more expensive.
Wholesale / Import Sales
These special sales often discount pieces below the wholesale prices (the prices retailers pay). The possible savings certainly justify a visit.
There are at least six sample sales going on in any given week. The free sales listings are good resources, but the best, listings that cover the most sales and provide the most sale information, have subscription fees. They can range from $ 40 to $ 124 / year.
Exploring sample sales is a win-win opportunity. It's a good way to find beautiful, authentic pieces at great prices.
By Yolanda Keil
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