The Fantabulous Lowdown: Sample Sale Sites

by Lisa on May 12th, 2009

One of the things I write about on here quite often are sample sales and sample sale sites that I think might be of interest. It was pointed out to me recently that not everyone is familiar with the concept of an online sample sale, so I thought I’d take a moment (OK, a long moment) to explain this concept that has helped bring designer fashions at discounted prices to the online shopper.

Sample sales have been around for awhile (primarily in areas with a high concentration of designers, such as NYC) and have historically provided a way for designers to get rid of the previous season’s fashions, as well as any excess inventory. They drastically reduce the price of the merchandise and *poof* it all flies off the shelf. (Ideally.)

Fantabulously Frugal,shopping,womanThe concept behind online sample sales is very similar. Online sample sale sites work with designers and retailers to buy up their left-over merchandise and sell it at a steep discount. But here’s the catch – like “real” sample sales, online sample sales primarily deal with designer goods – so even at a discount, sample sales are not always *cheap*. Say one site is having an up-to 70% off Marc Jacobs sale. If the cheapest item in the sale retails for $300, the cheapest you could really expect to find an item for is $90. This is a fantabulous deal for Marc Jacobs, but, you know, not anywhere close to dirt cheap. (And I am simply talking $$$ here – let’s not debate quality and all that.)

Here are three things you should know about all sample sales: 1. Quantities are LIMITED. If there’s a sample sale you’re interested in perusing, it’s better to do so as soon as the site goes live because if you wait 20 minutes everything could be gone. 2. Sales only last a very limited amount of time. Some might be open for 12 hours, and some might be open for 48-72 hours. There’s no such thing as a meandering sample sale. 3. Many will offer you incentives ($$$) for getting your friends to sign up and purchase things – as noted below.

Online sample sales only began popping up during the past few years and anymore it seems as though there’s a new sample sale site joining the ranks on a daily basis. I’m going to give you the lowdown on a few of them here, as well as tell you how you can sign up for the various sites. (And by all means, if there are sale sites that I’m missing that you think are *good* please let me know!)

  • According to the website, Beyond the Rack offers up to 70% off designer merchandise.
  • Beyond the Rack is a “By Invitation Only” site, meaning unless someone specifically invites you, you will be put on their waiting list. Here’s your Beyond the Rack invitation.
  • Once you are a member of Beyond the Rack you will be given your own invitation code. You can then receive $10 for every person you refer that makes a purchase.
  • According to the website, Editors’ Closet offers up to 80% off retail prices.
  • Here’s your Editors’ Closet invitation
  • Get a $5 coupon for signing up
  • Receive a $5 coupon for every person you refer that makes a purchase.

  • According to the website, Gilt Groupe offers up to 70% off retail prices at 36-hour sales.
  • By Invitation Only.
  • Here’s your Gilt invitation
  • Gilt offers sales for Women, Men, Children, and Home
  • Receive a $25 credit for every person you refer that makes a purchase.

  • According to the website, HauteLook offers between 50-75% off retail prices.
  • Anyone can join.
  • Invite your friends to join and receive a $10 credit when your friends make their first purchases.
  • Here’s your HauteLook invitation
  • According to the website, Ideeli claims to be the first online sample sale site. It’s free to join, but for an additional fee you can get exclusive benefits, such as earlier shopping times.
  • By Invitation Only.
  • Here’s your Ideeli invitation
  • Receive a $25 credit for every person you refer that makes a purchase.

  • According to the website, most Rue La La sales last no more than 2-3 days. (Sorry, I could not find any information about the savings you might receive here.)
  • By Invitation Only.
  • Receive a $10 credit for every person you refer that makes a purchase.
  • Here’s your Rue La la invitation

Are there sample sale sites I’m missing? If so, please send me some information and I’d be happy to add to the list. As this form of shopping continues to grow I am positive the number of sample sale stores is going to explode!

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2 Responses

  1. Julia says:

    Great information!! What a cute blog too!