Guest blog: Sample sale shopping tips from an expert
We have a very special guest post for you today! Liane Jamason (looking cute over there on the left) is a full-time Realtor in Tampa, but has been a fashion blogger on the side for 6 years. Liane helped launch denimblog.com and was editor at Denimology.com. Liane, a sample sale devotee, was dismayed there was no way to do it locally. She started SampleSaleSites.com to bring online sample sales to the masses. Here, she lets you Deal Divas readers in, explaining sample sales and offering tips for navigating them online.
Deal Diva Stephanie
Have you ever been to a real sample sale in New York City or Los Angeles? Sample Sales cause a shopping frenzy and are a great opportunity for businesses to sell off excess merchandise. Sample sales can get you that $450 Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress for up to 90 percent off the retail price. Score! But if you live in a place like Tampa Bay, you feel cheated.
Sample sale websites are a new trend expanding upon the traditional sample sale. They're usually invite-only. You often must receive an invitation from an existing member to create an account. Then, you can buy fashionable items at heavily discounted prices. You'll find everything from high-end fashion labels and household items to wine and travel. I've bought so much this way that the UPS man and I are on a first-name basis.
I live here in Tampa Bay and always longed to shop those New York sample sales. I founded SampleSaleSites.com as a way to tell readers about all the best sample sales happening across the web, while providing "invitation links" so readers can join the sites and shop the sales. Each day we post a list of upcoming sample sales as well as tips and coupon codes for the sample sale websites. Here are some tips for shopping online sample sales:
- Each sample sale tends to run for about 24 to 72 hours, or until sold out. Find out what time the sale starts and get online a few minutes early if a brand is featured that you really love. Many sites only carry a few items in each size and the best pieces often sell out in minutes. Most sites start sales at either 10 a.m., 11 a.m. or noon.
- Check out the site's return policy. Many offer returns but for store credit only, or some allow returns within a certain number of days. However there are also often "final sale" events where prices are discounted even more drastically. These items are not returnable. Great deal, but if the item doesn't fit, you must accept it, or do what I do and sell it on eBay to recoup what you've spent.
- Understand that most items are from a prior season. As long as you accept this, you can find classic pieces from prior seasons that will still work in your wardrobe for many seasons to come. Great designer jeans, classic dresses and tops and high end handbags will become staples in your closet regardless of the season. Besides, does Gucci really ever go out of style?!
- Be willing to walk away. If all the good stuff goes before you get online, don't let your adrenaline get the best of you and buy something that you are not in love with. If you don't find what you were looking for, there will always be another sale. Also, make sure the sale price is really a good deal by doing a quick price comparison with other online shops.
- If you missed out on that must-have item, some sites have a "wait list" feature. This way, if someone returns an item because it didn't fit or they just didn't like it, you will be notified when the item is returned to the store or if the store gets more in stock. Once I put a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses on my wait list and a few weeks later, voila, I received an e-mail that I could purchase a pair for $45! If you really want it, it may be worth the wait.