Friday, June 21, 2013

Sample Sale 101: Insider tips from an ex-employee.

DVF mania outside of 260 Sample Sale, my old stomping grounds. Image courtesy of

New York is not the place for people who aren't ready to hustle their butts off. This leads most of us student/blogger/intern/etc. girls to seek out some sort of "side-hustle" to get by. My first happened to be at 260 Sample Sale, also known as the home to most of the city's major sales. While I've happily graduated on to something better, those few months behind the scenes taught me a lot about the sample sale game, which I'm happy to pass along:

1) Do two swoops if possible.

I was reading The Working Girl, a blog by Preetma Singh (a well dress lawyer turned editorial darling) today, and she said something to the effect of "whether you go on the first day or the last day, if you're meant to have it you'll have it". I'm totally with that, if a piece is for you, the universe has a way of making it happen. Still, you have to be in it to win it, so do two swoops if you have the time. One on the first day of the sale, and one on the last. Two hits ensures that you see it all and have the opportunity to get the best bang for your buck.

2) The best deals to be had are found during the last hours of the sale. Try to hold off until the last minute.

Every time we had a sale, the discounts on the last day were insane. I managed to snag a pair of Current Elliot jeans for $17 on the last day of that sale, more than 80% off the normal $220 pricetag. On the last day, our goal was always to try and get everything out as quickly as possibly. Leftover stuff has to be packed up, and we would try almost anything to avoid that. While the pickings can be slim, sometimes new merch is saved for the last day, and 9 out of 10 times it's goooood.

3) Become BFF's with the bodyguards (or at least make nice).

In life, it always helps to have friends everywhere. At Sample Sale 260, the same guards worked every sale, and I hate to admit it but favoritism does come into play. Lines will be lines, but having a friend who's in charge could mean you being the little exception to the "10 people at a time" rule.

4) Sign up for the newsletter, get the scoop.

When the top secret Alexander Wang sale was still on the hush hush, Sample Sale 260 revealed the big news to their newsletter subscribers first. Don't wait for the blogs reports, get it straight from the horse's mouth. Sample Sale venues treat their customers like gold, and the newsletters can sometimes be filled with top secret info and special events for upcoming sales. Stay in the know, or get left in the dust.

5)  Check out the situation before you dive in. Use your resources.

I know it seems like I was hating on shopping blogs back there, but they can actually be a vital resource when used in the right way. Use them to check out what the story is at a sale if you're not sure if it's worth it. Racked (the local versions!)  is amazing for finding sales, no matter what your city. For you NY ladies I love The Stylish City and Sample Sally for the 411 on sales that are actually worth a visit (complete with pics).