Standing in my Jimmy Choo’s, wearing my new Joseph shift dress and my Stella McCartney rucksack, you’d think I was made of money. But in truth, I’ve just found a new way to shop whereby I’m able to buy all of my favourite designers for over 80% off. Welcome to the world of Sample Sale shopping… For me, this is now the only way to shop as why pay full price when you can get the same amazing quality from your favourite luxury brand and have change in your pocket? Okay so you might not be buying ‘in-season’ but what you will find are one of kind pieces that are simply irresistible. To be an avid sample sale shopper it’s always good to have a strategy, especially if you don’t want to get carried away with the word ‘discount’, so here’s our 10 top tips on the do’s and don’t of Sample Sale shopping:
Be in the know. Nowadays there’s many websites you can join which will send you alerts about the up and coming sales in your area. Some of these include, chicmi.com, samplesalesguide.com, and ldnsamplesales. You can also follow them on Instagram so it’s in your news feed daily.
Set a budget. Weirdly the word ‘sample sale’ or ‘discount’ make us do crazy things (or maybe that’s just me!) but setting a target of how much you want to spend it always a good start. You don’t want to have to remortgage the house just because of an irresistible coat!
Always go with a plan Whether you’re looking for a dress for a friend’s wedding, a coat for the winter or sandals for your holiday, you need a plan. It’s easy to get carried away in a sample sale and forget what you actually need and as there’s a fine line between need & want when it comes to shopping, a plan will help you focus and prevent you not going over the budget. If you find what you need and have money left over then go for what you want!
Get there for Opening 25% of the day’s sales happen within the first hour so to not miss out on the best stock, we’d advise getting there and standing in the queue ready.
Know your size It sounds obvious, but some sample sales are displayed by size so if you know you’re a 28 in Jbrand jeans then you can make your way directly to the right table and avoid wasting time.
Don’t buy just because it’s on discount. The amount of times I’ve come home from a sample sale, viewed my purchases and thought, “I really didn’t need this”. So if it doesn’t fit right, or isn’t actually what you want, then don’t get it. Save your money for the next sale when you really see something you love.
Don’t expect the boutique experience. Apart from the products, there’s little else ‘luxury’ about a sample sale. The old saying “pile high, and sell it cheap” is more true! Despite all great intentions of keeping the stock neat and tidy, after an hour of shoppers on the loose, it’s definitely feels more TK Maxx than Bond Street.
Understand the prices. Most of the stock at sample sales aren’t individually priced, so look for the price lists which tend to be listed around the room on the walls. Our advice is take a photo of it, and keep it with you as you shop. This will then also save time at the till.
Know how to pay. Most sample sales nowadays take cards, but it’s always good to check before hand. And remember, if you need to check in your coat and bag before entering for security reasons, always take out your purse first!
Lastly, be prepared to wait. For the popular sales it’s likely you have to queue to get in. There could also be a line for the fitting rooms, and then another one to pay, so make sure you have enough time to shop. The queues can sometimes be annoying, but it’ll be worth it in the end!