Monday, December 21, 2009

Sample Sale Trends for 2010

The ever-anticipated year-end wrap up, care of Nancy Brenner:

- Showrooms vs. retailers - Many sample sales stated up to 80% off retail, when it was really only half off - sales like Botkier, Hype and Autumn Cashmere. Shoppers groaned that they could score better deals at dept stores "friends & family" and flash sales.

- Team hoarding - Highly orchestrated teams of four or more that stripped the shelves - antics that would rival the opening scene of James Bond flick. Even Daniel Craig wouldn't survive these renegade shoppers stocking up for resale on eBay.

- Sugar daddies - no bailout for men squiring their younger "friends," partners, wives to sales to foot the bill - when frocks start at $600 plus level; the "take my credit card honey" days are gone. I've yet to see a sugar mamma footing the bill at a sample sale.

- No inhibitions - women openly stripping in front to their bras and whatnots in front of of males at Proenza Schouler.

- Competition fiercer than femmes vying for Tiger Woods - as die-hard retail shoppers convert to frugalistas.

-Less merch - as designers managed their inventory, like Ben Amun, there was less to choose from at prime sales.

- Designers skipping sample sales - fashion faves like Rebecca Taylor, Cynthia Steffe (where I snagged a $5 patent leather jacket last year), Beth Bowley (where I picked up $25 skirts in seasons past) did not hold public sample sales.

- The waiting game - nearly every sale offered mark downs on the last day as merch didn't move at near retail prices.

- Longer hours - once restricted to "ladies who lunch," time slots, there were a number that stayed open until 8 or 10 p.m.

- Contact sport - Nanette Lepore's sale at progressive prices shoppers in training for the 45th Superbowl at Miami's Dolphin Stadium could show the leagues that sample sales are the ultimate contact sport.

Why does it still pay to go? The one of a kind of items. Instead of Rent-the-Runway, I own the runway. Great costume jewelry designers who will adjust their beautiful bracelets for tiny wrist. Supreme selection of a favorite designer, rather than hop-stopping at Fifth Avenue stores where each brand's space has been shrink-wrapped along with the economy. Garments, hats, leggings in colors, fabrics or shapes that were never mass produced because of the cost. Meeting the designers in person. And the savings, of course. Hurray for sample sale showrooms that still believe in sample sale prices - that means discounts off of wholesale!

What will next year bring? More shoppers competing for fewer sales, fewer choice and higher prices.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your mention on, and then your year-end wrap-up on guerilla shopper. You are so funny. As shopping is my drug of choice, I got all 'hopped up' just reading your comments about the designers and their wares. My friends (they are such shopping amateurs) can’t figure out how I shop so often yet am never broke nor have any credit card debt (cash is queen, honey). And now with the sample sales, I can achieve my goal of buying 365 outfits so that I never have to wear the same thing twice in a year. Do I need a twelve-step program? You bet your Manolos I do. But those twelve-steps better lead into Gucci's brick and mortar on Fifth!