Fashion Sample Sale

What You Don’t Understand About Sample Sales

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By Maura McNulty

Sample sales are arguably New York’s best kept secret–its how we stay chic, while still being able to afford to order delivery every night. If you know how to approach a sample sale, chances are you’ll walk out of the store with some sweet designer discounts.

So, what exactly are sample sales? Talk to anyone in marketing, and they will tell you that a shortage of products is a failure on the part of the company. Despite what people think, high-end designers never want to be sold out of a product; the goal is to make as many sales as possible, so most clothing companies produce excess clothes to ensure that everyone who is willing to buy their products will be able to do so.

Because of this, at the end of each season there’s an excess of clothes and accessories that they were unable to sell. Cue the sample sale: in order to make a bonus profit, brands will sell their surplus for more affordable prices for a few days; some brands selling items for up to 90% off of the original retail price.

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Katya Dobryakova New York


Finding sample sales can be a little tricky; a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that the sales rack in a store is the same thing. It’s not; the better deals are usually in an office building in New York or Los Angeles, because the designers usually use a third party to host the sample sale for them.

Before you grab a coffee and prepare for a day of light shopping, be warned: these sales are packed with people in a large room, rummaging through the racks in order to find that perfect dress. There’s an adrenaline rush akin to the one a kid gets when someone cracks a pinata open and the candy falls to the ground. Except it isn’t candy, it’s the last pair of Jimmy Choo heels that are 70% off, and they’re in your size! So It’s best to come prepared with comfortable shoes for your treasure hunt.

If you find yourself in New York this summer, skip the rainbow bagels and head over to a sample sale to hunt for the biggest discounts on designer goods. Just be sure to download ShopDrop first to find out where the best sales in the city are located.

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