Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sample Sale Sites: Top Designers for Less

This past year at school, my roommate Taylor introduced me to a few websites that have revolutionized the way I shop. I was not much of an online shopper until I took a look at them. The sites are set up for designer sample sales: designers sell a handful of some of their lines for around 48 hours or until their selection of items are sold out, and they are sold at a highly discounted price.

There are four sites that I regularly check and get email updates from. My favorite is Gilt Groupe, who is the self-proclaimed online outlet to "today's premier fashion and luxury brands at up to 70% off retail." Membership is free and they accept new members daily, but to get instant access to this site, you need to be invited to join. Luckily for all of you, I can invite you. Just click here to join. Being the most exclusive and in my opinion, having the best brands and sales, Gilt is also the hardest site to get the best merchandise from. New sales start at noon every day (they can send you email notifications at 11:45 am telling you what sales are starting), and by 12:01, a lot of the popular items are already sold out. But depending on what you're looking for and if you're on the site right at noon, you can find phenomenal deals. I bought 2 pairs of Havaiana flipflops for $22 (regular $20 a piece) and 2 Michael Stars dresses for $29 each (regularly $70 each). Gilt also boasts sales on luxury resort stays and home furnishings from name-brand designers.

The second site I regularly check is HauteLook. Unlike Gilt, HauteLook can be joined without an invitation (click here to join). It has the same general principle as Gilt - sample sales that last for several days from top designers at extremely discounted prices. I find that there are not as many sales on here that I look at, but the ones I've seen and purchased from have been very successful. I purchased Urban Decay makeup at 80% off and a vintage Kitson LA sweatshirt for $17 (originally $98).

The other two sites I follow are Rue La La and Enviius - these have much fewer sample sales that interest me and items and are much more hit or miss, but there is the occasional really good sale. I'm signed up for email notifications on all 4 sites so I know when the sales are going to be and when I need to log on.

Shipping time varies on the items. I've received all of my purchases within 10-14 business days (like promised) of purchase. Some of the very high-end items, however, say that the item won't be shipped for 3-4 weeks. Returns on all the sites are item-specific. Some can be returned within 30 days for a full refund, some can be returned within 30 days for a website credit (that is mostly how Gilt operates), and some items (like makeup) cannot be returned at all.

All in all, its been a phenomenal experience and I have been happy with every single one of my purchases. And a special thanks to Taylor Martin for continuing to enable my shopping addiction.


  1. Check out for a TON of other sample sale websites that you probably haven't signed up for yet - with invite links! ;) Enjoy!


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