Designer goodies for up to 80% off? It sounds too good to be true, but, thanks to the growing popularity of sample sales, you can indeed bag yourself some truly great designer discounts, if you know where to be and when.
Samples sales started off as a US phenomenon. Designers and retailers would open pop up shops, often at relatively short notice, and sell off their excess stock at a fraction of the price. There’s often only a few of each item and sales run for a limited time only, meaning that sample sale shopping is actually a competitive event as people vie to get their hands on the best pieces (remember the scene from Friends where Monica tries to get her hands on a sample sale wedding dress?).
Photo found on Pinterest from laurenconrad.com
But, if you’re brave enough to take on the crowds at a sample sale, the good news is that you no longer have to cross the Atlantic to do so as they are becoming increasingly popular in the UK.
We take a look at the golden rules for getting the most out of sample sales and some of the best upcoming events.
Sample sales rules
Set a budget – it’s easy to get carried away when you see big 80-90% off signs, but remember, ten designer items, even with huge reductions, soon add up. Take a set amount of cash and stick to it.
Dress comfortably – we weren’t joking when we said sample sale shopping is competitive; it could be an extreme sport! Dress for battle in your comfiest shoes and avoid bulky jackets and bags. There often aren’t changing rooms, so you may want to wear something which you can try items on over the top of.
Arrive early – if a sales starts at 9am, be there at 8.30am waiting for the doors to open, that way to stand a chance of seeing some of the best merchandise.
Grab first, think later – we’ve already stressed how competitive sample sales can be, so if you spot something you like, grab it straight away, no taking another lap around the shop while you think about it. You can always review the items in your basket and put anything you don’t want back before you pay.
What’s coming up?
Margaret Howell Sample Sale at the Music Rooms in Mayfair, London until Friday March 28
The Secret Sample Sale will be at the Old Truman Brewery in London until April 6
Nicholas Kirkwood Sample Sale, at the Music Rooms in Mayfair, London between May 29 and 30
Fashion Sundays at The Oval Space in Bethnal Green, London on April 6, May 11, June 1