Savvy Sample Sale Shopping
by Holly Wilensky
Jul 28, 2010 | 17080 views | 0 0 comments | 704 704 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Ben Sherman Button front Pintuck Sundress: $29 (retail $229.00) and Ben Sherman Shrug Sweater: $19 (retail $69.00)
Out of all the sales in life that will tempt us to indulge in guilty pleasures, nothing tempts us more than sample sales. A samples sales is a sale in which select merchandise from a company is sold at a fraction of retail cost to the public.

Reasons why garments often end up at sample sales:

• As you’ve probably guessed, designers create a line of clothing for each season.

• Samples of all garments are produced then sent from the factory to the designer for approval. Styles are chosen and more samples are made until the color and fabric are just right.

• The samples (whether chosen for the line or not) are kept for reference, just in case they need to be referred to in the future.

• After a few seasons, the samples aren’t needed anymore. That’s why clothing companies have sample sales.

• Other garments also make it into sample sales such as leftover production that got returned, sent back for damages or garments that just didn’t do well in the stores.

• Bottom line–a company's loss can truly be your gain!

Look for sample sales in larger cities where most fashion companies are based – we’re talking primarily New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Dallas.


Like the saying goes, the early bird gets the discounted Diesel jeans… When you find a sample sale that entices you, tackle it at the beginning of the day on the first day, and the end of the day on the last day. It’s always wise to make your selections before the vultures attack. And when you go 2 or 3 hours before the end of the sale on the last day, sometimes the prices will be lowered to get rid of the picked-over merchandise. This doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it sweetens the deal even more.

2. Start Wheelin’ and Dealin’

BEFORE you approach the counter to pay, find out who is in charge. Ask if the prices are negotiable. Keep in mind that the more you buy, the more willing they'll be to work with you. You never know unless you ask! As with most things in life, a pleasant attitude goes a long way for good future shopping karma. Even if you get turned down, you might have broken the ice for the next person.

3. Make New Friends

While you are shopping MAKE NEW FRIENDS. Become buddies with whoever is shopping next to you. Smile, be friendly and offer a positive surprise comment whenever the right moment strikes. Why?

If your shopping neighbor just swiped the top you just envisioned yourself going out to dinner in, a smile will go a long way. If your new top is now in her pile, casually mention to her that you would “love to try that on” when she is finished. With this now implanted in her brain, she should have no problem handing it over – if she even tries it on at all. The odds are in your favor as there are probably other things she wanted more anyway. Most people won’t care and are happy to oblige, but not if you are elbowing people in the ribs down the rack! (No, I have never done that.) This situation does come up quite often so express your gratitude thoroughly (lay it on thick) and consider it good shopping karma for her (remind her of this).

A sampling of the sample items available at Horizon Designer Sales (70-49 Austin Street, 718.261.1025)

J-Lo Studded Dress: $19 (retail $129.00)

J-Lo/Sweetface Sequin Strap Dress: $19 (retail $129.00)

Ben Sherman Button front Pintuck Sundress: $29 (retail $229.00)

Ben Sherman Shrug Sweater: $19 (retail $69.00)

Ben Sherman Shirt Dress: $29 (retail $178.00)

Ben Sherman Button Down Blouse: $19.00 (retail $89.00)

J-Lo Bustier Top: $10.00 (retail $79.00)

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