Not one of these came from any of my local stores. They were shipped from a location out of state! If you want to know how to shop outlets not in your area, or how to score deals when you do go…read on!
“I never find anything good when I go outlet shopping.” This is one thing I hear over and over. Not only outlet malls but stores like Nordstrom Rack, Last Call, Off 5th, etc. If this is your experience there are a few things to change that luck. When I first started outlet shopping I didn’t find much. I then started to really pay attention to how outlets work and when new arrivals come in. Now, not all stores and locations are created equal. If you live somewhere that doesn’t get designer items it can be harder, but not impossible. I know not everyone can visit as often as I do, so read on how to score these deals when you can’t visit, or increase your odds when you do go. Here is how I shop and navigate outlets and discount stores:
- The more you go the more you find. Simple, but it works! It’s a numbers games. The more often you go the more you find. If I only went once every 2-3 months I would have missed thousands of items that have come and gone in between. Really great items at great prices don’t sit on the shelves long, if they ever hit the shelves at all.
- Don’t hit the shelves at all? Yes, sometimes highly coveted items never get on the floor because sales associates are texting their favorite clients as they unbox. That is who I strive to be and building relationships is key. I want those employees to think of me as they are unboxing. I know I’m next level crazy, but I’m on a first name basis with many employees in each store. Hahaha. I walk in stores and they say “Hi Stacie”, that is where you want to be. Being kind, not pushy, and patient goes a long way. They have tough jobs in retail and deal with a lot of not nice people. Be kind and easy to work with and they will help you out. You don’t need to live close to these stores to form these relationships. I work with sales associates from stores all over the country, and the majority I have never met. We have a texting relationship. Get their numbers to text and get on their email list about sales. If you want to know how to find sales associates here is a post I wrote about it. Your life will become so much easier when you are sitting at home and a sales associate text you a picture of Louboutin’s in your size for $270. A quick text back and they are yours. Easy Peasy! You need to respond quick, like real quick! Most SA’s have my credit card and shipping info in their system, so all it takes is a yes via text, and they are on their way.
- Days, times, and months are not all created equal. Most shipments come in during mid-week. Ask, they will tell you when most shipments come in. Some stores get new items a few times a week and some once a week or less. I have asked all the stores when they get most of their shipments. Typically, these days are Tues-Thur for my locations. These are my favorites days to go. Items have been replenished and less shoppers means more chance of snagging something good. I never shop on weekends or Mondays typically. All the items that have been stocked all week have been purchased by Friday and Saturday morning shoppers. At my outlets you can’t even get a parking spot on the weekend. Mid-week I pull up with front row spots. I like to be there when they open. I feel mornings are best and most organized. They have stocked and prepped for the day. Go before the lunch time buyers. They will swoop in and take the good stuff. Haha. I usually start when they open and out before noon. I know not everyone can go during the day because of work, but mid-week evenings are better than weekends. There are better months than others as well, based on sales ending in department stores and new shipments to outlets. There are 2 designer sale times a year in full line stores. May-July and Nov-Jan. The months following the end of these sales are the best time to go. They get the most amount of new designer items in. February and August get large shipments of amazing designer items that were either late sale returns, or didn’t sell during the sale in full line stores. During these months I visit a lot checking for new items.
- When you don’t live near outlets or stores that carry these items it’s going to take some work and time. Again, building relationships with employees will make it a million times easier. In the case with Last Call, Barney’s Warehouse, and Saks off 5th there are select stores that get designer items. Typically, these are the stores in outlet malls or near major cities. This will work for specific designer outlets like Gucci, Saint Laurent, Jimmy Choo etc. as well. Start calling these stores and asking to speak to someone about designer shoes/bags. Call during non-busy times like right when they open on a weekday. Ask them if they could please send you pictures of items they have, when they have time. If they say no call back another day. Not all SA’s are willing to help. Keep calling until you find one that is willing to send you pictures. Building these relationships before sales start is key. If you try to call only during sale times when they are slammed you won’t get very far. If they don’t know who you are they are less likely to help when they are busy during sales. If you are a client and have bought from them before they are way more likely to help. Once you have bought a few things they will start to take you serious as a client. Eventually, they will text/email when sales are going to happen or new items arrive. Right before sales start I always reach out and see if they can send pics of what might be going on sale, or if they can keep an eye out for my size shoe. Ask if they can hold or pre-sell the items, some stores do. For example, if I know a sale is starting the next day I will ask for some pictures of what they have. I then ask if they can pre-sell and ship the day the sale starts. This typically requires giving credit cad info before hand. Some will hold, charge once the sale starts, and then ship. Not all do it, but keeping looking for sales associates until you have a good one that will. This takes time and does not happen overnight. If you are willing to put the time in, it will pay off.
Finding amazing deals on a consistent basis is not about luck its about work!