Friday, November 12, 2010

Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse Sale

As a seasoned veteran of the Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse sale I wanted to share some tips for those of you lucky enough to live in the Philadelphia area and can pop over for a bit... and for those of you who are so committed that you're TRAVELING to the sale!

I have to say that the LP WH Sale is one of my favorite events of the year.  Many, many of the Little Misses have made the trek and battled the lines to attend - whether they be Lilly Lovers like Little Misses Summertime and SFP, or sometimes Lilly Lovers, like Little Miss Dirty Martini.

I have found some of my favorite Lilly pieces at the Ware House sale over the the years.... including Lilly Beach Chairs (I'm STILL kicking myself for not buying the matching umbrella, and am SO jealous of Little Miss Summertime, who received it as a gift!).

The Warehouse sale is an opportunity for the company to move older merchandise, including what they call "Samples and Seconds."  

Samples and Seconds section is where you will find the best bargains.  And where you have the best chance of getting a punch in the nose.  I know because it almost happened to me at the Fall 2007 Sale (See Also #5).  Samples and Seconds include anything that has been returned and is out of season, things that have been damaged out, used on the runway, or a mock up was made but they were never produced.  Some things have minor damage - such as missing beading that can be repaired by a crafty lady.  Others are a bit more intense - like a swimsuit that was in a store window and is completely faded in front, but not at all in back.  Use your judgement.

So as a WH Sale Pro (well, I like to think so!), what are my tips??

1.  Wear a swimsuit.  No, I'm not kidding.  The changing area is just that - one.big.area.  Where you will be with all different women (and if they're dumb - the women's children).  You don't want to be traipsing around in your cutest "Sexy Little Things" thong and bra that day.  Wear a swimsuit - or at least undaroos that cover your whole tush.  I don't care how cute your heiner is.  I don't want to see that.  Thanks in advance.  

1.5 Also, some women think it is okay to just start changing in between clothes racks.  Let me tell you this is NOT okay.  Nor is it okay for you to change your children between clothes racks (See Also, #3).  I know the line for the Changing Area can get long.  BUT... the changing area is separate from the shopping area for a reason.  One is for changing. The other is for shopping.  

dreaming of gorgeous great big pink bags, full of samples!
2. Get there EARLY.  At least, if you want the best deals.  If you are bringing your children, please see #3.  During some sales, women have begun lining up the day before in order to obtain Number Cards from Lilly Pulitzer employees.  These Number Cards then guarantee you a great spot in the line the next morning.  Usually numbers are given out for the first 200 people only.  So if you're going the day before, get there early!

3.  If you are going early in the morning Do Not Bring Your Children.  It is just plain mean - to your kids AND to your fellow shoppers.  It's already super super busy in there.  And you've got a HUGE pink shopping bag.  And I do not want to have to worry about navigating around your stroller/diaperbag combination or watching my bag so as not to knock over the four year old who has wandered away from you.  If you must.must.must bring your child(ren) then I'd recommend doing so later in the afternoon, when the "rush" is gone.  

We have only brought Little Miss Graceful once, when she was 9.  It was a late afternoon, right after school let out but before work let out - and she was terribly overwhelmed and wanted to leave immediately.  And she was NINE.  I do not recommend the sale for anyone younger.

my fave find!
4.  Bring Friends and Make Friends.  Do NOT go it alone. These girls will be invaluable when it comes to the Changing Area - you may find your best deals here.  Once you're in the fitting room you can see what others have found - and are maybe casting off - and snatch it up to try on for yourself! That's how I found one of my favorite WH Finds... It was a "Second" and only $20, because the zipper was damaged.  Which was easily fixable with a safety pin, once I took it home.  Marked from $398.... to $20 for a gorgeous maxi dress!  Perfecto! 

5.  Have Some Class.  And be ready to do some Defensive Shopping in the Samples and Seconds section. Because this may happen to you...  I was shopping Samples and Seconds with Mama Can't Be Wrong, looking for this gorgeous red dress that Little Miss Dependable just  I didn't expect it to be there, but then I saw it.  I'm pretty sure the Blessed Mother shone her little beacon of love down on that dress just for me.  And I heard a Hallelujah, definitely.  

And just as I was pulling it off the rack some Seagull Woman ran over to the rack, put her arms on either end, and pulled every.single.piece of clothing off the rack and started stuffing it into her big pink bag.  

Coincidentally, she started stuffing my arm in there, as well because I didn't let go of the dress in my hand.  She was NOT pleased when I removed both my arm and the red dress I was still attached to.  Seagull Woman proceeded thank me for knocking items out of her bag (ummm, hello my ARM was in there), and to tell me to give her her dress back. Then attempted to grab it from me.  Not wanting to fight over a DRESS I let her know that she was welcome to everything else on that rack, but I was taking my dress, and put it in my bag.  

Looking for backup, Seagull Woman turned to the closest person and started to complain about "That Bitch who stole her dress."  The closest person just happened to be Mama Can't Be Wrong, who, of course was unimpressed with Seagull Woman's manners and told her so.

5.25  Have Some Class.  In another instance, a woman (probably Seagull Woman's Friend) knocked over a little girl (could not have been more than ten) and grabbed a sweater out of her hands.  In front of the girls mother.  Now, I love me some Lilly sweaters.  But seriously???

After that happened the Lilly Pulitzer team stepped in, made an announcement and let everyone know that Samples and Seconds section wasn't restocked for about two hours as punishment for this neanderthal's behavior - I know because Dependable and I stayed around that long, wishing and hoping.  While it was disappointing we definitely commended the team for calling attention to this tacky seagull behavior. 

5.5.  Oh, and did I mention... Have some Class.  You might think it goes without saying, but obviously, in the case of Seagull Woman and the neanderthal it does not.  Little Miss Dependable and I were at a sale during which the following announcement had to be made "Ladies, we love that you love our shoes.  We would also love you to pay for them.  So, to the women who are putting on our McKims, putting their old shoes back in the box, and wearing our McKims out the door, please stop doing that."  Read:  Women were stealing shoes.  I wish I were kidding.  

6.  Bring snacks and caffeine, especially if the line is long.  

7.  Make sure your purse is small - either a wristlet or a little backpack.  I know it's not the most fashionable, but I promise you, you will NOT be wanting your Louis Vuitton Never Full when you are lugging that beautiful big pink bag around the convention center. 

8.  Sign up for the mailing list to stay informed! I'm sure you're already on it.  But just in case... in the past they have announced special deals for the last day of the WH  - buy one get one free shoes, for example.  You will NOT want to miss that!! 

9.  SET A BUDGET. Go in knowing you will only spend a certain amount.  With all of the energy and excitement it is easy to leave the fitting room with wayyyy more than you anticipated. Especially when you think - wellll this dress is normally $278, I'm only getting it for $69.  Keep saying that, and you end up with a $1,500 bill at the register.  I've seen it happen.

the one that got away
I set myself a $250.00 limit and try to stay as close to that as possible.  I purchase primarily in the Samples and Seconds and the Shoes and the bags (such great deals!!).  I always allow for one "SPLURGE" item, too.  Last year it was my Lulu.  I kicked myself for not getting the Lulu in Fa La La Lilly for Fall '09.  But then at the sale... they had a gorgeous SOLID BLACK Lulu.  It was a bit more than I wanted to spend, at $89.  And I do own quite the closetfull of Little Black Dresses... But I had budgeted for a splurge, and this timeless piece was definitely it!

In addition to my budget, I also budget for gifts... picking up extra things for coworkers or friends for Christmas or birthdays.  You get awesome gifts for a fraction of the price!

So will I be seeing you at the sale?? I'd love to plan a little get together for anyone going, please let me know!

Do you have a favorite WH Sale Memory?? I can still remember Eagle's Eye Warehouse Sales that Mama Can't Be Wrong dragged us to when we were little.  And I know Little Mrs. Crafty Momma loooooves the Hartstrings Sales.  What's your favorite bargain sale??

24 little misses say...:

Firefly said...

As you stated Hartstrings are my favorites! THe last day of this weeks on is going on at Oaks which they have moved to from the VFC. I did not attend this weeks sale it being that I have all of Peanuts Christmas and Spring clothes from the Summer sale. My favorite find every were all the matcing dresses and skirts the girls wore for my sister wedding in Destin. $100 little girls pink and coral wide gingham for $10 a piece for priceless photos and memories. I really do enjoy the Lilly sale too and I love the way it is set up it makes the whole warehouse sale thing a little bit less chaotic, I do not need anything though and would like to use the money for Peanut's Birthday instead and our upcoming Disney trip. I hope you ladies all have a good time and find some real deals!

Megan said...

I can just picture some of those moments! Thanks for sharing. Unfortunately we don't have anything like that around here...except maybe the Vera Bradley sales up north! I'm sure some of the ladies go wild at that. Good luck! Can't wait to see what you come home with.

Diane said...

I can't wait for this! It will be my first warehouse sale and I'm glad to hear these tips.

Deviled Megs said...

I was borderline traumatized by my last LPWS. But the deals were soooooo worth it. Good luck!

Glitterista said...

That dress is a great find! I keep wanting to go, but it never seems to be good timing with school. Can't wait to hear about what you find this year! :)

A Big Little Life said...

Your story reminds me of the wedding dress shopping episode of friends. Glad you stood your ground!

Let The Tide Pull Your Dreams Ashore said...

Your recap is spot on. The Lilly warehouse sale is truly a lift changing experience!!!! Good thing you have 6 months until the next one because you will need that long to recover! I am hoping to make it again this year. For the record I am not one of the people that changes between the clothes racks. Here are some pics of what to expect…

Preppy Girl Meets World said...

I love the WH Sale. I'm super sad that I can't make it this year (it's right after I go back to Germany) because not only is it the Lilly sale, but that same day there is also an Alpha Sigma Alpha conference in the hotel that same day and oh how I wish I could attend.

Seagull woman just sounds like a witch. With a b. I have heard of some awful stories from there. I know of cases where people have bought stuff at the sale only to return it at the store for full price credit!

Julie said...

I was at that sale and Seagull Woman did the SAME THING TO ME. Was she the blonde? If so, that's the same chick who hip-checked me to get to a box of samples to dump in her bag. I love Lilly, but not enough to intentionally injure someone.

rachel said...

Thanks for the tips! My mom and I are going for the first time this year! Maybe we will see you there! We only live 2 hrs away but have somehow never gone! OOHH to the post above me -"preppy girl meets world"-I am in ASA and didn't know there was a conference there that weekend!! Wow I will have to check it out! :)

Southern Lilly Lover said...

Love this post! Lilly warehouse sales are so fun and the deals are amazing! But it is truly sad people are so rude; I've had people take things I was holding out in front of me to look at; well, luckily my husband was there and made her give it back to me.
I hope to be one of the first 200 to make it in this year; thus far I have never gotten to VFCC in time the day before to get a number but this year I am determined!!!
Hope you find some great deals (I sure hope I do!).

Gracie Beth said...

I hate that the warehouse sales are in PA, I wish they would do one down south because it is just too much to try to travel all the way there!

High Heeled Life said...

Little Miss ~ these are great tips!!! especially the bathingsuit one (creative)... These tips could so be applied to any Big Sale .. manners, grace, and courtesy do go a long way in these situations. Glad you got your arm back (and good for you to keep that dress secure in your grip).. Unfortunately I will not be ale to make it down from Canada ... but wait to read your post on your shopping adventure!!! xo HHL

Fashion Meets Food said...

wow that dress is a fabulous find!


living well said...

That sounds so insane but so fun!!! I wish I could go! Someday I'll finally make it to the WH sale!!

The Preppy Pre-Med said...

As much as I love it, that is exactly why I'm legit terrified of the sale. I always get trampled and maimed.
I'm 99.99% sure I'm going :)

Shelby said...

Oh my goodness! I wish I lived closer! I will have to go one time at least someday! :)

The 5 Bickies said...

So glad you got your arm and your DRESS back. Atrocious!
I will be going to the sale at some point although I am juggling my children's 1/2 days for conferences. Not the greatest week for conferences!!!!!

If you see me, please say HI and good luck!

Llama said...

HAHA! I love your little tips! Def leave the kiddies at home so you have the ability to change in between the racks! haha! I wish I lived closer!!

Corbett said...

Thank you for sharing the tips and adding the Don't bring your kids comment. Sadly I can not go this year ( I am in Boston), but I went two years ago and had an amazing time... To add, to the children comment, when I was there, a little girl about 6 or 7, dropped her gum out of her mouth, while I was trying on some amazing tortoise flats... before I could even jump, I had stepped in this girls gum. I let the staff know and apologized, they were totally understanding and knew it was not my fault at all! They even went and spoke to the child's mother! ( Then they left the store in embarassment) -I shoul dhave made them buy me shoes!

Anonymous said...

This will be my first event. Any other info you can provide would be great. Thanks Lyn

Guardian of Gimcracks/Oyster Girl said...

Loved your post. I have so many memories of the sale, especially waiting in line overnight to be first in the door. I know the numbered cards came about because people would jump the line at about 6AM; on one of those occasions I actually saw grown women throwing shoes at each other! Be aggressive and you will be fine.

TheSocialKnight said...

Oh wow. Stealing McKims? Super Classy.

But your story about the crazy woman taking the dress right out of your hand is hilarious.

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