I’ve been wanting to write a piece about sample sales for a while now and I’m thrilled to finally share with you my secret to shopping for designer stuff on a budget. So what exactly are sample sales?
Sample sales are popup ‘stores’ set up by brands (usually lasting a maximum of 3 days) to get rid of excess and old stock, offering more than 70% off for near perfect goods. Unlike outlet/factory stores, sample sales are usually held in central London for just a few days and they’re also much cheaper.
My first sample sale experience was when I worked at Burberry. It was my first day on the job and it just so happened to be their first sample sale of the year so my colleagues took me to the sale during lunch. I was completely blown away. I thought working for the prestigious brand was the huge perk so imagine my delight when I found out I could stock up on everything Burberry at affordable prices. The sale was only open to staff back then and the prices got considerably higher at each new sale. The Burberry Prorsum bag below cost £250 and this was in 2008.
While working at Burberry, I discovered many other luxury brands also held sample sales and most were open to the public but finding out about them was the challenge. These sales were kept a secret unless you knew someone working at that company. It was like some kind of secret society club.
These days, thanks to social media and fashion bloggers, information about sample sales is a lot easier to find. Here’s a list of bloggers and brands that advertise sample sale dates and venues:
The Music Room venue hosts many of London’s biggest sample sales throughout the year and their website is regularly updated with upcoming events. Stella McCartney, Mulberry, Jimmy Choo and Reiss are just some of the big names to use The Music Room. There’s usually a £2 entrance fee that’s donated to charity.
Some brands have taken to Instagram to advertise their sample sales. Sophia Webster, Charlotte Olympia and the WhitePepper are just a few of the brands to use this platform. Follow your favourite brands and keep checking their accounts for updates.
Take a look at some of my shoe finds at Sophia Webster’s sample sale in March this year.