[warning! this is a LONG post but it contains a ton of info and links]
I just have to ask -- does anyone pay full retail anymore?
I'm a long time discount hunter; I've stood in line for NYC sample sales, regularly visit TJMaxx/Daffy's/Century 21 and once endured a dozen cab rides around Hong Kong and Kowloon just to visit each Donna Karan factory outlet when I heard there was more than one!
But I schlepp no longer, of course, now that I've got an internet connection.
First there was searching designer labels on ebay. Then the odd discount code and web-only sales. And then in Nov. 2007 Gilt.com was born. Credited with being the first members-only online sample sale (or Flash Sale) site --- it was modeled after the French site Vente-Privee.com -- within six months there were a handful of competitors, like:
Ideeli.com -- offers fashion, accessories and travel and brilliantly partners with other entities like Bravo TV's "Launch My Line", Mercedes Benz NY Fashion Week and coming soon, The O Shop -- a section of the site that is curated by the experts at O, the Oprah Magazine. ["And if getting your hands on finds from O, the Oprah Magazine, wasn’t enticing enough," says their blog, "if you spend more than $200 at the O Shop, you’ll receive a $50 ideeli credit to spend anywhere on the site. You don’t have to rack up the $200 on the O Shop all in one day – you can keep returning while it’s open for 2 weeks to earn the credit."]
Swirl by DailyCandy ~ showcases just emerging fashion designers
DDPush.com ~ has an LA-centric slant on designers
gomattaGirls.com ~ wins for oddest marketing ploy: Mafia girlfriend chic!?
Ivorytrunk.com is the newest one having launched mid 2010 and it's offerings seem a tad higher-end then most of the others. A true fashionista find.
These sites all sell luxury and/or fashion goods at discounted, closeout pricing.
And of course a good trend begets more ---
Totsy.com for kidswear
Zuilily.com for babies and kids
OneKingsLane.com for housewares
SnappyTuna.com for kitchenware
Bulx.com for furniture and high-end home improvement items (!)
beautystory.com for beauty products
Reebonz.com for European fashion and furnishings (it's an overseas company yet they ship to US free but includes VAT in the checkout)
LuxuryHut.com (Canadian but has US distribution center so it's no matter)
Jetsetter.com for travel deals (a division of Gilt.com)
JackThreads.com for street/skate fashions (mostly male)
Biva.com offers mostly fragrances and accessories
BBOSPrivateSale.com which is the flash site for new and previously owned luxe items from Bag, Borrow or Steal (now called Avelle.com) which still offers "luxury goods for rent" -- a concept that has come and gone.
and the list goes on..........