Flash sales, private sales, members-only shopping clubs…. It seems as though every day there’s another new shopping site seducing you with promises of “exclusive” access to phenomenal discounts on everything from electronics to uberluxe designer labels. It’s easy to drown in the deluge of emails alerting you to the latest one-day sale, last-chance shopportunities, and upcoming events.The first crop of flash sale sites debuted in 2007, inviting members to participate in one or two-day online events where designer overstock was available at steep discounts. They were a revelation for the millions of women without access to a major fashion hub like NYC, where flash stores and sample sales have been popping up for years, providing those in the know with major designer steals. On the flip side, it’s easy to be lured into snapping up that ruffled micro-mini when the price has been slashed 80% and it’s the last one in your size. Not so thrilling when you realize it’s destined to hang unworn in the back of your closet for years. The key to reaping the benefits of these flash sales is limiting yourself to a manageable list of sites that you can count on to offer things that you need. Emphasis on need.
A little shopping savvy goes a very long way in the world of virtual flash sales. Strategize—know what you are looking for, have a spending limit in mind, and always find out what the return policy is before you buy; many of these sales are final.
Check out some of these standout sites for stylish mamis:
- Gilt Group • The OG of flash sales sites, Gilt Group has an excellent reputation and a crush of loyal followers because, in addition to their outstanding selection of designer goodies, they have great editorial content.
- Aviesta • This up-and-comer celebrates Latinas, offering deep discounts on designer clothes and accessories. Their membership includes the U.S., South America, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
- MyHabit • Amazon has been steadily expanding its online presence, and flash sales are no exception. It recently launched MyHabit, with a fabulous variety of designer duds for men, women, and children.
- Zulily • A particularly exciting new trend is the advent of retailers catering to babies, kids, and moms. Zulily has a fantastic selection of luxe labels for you and your children. An added bonus, they have a number of charitable partnerships and feature a blog. Socially conscious, lots of good info, and gorge merchandise. Definitely worth a look.
- The Mini Social • Another site catering to moms, babies, and kids, The Mini Social also gives generously to charities. Their sale events are a bit smaller, which may appeal to those of you who are easily overwhelmed by the abundance of options on the bigger sites.
- The Foundary • Hayneedle, the consortium of niche furniture retailers, now offers deals on a wide variety of contemporary housewares, furniture, and the occasional baby or pet item on The Foundary.