It used to be that shopping mall outlets were the place to go for bargain shopping on designer goods, but taking the trek outside the city to find such deals now seems silly since the explosion of online sale sites like Gilt and Hautelook. When all you need is access to a computer mouse and a credit card to go on a shopping spree, affordable luxury has never been this accessible. But even still, new online sale sites are popping up with new strategies to redefine the way we shop.
So attention deal hunters: we’ve compiled a list of the best of what’s out there right now.
The Basics: One of the newest kids on the block (they just launched on June 28). Current season jewelry by lesser known designers, all sold at true value as opposed to the high mark-up price tags you see at mass retailers. “We felt that no matter where we shopped, the value we got for each dollar spent on fashion jewelry was far lower than the value we got for money spent on apparel, handbags and shoes,” explained Daniella Yacobovsky on why her and her business partner Amy Jain co-founded the site.
Brands Carried: All jewelry is sold under the eight1six brand.
The Verdict: Features great quality, on trend pieces you might find at places like Topshop or J. Crew but at about one third of the price. Plus, if you want to return something, eight1six will not only give you all your money back, they’ll pay for shipping too!
The Basics: Launched December 2009 by Alexi Suvacioglu. Buy packages of bids to get access to sales on luxury merchandise all starting at $0. As each new bid gets placed, the item’s price increases by 2 cents and more time is added onto the auction. “Just recently, member savings have included a Louis Vuitton Eva Clutch for $36 (96% off retail), Christian Louboutin Platform Pumps for $19 (97% off retail), and a Gucci Medium Boston Tote for $178 (92% off retail),” Alexi told us.
Brands Carried: Mostly luxury brands like Tiffany, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Marc by Marc Jacobs.
The Verdict: Much like eBay, oohilove plays upon an addictive competitive element, but peristance is usually worth it in this case! Up to 90 percent off Christian Louboutin pumps yes please! But if you don’t have time to sit at your computer while auctions last, you can set up a personal bid assistant to do it for you.
The Basics: A flash sale site founded by Paul Hurley that allows you the option of paying an extra annual fee to become a “1st row member” which gives you early access to sales.
Brands Carried: A nice balance of higher end and lesser known fashion brands including mcq, D&G, Dallin Chase, Chloe, Leola Couture and Sweet Romeo plus merchandise from lifestyle and beauty brands as well.
The Verdict: The site is well laid out, easy to shop, and you get a $25 credit for every friend you invite who makes a purchase.
ONE KINGS LANE:
The Basics: Founded by home enthusiasts Susan Feldman and Alison Gelb, One Kings Lane is just like Gilt Groupe for home decor lovers, but there’s usually more than one item per style, so you don’t have to stress about buying immediately.
Brands Carried: Home goods galore from brands like DwellStudio, Traditions, Lisa Perry, Vellum, Henry Road
The Verdict: Pretty straightforward and easy to use. They add a nice touch with designer bios and content so you can learn home decor tips straight from the experts.
BILLION DOLLAR BABES:
The Basics: Your typical sale site, but in addition to following the flash sale model, Billion Dollar Babes also holds offline shopping events in major cities nationwide. Since it was started six years ago by Shelli-Anne Couch and Kate Nobelius, it’s definitely considered an innovator.
Brands Carried: They’ve featured a wide range of retailers American Apparel, Alice + Oliva, Chanel , DKNY, Charlotte Ronson, Vivienne Westwood, Miu Miu, and CC Skye.
The Verdict: The biggest attraction is probably the wide selection of popular brands that they carry and perhaps the branding on the homepage modeled by Julia Restoin Roitfeld.
The Basics: A flash sale site with many of the typical features, but this one tailors sales to your preferences and minimizes email overload by allowing you to pick and choose which sales you want to be notified about. Perhaps the site’s founder Lawrence Kosick learned a thing or two about the web in his former life as an exec at Yahoo.
Brands Carried: Everything from fashion brands like Meredith Wendell and Jessica McClintock to gadgets and lifestyle products like iPod docks and massage beds.
The Verdict: Truthfully, the site seems a bit unfocused with their random selection of merchandise (beverage vending machines and jeans?) but at least they allow you to select which sales you don’t want to hear about.
The Basics: A basic flash sale site that holds private sales lasting between 24 and 72 hours for men’s, women’s and children’s merchandise.
Brands Carried: Marc Jacobs, Alex Lane, Coach
The Verdict: Aesthetically and functionally, this sale site wouldn’t be our first choice for online shopping when compared to the other options out there plus, there are far fewer sales to choose from.
RUE LA LA:
The Basics: The invite-only site was founded by Ben Fischman and later bought by GCI Commerce Inc for a whopping $350 million. Why the hefty price? Well, it features a curated selection of fashion brands, lifestyle products, and even some travel destinations like spa getaways.
Brands Carried: Anything and everything from Betsey Johnson and Ernest Sewn apparel to Arietta wines to Chantal cookware and VIP access to James Beard Foundation events.
The Verdict: Known for great customer service, Rue La La is definitely a favorite amongst fashion lovers, but as opposed to most of the big flash sale sites, they only offer $10 credit every time you invite a friend who buys.