Tricks and Traits, volume 2


Piggybacking on some tricks I blogged about, one of the greatest things that you can ever do when you shop for deals is to learn to build relationships and build them consistently.  The many times I hung out at Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole, and Pacific Place in downtown Seattle; and all the stores I frequented in Bellevue Square, Redmond Town Center, and Auburn Super Mall led me to meet many people behind the cash wraps who have helped me build networks upon networks that I possibly would never have imagined.  These networks provided me with a wealth of information and connections that opened my eyes to the retail world and how that world functions in the consumer industry.  To give you an example, if I didn’t check on the frequency of sales and updates on clothing in Banana or Kenneth Cole, I wouldn’t have met the store managers and district managers who helped me understand the business and clothing, specifically:

  1. The types and quality of clothing that typically goes on sale
  2. The types and quality of clothing that are being marketed heavily
  3. The types and quality of clothing that are not being marketed heavily
  4. Upcoming fashion trends, cuts, styles, and price guidelines
  5. What types, cuts, and quality of clothing that either stays in store or are shipped to Racks and Outlet Malls
  6. Featured events, sales, and markdowns, and where to find them
  7. Other general information, which includes basic information about their particular brand of clothing versus other products and brands, tailoring, etc.

Building upon these listed items, you have essentially a great handle on where to shop, when to shop, how much to pay for it (given the actual value of the clothing based on tailoring, cut, cloth, etc), and most of all, someone to give you a personal helping hand along the way.

More importantly, the relationships being established becomes more than knowledge of where to go shopping.  They serve as one of the foundations to which you can build upon as a source of knowledge, and is available to be an external resource on keeping up with trends, price values, and other factors that you think are valuable to you.

And what is more valuable than people giving you a plethora of informative advice?

Tricks and traits for shopping great deals, volume 1


Every now and then, I’ll share some tricks and techniques on how to get great deals for clothes and accessories. Finding great deals take some detective work and memory, especially if you are shopping in person versus online. I’ve come up with a handful of online sites where you can find quality clothes for all budget levels, and then we’ll discuss a few tricks to get you started.

  1. — one of my favorite places to shop. It is a free site that functions as “your own personal shopper” (as they mentioned in their web site), where you can sign up to receive deals online for a lot of brands, including Banana Republic, Nordstrom, Tom Ford, Bulgari, Cole Haan, Christian Dior, Burberry, and more. You check which brands and retailers you want to receive emails from, in which this site will email you deals that they have scoured based on your preferences. You can also choose the frequencies of your emails as well, which is fantastic. 2 THUMBS UP!
  2. — I also like this site for it’s overall quality value. Similar to, Bluefly is an online discount retailer of designer brands at discount prices.
  3. Zappos — A great shoe site.
  4. — Another great shoe site.
  5. Armani Exchange — Enough said!
  6. Saks Fifth Avenue
  7. Kenneth Cole
  8. Kenneth Cole – Reaction
  10. Banana Republic
  12. Nordstrom
  13. Brooks Brothers
  14. Macy’s

One trick that I have found helpful in finding great deals is to conduct comparison shopping. This means exactly what it says, but in this case, you are not just comparing for prices; rather, you are comparing for prices in relation to quality, value, style, cut, and so forth. You are conducting your own research on what you think is best for you based on these elements, with the underlying concept that your research is going to result in the best possible long-term value and investment for you money. You want the BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK.

Here’s a scenario: you are looking for a pair of brown cap-toe oxfords for work, and you found them in multiple places: Old Navy, Macy’s, Kenneth Cole, and so on. Which one would you choose and why? Do you pick the shoe from Old Navy, or the selections from Macy’s or Kenneth Cole? Are you always going to take the lowest price possible, or are you going to compare the actual value of the shoe based on the quality and investment value of that product? While the answers really depend on your shopping habits, budget, and personality (to name a few), again you should always think about the long-term value and investment of anything you buy.

Another “trick” that I have used that has helped me tremendously is consistently paying attention to which stores have the best sales and which stores have them consistently. Using comparison shopping as a model, you can find the stores and products that have sales and compare them to other products and stores that have the same, if not similar, product. Try visiting one of your favorite stores for a few months and see what products you find are on sale most often and which ones do not. I remember visiting the downtown Seattle Banana Republic store quite frequently after work, checking out which products are displayed, which ones would be on clearance, what sizes are more likely to be on clearance, and how often such products go on clearance. And oh, the many outfits I have bought for very cheap. The things you see and the knowledge you gain by paying attention in one store will pay off in another, and after that it’s a snowball effect from there. Your eyes are going to open to new things. Kind of like the Matrix, but less freaky LOL.

Trust me, it pays off quite well.