I travel around 34th street a lot, mostly because of the many stores I can go through. I notice there are a lot of stores that say “sample sale” or “wholesale only”. Which brings me to the question: what is the difference between a whole sale and a sample sale?
Now, while these are no-brainers to many people, for the longest time I was completely unfamiliar with these terms.
Going into one of these stores, you see a small amount of several items along with tags on each. Some items are wrapped together in a plastic covering, others are hanging separately on a beam against the wall. There is no music and the place over all feels slightly dingy but gives you the sense that you might find a deal here.
Wholesale is when stores buy large quantities of items from manufacturers and sells it in smaller bulks to retail stores. This is mainly used for smaller retail stores to get good quality items for cheap. If you go to shop here and don’t plan to buy in bulk, you should probably go elsewhere. However, some stores will sell individual pieces. Chances are though if it says “only wholesale” don’t bother.
Sample sale legally means:
“Any sample or model which is made part of the basis of the bargain creates an express warranty that the whole of the goods shall conform to the sample or model”. [UCC § 2-313(c)]
It used to be a term for when designers would sell pieces from their collection to show at retail stores at the end of a season. For the public, these items would sold at wholesale prices and would be limited in selection. However, now it has turned into more of a stock sale, where left over inventory is given to stores while being sold at a fraction of the price. Generally, there is only one type of size and they only take cash.
For a third type of sale (just to keep boggling your mind) there are warehouse sales. Recently, American Apparel had a warehouse sale, selling their items at crazy discounts. The main difference is that the items being sold are usually items that have been on the shelves and this event is similar to a final clearance. They usually, but not always, take credit or debit.
There has been an online movement for sample sales where there might be some membership authorization involved. Overall, the selection is less and items go very quick.
How to find one of these sales? Online you can do a search or if you know a friend/ family member in the field who can clue you in. Some places you can subscribe to them to get emails of events.
As for shopping at a sample sale there are some helpful tips here: http://www.thebudgetfashionista.com/archive/sample-sale-shopping-tips/.
For those of you want more savings on clothing, here is a student discount for Hillary Boutiques.