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How to Get What You Want on & Other On-line Designer Sale Sites

January 24, 2011 - Linda Grasso

I skipped Neiman's First Call this year - and all the other good sales - for that matter. Instead, I decided I was going to cozy up with a good cup of joe and do my end of season sale shopping on-line. I specifically pinpointed the downtime-filled week between Christmas and New Year's and marked my calendar to be seated in front of the computer promptly at 9am - the kick off time for I was giddy with optimism at the bevy of deals I intended to get.  However, each time I hit "buy," I ended up frustrated and ultimately empty handed.  Despite my early start time, every item I wanted was already sold out. It happened exactly 5 times during the week (M-F) and each time I hit "buy" no later than 9:05.  What was I doing wrong I wondered?

I did join the "wait list" for each sold-out item, but I was never notified that anything became available.

Completely frustrated (hell hath no fury like an unsatisfied fashionista!), I shot an an email to Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, one of the founders of Gilt, who I'd met at the kick party for Gilt City this past fall. Specifically, I wanted to know what, if anything I was doing wrong, and how I might shop on Gilt with better results.    

Here are her suggestions:

  1. Take time before hand to figure out what designers’ threads will be available at the sale and then, do your homework. Knowing the unique sizing of each brand as well as their price points will allow for easy selecting when the sales go live.
  2. Sign in early to check out the lists of sales before they go live.
  3. Start shopping at the bottom of the page because most people start at the top.
  4. Plan ahead and use the “add to outlook” or “sync to ical” features to make sure you don’t miss your sale.
  5. Use the waitlist—sometimes someone will return something you really wanted.


Turns out I'm already doing 3 out of 5 of Alexandra's suggestions - but I will try the other two: basically starting from the bottom of the sale and browsing upwards and taking some time on-line and checking out the designer's goods before the sale so I can more quickly spot exactly what I want. I do think sizes 2-4 are tougher to get as my friends who wear 8-12 seem to have better luck at getting what they want.

I'm going to give it all another try after I pay off all the Christmas bills (mid-June I figure....) Let me know how these tips work out for you!


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i love these dress! thought i think not every mom could have it. yikes! i once tried to have this kind of size. lol

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