Found: (Exclusive) Online Shopping

By Laura Braden

At GOTG, we place a special premium on promoting stores, restaurants, events and people who live, work and play on Sacramento’s grid (see here, here, and here).

But every so often, we have to venture off-grid to let our readers know about great resources and finds.

A few weeks ago, a friend on the East Coast turned me on to exclusive, online shopping – three words that will always peak my attention.

She invited me to join an online boutique – called RueLaLa.com – which sold deeply discounted (40-80% off) clothing shoes, accessories, travel, wine and bedding from really well-known designers.  Sometimes a miss (Tommy Bahama bedding, really?), but more often than not a home run (Kay Unger suit for $95).  Game on.

After doing a little research, I found a number of similar companies so I decided to compile my list of favorites – and tips on how you can get in on the retail action.

Sign Me Up!

Even though they’re billed as “exclusive,” you can sign up for all of them online.  A few say you’re signing up to join their “waiting list,” but I’m not sure if they’re just going for the appearance of exclusivity or what, because I’ve never been denied “membership” – and the wait has always been a matter of days, not weeks.  If all else fails, email me at girlsonthegrid AT gmail DOT com, and I’ll invite you (gals with memberships can invite friends to join automatically).

You’ve Got Mail!

And once you’re signed up, sit back and get ready to have some fun!   Every morning, without fail, you’ll be emailed a variety sales for that day.  All of them arrive before 9amPT, thus giving the West a leg up on the competition since many East Coast folks are stuck in meetings/lunch around that time (they’ve started to compensate for that by providing blackberry and iPhone apps).

All of them tell you (a few days ahead of time) what sales are going to occur on which day, and like most good sales, the best items (and sizes) sell out QUICK (as in 15 minutes after the “store” opens) so pay attention and add your favorite brands to your calendars so you don’t miss out!

  • QUICK TIP:  All of them have weird return policies – make sure you check before you get carried away.  I had to learn that the hard way.  Luckily, it was an Alice+Olivia dress that retailed for $330, but I purchased it from RueLaLa for $75.  It was WAY too short so I turned around and sold it on eBay for $160 (I guess RueLaLa hasn’t quite made it to Nebraska yet).

My Top 4 Favorites:

Rue La La

  • Delivered daily at 8amPT.
  • Categories include: women’s, men’s, home decor/bedding, and travel.
  • They have a great mix of young/casual/party clothing across all genres (preppy, boho, modern, etc) from folks like Hale Bob, Alice+Olivia, and Juicy Couture.
  • Extra bonus: wine sales from vineyards like St. Supery!
Hale Bob Coral Print Stretch Silk Dress

Gilt Group

  • Delivered daily at 9amPT.
  • Categories include: women, children, home and gifts.  They’ve also launched a few “sub-sites”: Jetsetter (dedicated to travel, hotels, resorts, etc), Fuse (more affordable/younger version of Gilt) and Gilt Man.
  • Most high-end/sophisticated site with sales from folks like Marc Jacobs, Catherine Malandrino, Judith Lieber and Tocca.
  • Extra bonus: $25 credit for every friend you invite (that signs up and buys something).
Valentino - Sateen Illusion Bodice Dress

Ideeli

  • Delivered daily at 8amPT.
  • Categories: mostly women’s wear, shoes and accessories.
  • My least favorite of the four, but every now and then, it surprises me with amazing prices on ABS dresses or Kay Unger suits or BCBC shoes and bags.
  • Extra bonus:  You can buy a “front row membership,”  ($6-8/month) which gets you into the sales one hour earlier.
twenty8twelve Voile Romper (Sienna Miller's line)

HauteLook

  • Delivered daily at 8amPT.
  • Categories include: EVERYTHING – clothing, beauty, resorts, maternity, children’s, etc.  Amazingly diverse selection – great for buying gifts.
  • Extra bonus:  You get $10 every time a friend you invite makes their first purchase.
Momzee Kimono Sweater

EDITOR’s NOTE: What’d we miss?  Know of other amazing online/exclusive stores?  Let us know by leaving a comment below or by emailing girlsonthegrid AT gmail DOT com.

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2 Comments

  1. Anastasia says

    For the ladies with babies/ kids, new sites such as Totsy and Zuiliy are fun for baby clothes/ gear. Also, Billion Dollar Babes has great goods for mom and babies. Lastly, for the home decorators, OneKingsLane.com is a great site for home shopping.

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