Designer Discount Shopping Sites

Members-only shopping sites offer big names, big savings.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Thread
    Designers are moving beyond the rack and online.

    Are you in the club?

    Lately it seems that no gathering of girlfriends is complete without somebody gushing about a new designer shopping site that’s got her seeing stars.  Stars like Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs and Vera Wang, that is, on sale for mere hours at a time at seriously deep discounts.

    Words like “addictive” are often tossed around with the names of these web-only retailers, offering up to 80 percent savings on high-end merchandise.  But there must be a catch, right?  You bet.

    We researched three of the most popular sites for info on membership, brands and more.  Read on for the designer discount lowdown:

    Beyond The Rack

    Membership to this “private shopping club” can be gained through an invitation from a friend or you can request a membership from the site on your own.  Beyond the Rack warns, however, that application acceptance is subject to delays.

    Be aware that you can’t just browse any old time.  Sales begin at a specified hour, each featuring one brand or designer.  Merchandise can only remain in your shopping cart for a limited number of minutes, so you’ve got to act pretty fast.  Once the sale is over, it’s gone for good.

    Featured Sales:  On the upcoming sale calendar, we spied an “Incredible Watch Blowout” with big-name watch brands at up to 80 percent off.  Also coming up, a sale on ladies’ clothing from labels like Hugo Boss and D&G teased savings of up to 60 percent off.

    Ideeli

    Also members-only, Ideeli touts “over 1 million members” on its site.  It’s free to join, but a small upgrade fee will allow you earlier access to sales and exclusive events.  As with Beyond The Rack, limited-time sales begin and end on the clock, so the shopping cart countdown and no-advanced-browsing also applies here.

    Ideeli calls attention to its “over 400” brand partners, and also seems to feature more home décor and home accessories than other sites.  Again, however, as sales are single-brand and are only listed a few days in advance, this could have been simply a matter of timing.

    Featured Sales:  Coming soon to Ideeli, a sale on DKNY Home products promised up to 40 percent off, and a 55 percent off sale on Lionel Handbags was also on the calendar.  Other future sales will feature Clyde & Co. and Rebecca Beeson.

    Gilt Groupe

    This collection of sites, co-founded by two friends (one a founding member of eBay), also includes Gilt Fuse and Gilt Man.  Modeled after NYC invitation-only sample sales, Gilt Groupe advertises up to 70 percent off retail on its designer goods.

    Limited time members-only sales last 36 hours and Gilt also provides designer “bios and reels” in advance of sales to give you an idea of what’s in store.  Many guys have become fans of Gilt Man, which features brands like Hugo Boss and Converse.

    Featured Sales:  While we couldn’t peek at upcoming sales on Gilt Groupe, we spotted names like Vera Wang Lavender Label, Heys Luggage and Calvin Klein Collection.

    Last but not least, a word to the wise:  Be sure and check each site’s individual return policy before you shop.  Often, only certain categories of purchases qualify for returns, and you may only be entitled to store credit in exchange.