If you are a NYC sample sale veteran you know Hermes decided to relocate their annual NY sale. For the first time the Windy City had a chance to shop Hermes at a discount. A few months back, I went on a weekend getaway to shop their sale in Chicago. This week, Hermes hosted their bi-annual winter sale in Paris. It seems like the Paris sale is getting to be as bad as the NY one with ridiculous long waits and resellers hoarding. Read on to see how my Chicago experience differed.
I've shopped 3 NYC Hermes sales and every year the experience was worse than the previous. The Chicago sale opened Wednesday to VIP, Thursday to the public, and Friday was the day I shopped. Coming from NY, I did not know what to expect in Chicago, but being a NYC sample sale expert, I took some cues from the NYC sample sale playbook. I didn't think there would be people lining up the night before, but played it safe and lined up 3 hours prior to opening. It was a great decision as I was third on line!
In front of me were a mother and daughter who had driven an hour for the sale. Behind me was a couple who had flown in for the sale. The mother-daughter duo told us that they attended the preview and came back to shop again, while the couple had shopped the sale the day before and were told that new merchandise arrives daily so they came back as well. We waited a few hours and obviously became fast friends. They told me about their previous shopping experience at this sale. They described it as "being in the store," and "not stressful" and claimed that it "was such a pleasant experience we've all returned" I got the details of the sale layout and merchandise stock and pricing and had time to strategize! The daughter told me that the jewelry is in a sectioned off area with a one in, one out policy, so I should look there first.
The line was growing longer and camaraderie ensued. An older woman went to buy donuts and brought a box back for the line! People were sharing the fold up chairs they brought. An hour before the opening a truck drove up; apparently more items had arrived. I conversed with another woman who was attending the Hermes sale for the first time. A while later I overheard her on the phone "...If I want to spend a couple of thousands dollars today that's what I'll do!"
Doors opened promptly at 11. We were handed clear plastic tote bags as we entered. This was more convenient than the brown paper bags given at Soiffer Haskin. I followed the mother-daughter duo to the jewelry section. The selection was amazing! I've never seen this selection at the NYC sale. Here there were click clacks, printed, calache, CDC and leathers! Both gold and palladium hardware were available in variety of sizes. The limit on jewelry was 6 pieces per person (2 of those 6 could be Clic Clacs). I saw lots of women bringing their partner so they could get double the amount. There were some necklaces and earrings as well. All jewelry was 50% off.
Clothing racks with apparel for both women and men were next to the jewelry line but no one was pursuing the racks. This section had the highest discount with 60% off retail. Everything else at the sale was 50% off. Sadly there were no bags, wallets, china, belts, or ties.
Scarves were constantly being replenished. Styles included maxi twillys, 70cm, 90cm, and 140cm. When I was checking the cashmere shawls another shopper told me to be careful and inspect each one because she found lots of pulls. Scarves were limited to 7 per shopper and 2 of those could be cashmere. The footwear area was spacious and staff were helpful and ready to check the curtained off back stock for more sizes/colors. Shoe limit was 5 pairs. There was no line to check out. Unfortunately photos were strictly forbidden.
Surprisingly this was an amazingly pleasant experience. While waiting for my Uber I chatted with an employee on his smoke break. He told me that the company has no plans of returning the sale to NY, and instead, Corporate has decided to give other states an opportunity to shop the Hermes sale. Dates haven't been announced for the next sale in the US, but if you're planning a summer trip to Europe, mark your calendar. The Hermes sale returns to Paris on the 27th and 28th of June.