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TS Talks to the CEO of Sample Sale Site Hautelook

If you’re not already familiar with sample sale site Hautelook, you’re in luck because the TalkingShopping team got a chance to chat with the genius behind Hautelook, CEO Adam Bernhard, and to say business is good would be an egregious understatement.  Business isn’t good, it’s thriving. Hautelook is increasing its membership by 30% each month and frequently sells out its designer sample sales completely.  Fashion lovers and bargain binners alike are fiending to snag a membership to the site, thirsting to score some of the best deals in the biz on items that at retail, during these tumultuous economic times, they wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.
The lowdown: TS0514RRTrenchHautelook.jpg
  • Launched in December of 2007 by CEO Adam Bernhard, Brett Markinson, and Konstantin Glasmacher.
  • Bernhard says, “I always keep in mind that we’ve got two customers: the brands and the shopper.  For the brands, we serve as not only a way to just clear their inventory, but as a marketing tool to engage new customers” adding that, “We allow the brand to control their own destiny.”
  • Offers off-market pricing on some of the most coveted clothing labels, accessories brands and beauty brands (a recent addition to the lineup) at discounts between 40% and 75% off.
  • To become a member, you must be invited by a friend (via email–your friend will get a $10 credit to the site if you sign up), get on the wait list by simply signing up, or find a VIP email referral to use, occasionally given out by Hautelook.
  • Each brand’s as sample sale lasts on the site for 24 to 48 hours, which in turn causes some of its members to obsessively check the site each morning so they’re abreast on what the day’s offerings are.
  • Items sell out quickly, and there’s only so much stock to go around.  If an item says “On Hold” that means that the last piece of inventory for that item is in someone’s shopping cart.  It will be released if the item has been in a member’s shopping cart for 10 minutes with no activity.
  • On any given day, there could be seven, sometimes even eight sales in motion to peruse, depending on how long each sale is and how many new sales commenced that day.
  • Think a current season (as opposed to last season’s leftovers) $230 Lauren Conrad maxi dress for $68, $198 Citizen jeans for $110, coveted $89 Go Smile whitening systems for just $30 and a $495 Robert Rodriguez trench for $149.
  • Basically, If it were a brick-and-mortar establishment, lines would form outside in the early morning hours (even in a snow storm or pouring rain) and wrap around the building, with a subsequent mass of clothes flying in every direction, possibly a little hair pulling and bow throwing.  After all, sample sale shopping is practically a contact sport.

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