Saturday, April 12, 2014

Boden Sample Warehouse Sale

Today I had the pleasure of attending the Boden sample/warehouse sale at the Philadelphia Expo Center located in Oaks, Pennsylvania. I have had a love affair with Boden ever since I bought my first coat from them about 4 years ago. The quality of their clothing and uniqueness of style, and fabric has had me hooked ever since.

The sale was scheduled from 10 AM to 4 PM, so I arrived at approximately 8:15, and there was already a line formed outside of the doors. Many people in the beginning of the line were sitting in folding chairs, and appeared to have been camped out for quite a while. A few had metal foldup shopping carts, and one woman brought a full length mirror (more on that later). I went alone and was lucky enough to be in line next to a woman who had attended the sale 3 or 4 times before. She was very helpful telling me how the sale was set up, and some of the deals she had gotten at past sales.

As it got close to 9AM (1 hour to go) a man came around pushing a cart and handing out blank Boden notepads to everyone in line. He was also selling reusable Boden shopping bags for $4.00 each. Word of advice if you are attending the sale bring a few bags to carry your items around in.

At precisely 10 AM the doors opened and I got inside with the first group of shoppers (turns out I was number 80 in line). The warehouse is huge and items are grouped on tables according to department and than size. Mini Boden was the first table I saw and it was mobbed with shoppers. I was on a mission for coats more than anything and was told there were none within the first 5 minutes of entering. They also had a table for Men's clothing, shoes, and Johnnie B (tweens). I headed right to the back tables for the Women's fashions. The clothes were on large tables grouped according to size (4/6, 8/10 etc.) For the most part the sizes were on the correct tables, and everything was mixed together (shirts, skirts, dresses, swimsuits and some jackets). There was also a sales person stationed at every table I guess to avoid total chaos and keep items from falling on the floor. The strategy was if you liked something to grab it and stash it in your bag and sort later. Probably 75% of the items were Fall/Winter with Spring/Summer mixed in. I also recognized some styles I had wanted from last Summer. All of the items were new with tags, and some were still in their plastic bags not yet opened.

After stuffing 2 bags I proceeded to the dressing room which is actually a community changing area behind black curtains. It was crowded but I managed to find a little corner to set up shop! I thought ahead and wore drawstring pants, slip on shoes, and a V neck sweater. Easy on and off without total exposure. Many of the women had leggings and cami tops that they could slip clothes right over without undressing. Mirrors were scarce and extremely distorted making it difficult to get a really good look at the fit. Everyone was very patient and waited their turn for the mirror.After trying on several items a sales associate came around with a big cart collecting "discards" to return to the sale tables. This worked well for a while but then a huge discard pile accumulated in the "dressing room" and everyone started shopping the discard pile. I found lots of great stuff to try on from that pile and never had to leave the changing area.

After I had my pile sorted I went back out to the tables to do one more round of looking before checking out. There were many items I had not seen the first time around due to the constant replenishing of stock. After one more trip to the changing area (and one more go at the discard pile which was now huge) I was ready to check out.

I probably waited in line about 30 minutes and they take all forms of payment. The checkout was very well organized and the line moved quickly. While in line I walked by the shoe table that was pretty well picked over. I think the price of the shoes (and boots which I saw none of) were $50.00.

When I got outside I felt drained and elated all at the same time. I think I spent 3 hours looking and trying on clothes. Everything I thought I liked I tried on a second time to make sure I really liked/wanted it, and not just buying because of the great bargains.

So what did I get? 6 dresses (40.00 each), 2 blouses (25.00 each), and 3 skirts (30.00 each). All of the items are priced according to category, so any dress is $40.00, and any bottom (skirt, or pant) is $30.00. Coats and jackets were $50.00. I think the sale is held twice a year, so I am definitely looking forward to the next one. If you like Boden and have the patience I highly recommend it!