It was not long into my reselling journey when I heard about Nordstrom's final clearance store Last Chance located near Phoenix, Arizona. Known for near nothing deals on clothes, shoes, accessories, and home goods, items end up in this store for a variety of reasons. You will find a lot of the same item if they overproduced or overestimated the interest in the product. As well, a lot of one off items end up in the store due to Nordstrom's generous return policy. If the item is no longer on the floor, or is too worn to be sold in their Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack stores, they end up at Last Chance. I'd seen other people's amazing hauls from the store, but really had no idea of what to expect going into this experience. I thought I would share the good, the bad, and the ugly (!!) of my 3 hour experience there to hopefully help any other people decide if those deals are right for them! Keep scrolling to read!
Before The Store Even Opens
I knew this place gets busy (duh, great deals) and I was going on a Sunday so I was expecting a crowd. However, rolling up to the store 30 minutes before they open, I did not expect already to see a line of people wrapped around the building! The store is located in the basement area of an indoor shopping center, however they start lining people outside and around the building before they open. I would guess there were already at least 50 people waiting in line when we got there!
Once it was only a few minutes before opening, employees came out and sorted the people waiting into two lines, those who wanted to shop shoes first and those you who wanted to shop clothes first. They definitely had a system down to avoid chaos! I chose shoes because, well, I was just overwhelmed and this was the closest line to me ha. From there the employees led us single file down into the store, so far so good!
Similar to Goodwills in my area, all the items being sold at Last Chance have different color price tags. The day I was there, the sales they were having included 50% off all purple tags, and 80% off the purple tags on long dresses. Everyone swarmed that area when we entered, so there was barely anything left by the time I made my way to that area of the store. Most of the items I bought that day were purple tags, so there were definitely a lot to choose from. Honestly, I didn't pay more than $15 for one item, with my average item cost being around $9.
Outside of the purple tag items, 99% off the items I saw (all color tags) were priced SUPER low. I was pretty picky just because I am not a super big fan of retail arbitrage, but if you are purchasing for your own personal closet these deals can't be beat anywhere. I'm talking DVF wrap dresses for $30. I heard some women talking about how they are used to Last Chance having more discounts, so its possible there are days where more colors tags and items are discounted.
What I was not expecting was to find that most of the items in the store did not have original tags attached. It makes sense that they would do this to deter reselling, but wow that must take a lot of work. (There are even signs around the store forbidding reselling) However, I was still able to find a few pieces with the original designer tags attached. I was worried that maybe the cashiers would be on the lookout for this and remove them, but honestly they were in such a hurry to check people out they didn't even notice/care.
Another thing about the items that I was not expecting was how many were visibly worn, especially for the shoes. Most of the shoes had scuffs and wearing on the soles. I guess this speaks to Nordstrom's return policy. Even items that had original tags attached still had holes or pulls in the material. I recommend THOROUGHLY looking over piece of clothing you are looking to purchase for any irregularities. As far as the range in clothing brands and designers, while a lot of the items in the store are Nordstrom's lower end brands (Halogen, BP, Hinge, etc.) there was also still a very large amount of mid (Tory Burch, Kate Spade, DVF) to high end (Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Burberry, YSL, Chloe) to choose from.
The Other Customers
Ok, this is where everything gets a little nutty. Everything up to this point has sounded great, but you really need to be alert and keep your wits about you in this store because people are not here to leisurely shop. I've shopped a lot of sales and thrift stores in my lifetime, but none of those trips really prepared me for this place. The people are here to find the good deals, and find them before anyone else. Most of the common decency you would expect at a Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack will not be found here. People WILL push your cart out of their way. They will grab an item out of your cart if it is something they want. They will jump ahead of you on the rack to grab something right out of your hands. While I was looking through a rack of jeans an employee rolled out a rack full of down jackets, some of which I saw had the Moncler symbol on the arm. I beelined that direction and was only about a foot away when two people jumped in my way and made me stop while they grabbed EVERY SINGLE JACKET OFF THE RACK. I just stood there for a minute literally like :0
Another little interesting tid bit of info is that Last Chance only has a couple fitting rooms, so don't be surprised to come face to face with a topless woman squatted behind a clothing rack trying on shirts. Nothing to see here folks.
Like most Nordstrom Rack stores, the checkout counters are at the front of the store. After I was done shopping, I was surprised to find that the checkout line went from the counters at the front of the store down the middle of the store to the back, went along the backside of the store, and turned back up almost all the way to the front of the store. Pretty much a full upper case "U". But like how they wrangled us into the store at the beginning, the employees really have a handle on lines and keeping things as organized as possible. There were employees along the way that took off your hangers and security tags. As long as the line was, it probably only took me about 10-15 minutes to get to the front of the line.
Tips FOr Success
- Get there early to take advantage of the biggest deals of the day
- Bring a buddy along so they can watch your cart if you need to go to the bathrooms (which are outside of the store)
- Lay a big item over the top of your cart and your other items so no one takes them out
- While the racks having size sections, a lot of items are disorganized and out of place so I recommend going through all racks
- When you see a new rack being rolled out FOLLOW IT AND BE THERE FIRST
- Only water is allowed inside the store, but I definitely bring some because time moves at a different pace inside this store
- Keep a mental note of what items have the big security sensors on them and make sure they get taken off (one of them got left on one of my items)
- Wear a crossbody bag to allow maximum arm usage
- Dress comfy because I can assure you no is there to impress anybody (I think the opposite actually lol)
- Look over every single item CAREFULLY because so many items have holes or defects, and this store is no exchange/refund/return
Overall for me, I would come back in a heartbeat if I find myself in the area again. I may even make the 10 hour round trip just to come to this store again. Considering the brands I found (a lot of which I've never been able to find in a thrift store) it is the perfect situation for me because I absolutely live for the hunt of a good deal. But if you prefer the comfortable, leisurely shopping experience, and don't mind paying up for that, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. It was fun reliving this crazy experience with you, and if you have any questions or your own experiences with this store to share feel free to leave a comment below!
Happy Thursday all!
A couple of weeks back I shared the pros and cons of Poshmark and eBay for making personal purchases off of each respective platform. Different items are available at the best prices on each app so it is important to understand the details of each system. The same goes for selling! Whether you want to start a small business or just make some extra cash out of something you no longer wear, keep reading to learn more about each system and what to expect when selling!
-Only when I switched to thrifting and reselling full time did I start cross-listing my items over to Poshmark. I had bought a few items through Poshmark in the past, but never really saw it as a big platform for selling to a large audience. But honestly, in the past two months since going full time I have sold double the number of items on Poshmark than eBay and it is really my favorite site to sell through!
- NEVER any fees for listing (no matter how many items you have up for sale!), only the final fee when your item sells
- Buyer always pays for the USPS priority flat rate shipping, unless you are willing to provide discounted shipping (you pay 1/2 or all)
- Seller receives a priority flat rate shipping label (for boxes up to 5 lbs) directly from Poshmark, so packaging and shipping are super easy!
- Poshmark is a fun community of following other sellers and sharing items to shopping parties (usually themed, like "best in jeans" or "summer fun")
- Creating posts are easy because most of it is self-generated through a template
- Poshmark is much more strict on buyer returns, and will only allow returns if the buyer can prove the item description does not match the item -- plus buyers only have 72 hours to "accept" the item and request a return
- You can transfer the money earned from Poshmark directly to your bank account = no PayPal fees!
- There is a 20% sellers fee for each item sold, so anticipate Poshmark taking a big chunk of the selling price
- There is not yet an option to create drafts of the items you want to sell to post later
- Poshmark provides basic measures of success, but does not provide an indepth analysis (how many people view and click your items, your sales overtime, etc.)
- You do not receive payment for you item until after it is delivered AND the buyer has either "accepted" the item or 3 days pass (whichever comes first, but you are safe after 3 days from return requests) -- which means you could not see any money until up to a week after you ship your item
The Items That Sell Best For Me On Poshmark:
- Mid end womens clothing (Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Banana Republic) in the $15-25 price range
- Women's shoes
eBay is really the very first site that comes to mind when it comes to private selling and buying. It's where I started and I am grateful for its large platform and performance tools to grow as a seller!
- VERY large buyer base --171 million buyers!
- eBay provides in depth seller analysis to better understand how often your items are showing up in searches, how many clicks you get per view, your sales within a specified amount of time, etc
- eBay will only take a max of 10% as a seller fee from your item's sale price
- eBay offers mass editing (like a spreadsheet) of your items which you can sort and filter by different categories -- I use this tool often to audit categories, buying options, etc.
-Promotion options are great to hold a sale and bring attention to your store
- There are limits to how many free listings you have, despite whether your item sells or not (a personal eBay account allows 50 free listings a month before charging .30 cents per each additional listing)
- While eBay does have a program with the USPS to offer discounts on shipping, this system is much less efficient than Poshmark and can be way more expensive if you offer free or discount shipping because you either ship by the weight or an expensive flat rate
- eBay has a much more lenient return policy, and pushes on sellers to have a 60 day free returns option (aka seller pays for return shipping within 60 days no matter the reason for the return) and in the event that a buyer files for a return that is sketchy eBay 99% of the time will agree with the buyer
- As a seller you have to accept your money earned through PayPal, which costs additional fees on top of your seller fees
The Items That Sell Best For Me On eBay
- Men's dress clothes (slacks, blazer jackets, button up shirts
- Unique and/or vintage pieces
- High end designer clothing pieces
Hope this is helpful!
Also I'm excited to announce that I'm going to start offering reseller boxes very soon! If you are interested in trying out the resell game and don't have the time to source for yourself, I'll soon be selling mystery boxes of inventory with awesome brands (some NWT!) that you can profit off yourself! If this is something you are interested in, please let me know in the comments below or send me a message!
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