Round-Up: Online Sample Sale Sites for the Lil' Ones January 22 2011

Shopping -- like real shopping, like rolling-around-like-a-pig-in-sh-in-Sephora shopping -- is just not something I can do much of these days. Cue the strings. For starters, when the weekend rolls around there is always too much official family/household stuff that needs to get checked off. Basic things, like laundry and straightening up, or getting the dogs bathed or buying groceries. Secondly, even if I have some time to hit up the mall, it is sooo NOT fun pushing around an antsy and grabby toddler in a stroller between tight clothes racks, or even worse through the home stores with tons of breakables. I don't mind taking the toddler to Target to buy essentials -- because its mindless, repetitive shopping that I can do in my sleep. But shopping where I actually have to think, or ponder even just a bit? Online, baby. After 9 p.m. Pour a glass of wine. Browse til you fall asleep on the couch or your baby cries at 11 p.m. to get her out of her crib -- whichever comes first.

I've been getting more and more into browsing the online sample sale sites -- especially the ones that sell children's clothing and products like Gilt, Zulily and Haute Look. It's like shopping in a boutique where everything is on sale. It's not overload or overwhelming -- it's targeted pickings for limited time, which I like because its fresh merchandise every time you check back. If you've never visited one of these sites, this New York Times article basically breaks down how these sample sales work:

The business model is simple: the sites buy mostly overstocked clothing and accessories from brand-name designers, then discount them deeply. Adrenaline-pumped shoppers rush to get the deals because the items are often gone in a few hours.
The sites try to recreate the rush of a warehouse sample sale, minus the trampling and shoving, but they borrow as much from the Home Shopping Network as they do from Saks Fifth Avenue. After shoppers add an item to their cart at Gilt, for example, they get a 10-minute countdown before they lose the item.

Here's a round-up of some sample sale sites that sell baby and children's clothes and products: ZulilyGilt GroupeTotsyHauteLook, and The  Mini Social. I'm pretty sure all of these sites require you to join by signing up and login every time you want to shop -- the trade-off for exclusivity, I suppose. A few of these, like Gilt and HauteLook also have iPhone apps, just in case you need shopping therapy at a moment's notice.

Like any children's boutique, these sites also tend to have a fair share of brands from abroad. I've seen a number of bilingual-inspired products. Oh, and lots of organic clothing and overall just great quality products.

Takes care of the three B's: Bueno, Bonito y (sort-of) Barato.