Sample Sales Is It Worth It?

You have to wake up at the crack of dawn and journey to the middle of downtown to the warehouse district and stand in a long line to get the chance to rummage through boxes and racks of clothing … So, are sample sales actually worth the hype? What can you get at a sample sale? Why are the prices so low?

I was recently invited to a We Love Fine / Mighty Fine sample sale in Downtown Los Angeles. The event was at 8am at the WLF warehouse. I took along my trusty friend Heidi and we were they for one main reason – in search of Star Trek themed clothing for costumes for our web series, Stalking LeVar (and obviously to scope it out for you and to see what all the hype is about). 

We noticed quickly that a lot of the people waiting in the almost 1 hour long line to get in on the action were actually current and former WLF employees. We had received the invite from a friend of Fashionably Nerdy who works for the company but we didn’t realize how closed off the event actually was. We arrived around 8:30am and to no surprise it was already a mad house when we got there.  Because of the the long line, once we were granted access to enter – there were hoarders as far as the eye can see…

Hoarders: These folks line up hours ahead of time to ambush, and they plan to grab anything worth grabbing within the first few minutes. Who would have guessed that an hour and a half later when we entered the building these folks would still be at it. They had staked a claim and made a home on a few boxes on the sides of the warehouse – hovering over their hundreds of finds (which is confusing because right next to them are piles of unclaimed items) if you come too close to their goods they quickly bite you with the words “EXCUSE ME, these are MINE!” (or other quick warrior sayings).


So, the choice is clear – come early and be a hoarder or come at a reasonable time and hope to find some diamonds in the rough.

It is holiday season so I understand that these highly discounted items may make awesome gifts – and maybe that’s why these people were hoarding because I know there is no way my closet could hold the amount of items these people were holding on to. Though, part of me (the sad and jaded part) believes that these people had the intention of turning a profit by reselling these items at near their face value. Either way the Ghostbusters knit sweaters, the Thor tank tops and Star Trek yoga pants I had been hoping to score were just out of reach in other savvy shopper’s tightly gripped sweaty hands… sigh…

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So, what else did I see? I saw lots of shirts – tons and tons of t-shirts, posters, children’s clothing, large sized men’s polo shirts. I also didn’t realize this sale would include so many other licenses that We Love Fine’s parent company, Mighty Fine has; like shirts for  Frozen, Random Beer, Mickey Mouse, and even Hello Kitty. I saw a lot of items from franchises I wasn’t interested in and I guess other people were not as interested either because they were still hanging on the racks and not in the hands of the hoarders.

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We ran into some friends that helped us understand the lay of the land, pointed us in the right direction or helped us find items we were looking for. Among these kind souls were former We Love Fine Social Media Maven, Morgan who scored the coveted Age of Fashion: Thor Tank designed by the fiercely talented Katie Elhoeffer. In fact I believe there were quit a few pieces that Katie designed that I wanted to find that couldn’t be found due to the hoarders. Also we ran into the always super helpful Victoria & Linz from Set To Stunning and Gold Bubble Clothing, I don’t think we would have found anything Star Trek if not for them.

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So, why are these items sold at such discounts… usually because they are trying to clear out inventory for new stock, minor defects, returns, legit samples sent to other companies that they only made a few of and didn’t end up using, etc. For example I found a super cute Pokemon screen printed very soft cotton blend cardigan, however both the screen print on the front and back were poor quality against the black fabric but would have looked amazing on a lighter fabric so it was probably an ink test or it didn’t sell because of the poor print.

I was surprised to find such wonderful things even just picking through the leftovers…
Here is a list of the finds that Heidi and I got and their original prices…

Dungeons & Dragons Map Scarf – We Love Fine $20
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Star Trek Logo Sweater – We Love Fine $48

Ghostbusters Spengler Romper – We Love Fine $78

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Star Trek TNG Red Tee – We Love Fine $25

Star Trek TNG Blue Tee – We Love Fine $25

Darth Vader Tapestry Dress (Think Geek Exclusive) – Mighty Fine $45

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Death Star Tee – Mighty Fine $25


Donatello TNMT V-Neck Tee with Mask – Mighty Fine $25

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Star Trek TNG Cardigan Gold – We Love Fine $48

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So, now you must be asking what the prices we paid were… I figured you would ask -well here is the price list…

I tried to find some presents for friends and my nephews however the sizes of everything I saw were either too small or waaaaay too big I was lucky to find things for me after digging and digging or just patiently waiting for hoarders to give up some of their haul.

So, was it worth it… No Doubt! For the small amount of time we spent there (a little under 2 hours) we got almost $400 worth of apparel for about $50 – you really can’t beat that, right?

So, you are asking how you get in on Sample Sales – the best and easiest way is to follow your favorite retailers on their social media accounts and check in often. I know Black Milk Clothing does sample sales and boy, now am I excited to go check those out!

Who else has sample sales? What are the best deals you have ever found on nerdy clothing?