I got what I wanted at the Isabel Marant for H&M launch and I didn’t camp out. I hadn’t shopped a high low designer collaboration since Missoni for Target, but having been through the trenches, I’ve learned a few hacks that can help you bag your most wanted list without sleeping on a sidewalk or resorting to violence / ebay.
1. Know before you go. Call (this won’t work at most locations, but it worked at Target last time) or go to the nearest store about an hour and a half to two hours after it opens. This is when the initial hoard will dissipate. Find the kindest, least sleep deprived faced employee you can find. Ask them how long the wait really is and which store has the most inventory. I used this tactic today and was directed from the 18th and 5th store to the 51st and 5th location and I only waited in line for 10 minutes when I got there. No bracelet, no problem.
2. Use the buddy system on and offline. Rather than going hand in hand to shop in person, have your partner in crime stay home or in office (whichever has a faster connection) to get into the sale online at launchtime. Begin communicating the game plan with your comrade while waiting to enter the sale, and be sure to compare notes on what the two (or three or four) of you are looking to land. I teamed up with my cousin in Chicago (she was in store during the Missoni mission) who had all important pages loaded and ready on H&M’s site minutes before go time. She started refreshing at 11AM CST and got in at 11:09 CST. The #1 item on her lust list was the hooded zipped sweater coat which sold out (in apparently less than nine minutes). I was able to grab it in her size and I’m shipping it to her tomorrow.
3. Keep your eyes on the prize. Research and identify exactly what you want before you get there and don’t get distracted. I did this for the boots. THE BOOTS. I looked around for shoe boxes while in line and made a beeline for them the moment I went in. I grabbed two different sizes. More on that later.
3. Make new friends. Be as kind and gracious as possible to the store’s employees. They are having a very trying day and deserve your most pleasant pleasantries. They can also be your greatest allies. The nicer you are to them, the more likely they are to go out of their way to help you. I saw many a shopper ushered out after the time limit today, but my sweet as pie behind was left to shop longer and was offered help and support (and seemingly sold out items before they were put back on the floor post fitting room frenzy).
4. Form a boundless clique. Keep showing your best sweetie pie side to your fellow shoppers. Of course you are a nicey by nature, but at these things, you can be sure to see some sweeties throwing bows and sites like Racked advising that “the weak will be crushed.” Never mistake kindness for weakness, for strength can be found in numbers. Instead, chat up chicks in line to get in and try on, while you shop, and in the fitting rooms and form an alliance with them. Compliment one of these girls on an item she has on. Hand her the extra boots you grabbed earlier when she mentions the pair she has on is too small. They are your perfect size, and she will give them to you. Hand the larger pair to chic ambiguously European woman you were waiting in line for the fitting room with earlier. Everyone gets what they want, and no one gets hurt.
After I spilled back out onto Fifth Avenue with my reusable Marant totes in tow, I was confronted with the horror of grabbing a cab on Fifth. That is, until I spotted my European ally struggling to raise her hand to hail with four overstuffed glory bags. I called out “Friend!” and we shared a cab downtown. She had torn her favorite coat amid Marant Mania, but it was a mere homage to one of the most serious hauls I’ve ever seen at the best high low collaboration to date. We both agreed that next time we will not wear any of our most prized possessions. I learned that her name is Sabrina, a jewelry and furniture designer at Property, and that two of those bags are for her daughter. She must have been on web duty.
Did you brave the crowds today, hit refresh or pass?