Last September I wrote the following article for Pinup Girl Style and wanted to share it with all of you as well…
As many of you already know, buying online can be a daunting task and at times very costly if you don’t know the Do’s & Don’ts. In recent years I have become a bit of an online shopping guru with a bunch of tricks up my sleeve to save time and money on all my purchases. It is very rare that I have to return anything and more often times than none, manage to score amazing deals for less than retail and save on costly international shipping. Now I will share these Tips & Tricks so you too can become a Online Shopping Guru!
Bargains are not always a good deal! – This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way as I went through my closet full of clothes still with tags attached. Just because you find an item on sale does not mean you should buy it! Yes, you heard right. If you tend to click “check out” on things just because they are “on sale” you are guilty of being a impulse bargain shopper. Think long and hard about it…would you buy this item if it were not on sale? If you know deep down the answer is no, then you are best to pass up this bargain for something you really want. Otherwise you will have a closet full of clothes that never get worn and realize you truly did not save money on that sale purchase.
Know your options - There are several retailers that carry PUG and other vintage repro clothing all over the world. If they carry PUG, you are supporting them even without buying direct from the designer. Finding local retailers is always a good option when you want to save on international shipping costs/duties/taxes or even have the chance to try things on before buying. Smaller retailers are known to provide impeccable customer service and ensure customer satisfaction every time.
Get to know the retailer/brand before you buy - The internet is the best tool around for you to make educated purchases. Before you buy, research! Check out online reviews, customer feedback on quality, sizing…you name it! There are an abundance of online resources to help you make the right purchase. This past January, I created a blog (Pin Up Persuasion) focused on detailed reviews about various vintage repro retailers, clothing, and more. There are definitely many more bloggers out there helping to share their wealth of knowledge with fellow shoppers.
Beware of the dreaded Shipping Charges - This is one of the biggest issues for International buyers since shipping is often more expensive than the purchase itself. Don’t fret, there are options available that you may not of known until now. First, PUG offers free shipping for purchases over $150 (domestic) and over $300 (International). If you can’t quite afford $300 all at once, there is definitely someone else in the same boat as you. Seek out other PUG customers in your area that are willing to combine orders, then everyone wins! The PUG community is pretty incredible and I know of so many ladies that combine their orders on a regular basis. Many of them, developing amazing friendships as a result…win/win. Another option is to buy from your local retailer, they are bound to offer affordable shipping options.
Duties/Taxes/Brokerage fees add up - Before you buy from a out of country retailer, know your countries import fees to avoid a nasty bill after the fact. For example, Canada only charges taxes on purchases from PUG…no duties since they are manufactured in the US but Fedex will tack on a brokerage fee ($10) to bring it across the border on your behalf. All these little “extras” add up fast. Make sure to look up your government purchase restrictions before you buy. This is another reason you may prefer to buy from a local retailers instead, then there are no surprises. If you live in Canada, stay away from retailers who ship via UPS. Why? UPS charges the most absurd “handling/brokerage” fees just to bring the parcel across the border which are above and beyond duties and taxes by the government.
P.S. There is a way to avoid the Fedex brokerage fee, I’ll share that if anyone is interested at a later time
New or Gently Used Clothing - The best deals are always on the PUG Swap & Sell Page on Facebook and Pinup Girl Style. Often times, these items are new with tags or very gently used at incredible prices. If you are looking for discontinued items, or just don’t have the budget to pay full price…this is the place to shop. I have done a few closet clean outs with tons of items brand new, never worn and always found new homes with fabulous buyers from all over the world. Be smart, use Paypal and keep all shipping receipts to ensure smooth transactions. It is a fine community and highly recommend it to everyone!
I probably could go on forever with more Tips & Tricks but these are definitely a good foundation to become a Online Shopping Guru. Always trust your gut and avoid impulse buys at all times. Your wallet will thank you later