Saturday, July 16, 2011

Banjo & Matilda cashmere warehouse sale - Sydney

Today's retail excursion was at the Banjo & Matilda warehouse sale.

Commencing in Sydney's Surry Hills at 9 am, I arrived at 8 am, found convenient parking and went to pie face for a morning hot beverage and a sweet.

The sweet was required to give me the energy to elbow others out of the way so I could get the best cashmere bargains. Seems reasonable, in fact, its smart planning.

I then said a little prayer of thanks for the full glass frontage so I could spent time studying the layout with great concentration.

Cashmere pieces along the two long walls of the premises.

Cashmere pieces along 2 racks running down the centre of the room.

This piece was there in black, grey and natural. Long in the back to cover the bum - like that!

A massive basket of $50 pieces along the back wall. Yes! Cashmere at $50.
Turns out this basket had tops of various styles.
(pssttt, that's why I go to warehouse sales people)
There was even cashmere sleepwear and trackies - I think Mia Freedman was recently raving about the B&M cashmere trackies....

Register and mirrors along the back wall.
The Banjo & Matilda mascot cashmere ball was at the front window - cute.....

Hmmmm, well organised.
Well lit.
Prices were indicated by coloured tags. $50, $100, $200, & $300
Most of the loot was flagged at $50 & $100, some at $200 and a bit at $300. Hello? that's why I go to warehouse sales people.

I saw stuff I wanted on both the left wall and the right to be in 2 places at once....that was the challenge.....

At about 8.40 am, Belynda and Ben Macpherson arrive with baby Macpherson and they introduce themselves and are super friendly. That was nice. Frankly, if it was me, I would have been mad as hell that the woman took the last legal car parking spot in the vicinity.

In case you are not aware, Ben is Elle Macpherson's brother and understandably, Elle is photographed wearing B&M alot.

I am sure no one noticed that they had to prise me from clutching the door frame (so I could be first in) and remove my nose and body pressed against the glass (seriously, I was mentally categorising the stock and planning the order of priority of the loot). Belynda and Ben also had to get in & do that last bit of merchandising for the normal (non obsessive) customers.

Early start, early bird, worm

Here's where it gets delirious. Once they opened the door, they left it open....I could go in. It was about 8.45 am. Party time.

And there was no one nipping at my heels.
This meant I could grab the loot from the left wall and not have to worry that someone else was doing the same to the loot on the right challenge of being in 2 places at once was solved.

It is very rare that warehouse sales open their door early - too often they just arent organised enough, or are just plain terrified of the vultures at their door, but I'd say based on my personal experience, one in fifteen open early. [This statistic was determined by me while driving home & peeking over at my cashmere loot at every light stop.]

The die hard shoppers make sure they are there earlier than the official start time, to be at the head of the queue and maximise their early bird benefits.

The Plan

So what was I there to achieve?

Like any project, you need a plan.

1. Research

You need to have researched the brand to understand what they offer and their normal prices.
That way when you are presented with something at the sale, you know whether its truly a bargain or not. This can be done on line - in the early pre online days, you had to pound the pavement.

2. Wardrobe gaps

You need to know the general gaps in your closet (eg: work wear, smart casual, loungewear etc) with particular regard to whether this brand may be the type to fill these gaps.

3. Specific items

You need to know if there is any specific piece made by the brand that will make your wardrobe complete.

No 1 - expert
No 2 - I have no gaps
No 3 - Yes, their classic cashmere scarf (in black and navy) with the ribbing along the centre length

I hope no one noticed that of the answer to No 2 is a No, then you are lying if the answer to No 3 is a Yes.

Ode to the Breton top

I am a nutter for breton tops, you know, the nautical striped tops that Chanel used to wear.
And to top off my wardrobe obsessive compulsive behaviour, I tend to buy a thousand variations of simple pieces. You know, a black & white version, a navy & white version, a reverse stripe version, a wide stripe, a narrow stripe, a varying width stripe, a version with horn buttons on the shoulder, a version with gold buttons on the shoulder, buttons at the side seam, a boat neck, a crew neck, a scoop neck, a turtleneck, a mock turtle neck, a version with the stripes from the shoulders, a version with the stripes starting at the bust, etc etc. Then all the same in a red version....I kid you not. This is my wardrobe life. Please do not suggest I need to see a therapist. This works for me and has been working for many many years. So nick off.

This is merely one of the many Bretons that B&M had at the sale.

Having done my research, I knew B&M do loads of Bretons & I could see many styles through the glass, but their "white" is actually cream/off white.
Cream/off white are hospital colours for me.

I spoke to Belynda about this and she said its hard to get a white-white with cashmere as it involves alot of bleaching which isnt very eco friendly.
However they are working with a factory to find other (more eco friendly) means of getting white-whites.

So I stayed strong and said bye bye to all the striped pieces I had picked up - tops, cardis, a scarf...all TDF, but hospital colours for me.

TIP: Go into a sale & grab eveything in sight that even remotely interests you. You can discard later. Do not ponder & come back to grab it - it wont be there any more.

This means you need your hands free to collect loot and a bag that you can carry on your shoulder. Leave your shopping in the car. Give the kids to hubby to look after.

All these photos were taken around 9 am. I dont want to imagine how busy it would have gotten later than day, especially as the sun came out and it turned into a lovely day.

See the pink cashmere this lady is holding? It was the only really vivid colour....I grabbed it first and when I realised it was too small, passed it to her....see? another benefit of being first in.

see the coloured balls on the poster in the back?
thats a key of the price points green for $50, yellow for $100 etc.
Makes it east to figure out how much you are investing - thats a good thing.

Making friends - kindred spirits

Soon after my entry, a young girl walked in who had been second in the queue at the Jac+Jack Warehouse Sale (see post on 14 July 2011). We both seemed to like similar things. Thankfully she was about 4 sizes smaller than me otherwise I would have had to drug her and chop her up into little pieces so she wouldnt compete with me at future retail excursions.

Another one of my precious statistics is that out of about one in four sales I attend, someone recognises me from a previous sale.

This networking has benefits - you get to find out about other sales. Girls who love to shop, LOVE LOVE LOVE talking about shopping.

Was I successful?

Yup. There was only one of the classic black scarves with the centre ribbing. Only one. And I got it. None in navy.

I am convinced that if I hadnt picked it up in those first minutes, someone else would have.
The classic stuff in neutrals always goes first. Ditto anything really precious, handmade, truly special. These things are the "worms".

On the web the scarf is AU$299.
My price AU$100.
Happy dance.

Here it is from the web site, in an apricot that shows the ribbing.

The thing i like about the B&M scarf is its ends are finished well. It doesnt look just like a cast off was done (unlike other brands). There is a proper structured finishing. Looks so much lovelier than alot of other brands on the market.

The risk?

The risk at sales (any sale, even in store) is that you will buy stuff just because its cheap & you wont wear it because the colour is wrong, the fit is wrong or its just bad for your body shape.

Let is be said that I LOVE navy as much as I love black.

But my best navy is a dark navy and 99% of my navy stuff is dark.

Well, B&M had a bamboo (85%)/cashmere (15%) long scarf in a lighter navy & I bought it.

Bamboo gives it a lighter finer feel, probably more so than silk.

Note to self: Figure out if bamboo is washable

Here she the photo she looks too cobalt-y. In real life she is a bright navy.
The double X is the logo embroidered on one corner of each B&M piece.

I am rationalising this on the basis that it will work well in summer and it will work especially well with black (very French, non?)

It also had a double layer of a pointelle (teeny holes which form part of the knit) on each end - like I said above, the ends dont just look they are cast off plainly, but instead tend to have a special finish.

Price was AU$50.

These are the tags. Just like I am obsessed with packaging, I retain all tags too. They will go in my "tag" drawer which also has spare threads, spare buttons etc.

Note to self:
Ask Belynda why the B&M's dont come with thread swatches.
Note to self: Ask Belynda how the company name came about.

Total spend: AU$150

Level of happiness: Very very high

My new B&M babies are now playing with my other cashmere babies.

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