About That Lilly Warehouse Sale & Stephen Bonanno Sandals

Hello-Hello, it is a glorious Friday here at The Prepatorium, we hope you are enjoying warm breezes and sunshine at your Palace.

Today we have a follow-up on our quick preview of the Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse Sale last week.  Not only did Racked Philly do advance coverage of the event, London’s The Daily Mail covered the sale.

The Daily Mail June 7, 2013

The Daily Mail June 7, 2013

The Daily Mail piece borrowed heavily from a Racked story about the sale. The Racked article featured text and lots of wonderful photos from Julie Davis, below, the line waiting for the sale as of 5am Thursday morning, the day the Sale started.

Julie Davis/Racked Philly

Julie Davis/Racked Philly

I was confused by the Daily Mail story, it spoke about people camping out ahead of time, talking about info posted on Lilly’s site.

The site revealed that shoppers had been lining up outside the 240,000 square-foot venue in Oaks, Pennsylvania, since last Sunday so they could snap up the best bargains when doors opened Thursday.

Julie Davis/Racked Philly via The Daily Mail

Julie Davis/Racked Philly via The Daily Mail

The confusion comes because I thought camping out ahead of time was against Lilly’s “rules” for the Sale.

At any rate, Julie’s photos show that once inside there was a lot of merchandise available Thursday morning.

Julie Davis/Racked.com

Julie Davis/Racked.com

Things looked well-organized by item, size, etc.

Julie Davis/Racked Philly

Julie Davis/Racked Philly

And prices seemed clearly marked.

Julie Davis/Racked Philly

Julie Davis/Racked Philly

From the Daily Mail:

Dresses started from $79, marked down from $178 to $348, and wedged shoes were discounted from $198 to $99.

The section for ‘seconds’ really had people ‘going nuts’ as merchandise dropped as low as $10.

But not everyone was/is happy. Why not? The headline from another story about the sale should give you an idea.
Racked Philly

Racked Philly

Julie Davis also wrote this story, asking if those purchasing sale merchandise solely for the purpose of re-selling it have ruined things.  It is a solid follow-up piece, noting two primary themes among those responding to stories and posts online about the sale:

1) People were aghast that anyone would wait in line for five days for bargain bin clothing (“Nope, nope, nope. This makes me rashy and panicky just to think about,” said a commenter on Jezebel, who picked up on the story); and

2) Swarming eBayers are the devil for hoarding the event’s merch with the intention of resale, keeping the goods from Lilly’s “real” fans.
There were also multiple threads on Facebook on the topic. Some were happy with their experience at the sale, others were not.
Additionally, there was a third group of comments from those who prefer a return to former warehouse sale practices, like invitation-only shopping. Many reacted to photos like the one just below, noting that some customers were clearly not “Lilly lovers,” and were purchasing only for purposes of reselling.
Julie Davis/Racked Philly

Julie Davis/Racked Philly

Back to the follow-up story by Ms. Davis:

Multiple commenters left accounts of run-ins with resellers, including this tale of woe on our sister site: “Woman came out with 10 trash bags basically trashing Lilly saying they were dizzy and wanted to vomit with all the color of the horrible clothes, my friend asked why they bought so much and they said they were ebayers. My friend said it was horrible because she had to leave without getting in and the woman handed her a card saying you can buy from me I’ll only charge you 2 times the price I paid.”
There were also many who felt that Racked and other media “ruined the sale,” clearly not the case. The Lilly Pulitzer brand continues to generate enormous revenue for its corporate owner, Oxford Industries and the reality is that Oxford/Lilly is primarily interested in selling merchandise.  The company, and the Warehouse Sale, have moved (by design) beyond the more collegial days of yore.
Oxford Industries

Oxford Industries

As noted in a previous post, Lilly sells an awful lot of goods on the Rue La La flash sale site. I see more and more discounted Lilly inventory on Rue La La each month, not less. It is a far more cost-effective means for disposing of merchandise than renting and staffing a warehouse.  This is the first year in quite some time LP is limiting itself to only one warehouse sale, I wouldn’t be surprised if we continue to see it kept to one a year moving forward.
The online-only Endless Summer sale is due to be repeated this year. There was some sentiment expressed in comments on the Racked story suggesting this be the only type of sale in the future, below we share a sampling of those comments:
  • “I hope Lilly wises up and cancels the warehouse sale and makes it an online sale instead so we all get a fair shot at the goods.”
  • “I have to agree with the poster above, move the sale online and discontinue Warehouse Sales if it is not going to be fair to all.”
  • “They should can the Warehouse Sale and take those funds and put the money into the Online Sales and everyone will have a fair chance at the Lilly. Limiting items in online shopping carts can deter the Resellers.”
  • I”f Lilly corporate doesn’t want to lose their core customers and still wants to preserve their “cash cow” the smart move would be to have Rue La La handle their sales. Let the liquidation experts handle it.”
Back to the Racked Philly story:
Even if it can be successfully argued that resellers have put a damper on this event, we doubt Lilly Pulitzer will revert back to inviting VIP shoppers via mailer only. True, the mailer kept resellers at bay—but it also prevented the sale from becoming the cash cow that is today. And while signs posted around the warehouse noted that the brand reserved the right to limit shoppers’ purchases, but we never saw (or heard of) anyone being flagged. What do you think? Has the Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse Sale jumped the shark?
No one with whom I spoke could report any instances of Lilly limiting purchases.  What are your thoughts…? Have we moved beyond the days of the Warehouse Sale, would you prefer it all be moved online?
Our other tidbit today involves Stephen Bonanno, the sandal maker and seller.
Stephen Bonanno

Stephen Bonanno

All is not peace, love and happiness for the fabled company. Apparently the company was overwhelmed by the volume of orders received during its one-day 50th anniversary sale. Customers have been waiting almost five months for the sandals purchased at 50% off during the sale. Below, a graphic from the Stephen Bonanno website:



The company’s Facebook page is filled with posts from concerned/perturbed/irate customers. The company says the orders will be filled, more from WPEC-TV:

“Everything will be delivered, it’s just going to be delivered late,” said Lisa Simone, an employee of the sandal company and the owner’s fiancée.  Simone says the company was flooded with orders during that one-day sale with some women buying 8 or 9 pairs.

The company had a whopping 4,000 orders in just one day. Simone says in an average day they get 50 to 75 orders for sandals. She claims they were so overwhelmed they got behind.

For more information, the Bonanno Facebook page may be found here.

Until next time, may everyone enjoy a simply splendid weekend!


Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, Preppy People

14 responses to “About That Lilly Warehouse Sale & Stephen Bonanno Sandals

  1. Hello my dear, TPP! The Racked articles were an interesting read- thank you! I have had only one warehouse sale experience, and that was a Beretta (!) warehouse sale. A reseller (you could just tell they weren’t a shooter) grabbed clothes from me as I was reaching for them on a table. When I saw them again they were at the cash register with two carts full upland and driven shooting apparel. A few days later I checked eBay and sure enough, the vest they grabbed from me was listed for four times as much as the warehouse sale price.

    And poor SBS. I have a few posts on that thread. I ordered four pairs of sandals from the anniversary sale and have been given the run around by the company. I spoke with them as late as this afternoon and got new information that completely contradicts what I was told two weeks ago. I’ve not yet filed a complaint with my credit card company but I think I’m at the point where I’m going to have to. I’ve been a loyal SBS customer for YEARS (Jacks don’t fit me) and am sad to say that these were the last pairs I will ever purchase. I’m moving on to Palm Beach Sandals, which I think is run by Stephen’s ex-wife.

  2. The resellers bother me… Lilly is special!! 😦

  3. Anonymous

    im now in my 40s and worn Lilly all my life. I will retire it now. Warehouse sales and mass production have ruined it for me !!!!! I am sorry Mrs.P has died and so has her legacy

  4. Angela

    I’ve never expierianced a warehouse sale or had run ins with resellers but it sounds like they lack a soul. If I’m not willing to pay full price for something, I don’t need it that badly.

  5. I loved going to the sales when I lived locally. I never went on the first day so I didn’t really get to experience resellers. As someone who has no access to the sale now, it is frustrating seeing people buy the items and mark them up insane amounts on eBay. I think that Lilly has shied away from doing a permanent online sale section like other sites have because it “cheapens” the brand. I honestly think that they’ve cheapened the brand themselves. With how they do warehouse sales and having the merchandise float around eBay, etc. I know of people who think that Lilly isn’t worth it full price ever and will only buy it at the Warehouse sale. I think that Lilly would be much better off getting rid of the Warehouse sale but having a sale section online like most other clothing brands seem to.

    As far as Bonanno Sandals go, I was not able to purchase mine the day of the sale and was a little upset about it. Now 5 months later, I’m glad I couldn’t. I know so many people who ordered sandals and never got them and are upset. I read an article that talked about some legal troubles that Stephen Bonanno had and it mentioned him getting arrested in January. After reading that, I had almost wondered if that sale was just meant to be a quick way for him to raise the funds needed to make bail.

  6. Jen

    Hello! I’ve been going to the warehouse sale for years, and while resellers have made the experience a lot less fun, what is missing from the stories is how the merchandise has gone downhill. I went mid-day on Friday, I waited maybe 20 min to get in. However, all the small items I.e. scarves, wallets, picture frames, were all the sorority line! There was hardly anything that was just Lilly. Also, the quality of these items was way below what I have come to expect from Lilly. I’ll probably go again, as I am always able to find something cute. This year it was a beach bag. But, I was very disappointed this year. Going to one sale a year isn’t a great loss for Lilly lovers.

  7. mFw

    I ordered a pair of sbs and I received them maybe 2 weeks ago!! It took a while but was worth it!!

  8. Susan

    Ive always dreamed of going to a Lilly warehouse sale, but maybe I can give up the dream now.

    I sadly ordered three Bonannos (my first three pairs) during the sale using a prepaid giftcard I got for Christmas. Not sure I will be able to get the money back and am über disappointed.

  9. I used to go to the Lilly sale when it was in a small garage-type building and no one would show up…now it’s not worth my time to wait in the lines and then have to shop with many rude people. I just pay full price if I can’t live without it or wait for the online sale. I agree with the comments about making the warehouse sale online. The resellers are ridiculous.

    Thanks for the news on SBS! I ordered four pair at the sale in January and no one will return my emails or phone calls about when I can expect them. Their customer service is horrible on this “issue” they are having. They really need to send a 25% off coupon with all of these seriously delayed orders. With Jack Rogers doing monogrammed sandals now, they should be worried.

  10. Anonymous

    A coupon with my SBS order would be a slap in the face at this point- I’m never shopping with them again, and assuming I would (and providing a coupon for that occasion) is arrogance on their part. Awful businesspeople.

  11. I am sorry to hear about the woes at Stephen Bonanno but the sandals are a handmade, completely custom item and there just aren’t that many artisans working for him at this time. This said, they are worth waiting for. Compared to the Jack Rogers “Navajo”, a rip-off of the original Bonanno design, the Jack Rogers sandal had a man made sole which is in no way as comfortable as the Bonanno and cannot be re-soled, only re-heeled. Being man made, the sole is slippery when wet and becomes uncomfortable after long periods of walking. It also never conforms to the Owner’s particular foot either. Considering the relatively small price difference, I would rather have the Bonanno (and have 3 prs. ) any day. The best thing about the shop is they are literally only 2 miles from my home and are a excellent shoe repair shop too.

  12. Hey Princess!!!! I, too, ordered a pair of SBS sandals because I love the pair I have so much that i wanted another one! I have left voicemails, emails, and facebook messages, and no one would return my phone call. Finally, about a week ago, I was able to get a hold of someone at the PB Boutique who said my sandals were in the lacing process and should go out that Friday. Coincidentally, I received a phone call returning one of my several messages to SBS, and the lady at the factory said that I had been given an estimated time. I was like no, ummmm, I’ve never been called back until now speaking with you. She said my sandals should ship out on Friday which was this past Friday. So, we’ll see if they come or not. I ordered them in January. I get they were inundated with orders due to underestimating the power of social media. But what has upset me is the lack of communication from SBS to its customers. I think people would be a lot more understanding if you updated them and let them know what’s going on instead of not returning calls, messages, emails, etc.

  13. Scarlett

    The corporate LP are only interested in the bottom line – the ‘kerching’ of the till. They don’t care about the Real LP fans nor making it fair for all their Loyal Real customers by limiting buyers to the amounts they can purchase to help curb the rude, boorish re-sellers. I’ve seen some LP murfee scarves on ebay for the same price as a retail store ($118)and sometimes for $175!!! Whaaaaat? Who needs it that much to pay the extortionate amount that a re-seller is demanding? Just wait a while and a reasonably priced one will become available on e/b or at the store sales. Greed and avarice is what drives these unscrupulous re-sellers. Pushing, shoving, grabbing! If you tripped and fell, they’d probably step over you to get to the Lillys!

  14. Disappointing – but not surprising – about the LP warehouse sale. I did the online sale last year and was very pleasantly surprised. Waiting in huge lines and fighting with ebay resellers isn’t my idea of a good time, no matter what the savings.

    As to the Stephen Bonanno sandals…Unfortunately, this company is clearly having problems. I order 2 pairs (one monogrammed, one gold) on 1/23. Received one email response to my question in April from Cole, who said he was forwarding it to the factory. Since then, I’ve talked to several different folks: 1 said they didn’t have my shipping address ( ! ), 1 shop owner said they were very far behind (she was waiting on orders herself), 1 shop owner ‘helping’ at the factory told me my sandals were shipping out 5/31…you get the gist.

    All of us can understand a company being inundated with orders, and most of us would be willing to wait as long as we were kept up to date honestly. This has not been the case. I’ve only spoken with ONE person who order during the sale and actually received her order. She called a store EVERY DAY for THREE MONTHS! She also lives in the area, so popped in and checked on things frequently. Guess that’s what it takes?

    As for me…after the last run around, I contacted my credit card company and have been credited for the charge made in January. (Yes. Purchases were charged right away. Given the legal problems SB has had, of which I was unaware until I googled it, this should have been a big red flag!). My company only ‘researched’ this for a day – I’m afraid there have been more complaints of this type regarding SB sandals. Hate to see this company go downhill this way. Their sandals are wonderful, but without honest customer service…well, you don’t have much to go on! I’m going to be scouting around for another great option.

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