- Become a regular. I didn't have access to the brand I wanted to track down because it's not one that I buy frequently anymore. More importantly, I'm not known around the counters. I'm a frequent shopper and known on sight at the 2 closest Sephoras, closest SiJCP, Ulta, and Nordstrom by most of the staff. It also means I am usually able to browse in peace and take my time without being followed by overzealous SAs or loss prevention.
- Cultivate your relationships, and cultivate a variety of them. I have SAs for several key brands that I work with exclusively, and I frequently get tipped off before products are released. This is information that SAs share freely with their core customers because they know that we are likely to purchase the items. Furthermore, some brands allow pre-ordering or reservations for highly limited collections. Everyone has a different piece of information (ie management at a local Burberry boutique vs Nordstrom Burberry SAs).
- Don't be afraid to work the phone. I'll admit it; I'd rather just type behind a keyboard rather than call a store and talk to someone. However, this is the best way to build distant relationships, get information, and find products that aren't on websites. SAs generally don't mind answering a few questions or pulling a product for you. Here are a few real examples:
- I've actually bought four Burberry eyeshadow singles that weren't on the website (one on its way now) by calling counters directly. While Pale Barley was allegedly sold out everywhere, at least three counters had plenty of stock if you called!
- Although my local MAC counter was sold out of the items that I wanted from the Alluring Aquatic Collection, I only had to call three more places to locate the two pieces I was most interested in, and put the items on hold.
- Don't chase the shiny object. We all love LE items, and that type of packaging works well in the beauty world. Just keep in mind that there are usually dupes, so don't worry if you can't find it!
- Just say no to Ebay. I shake my head at the insane prices online. Don't make ebay buying a habit, and avoid the pricing wars. I also question the freshness of some items.
Those are my rules that have served me well. YMMV, but I wanted to share them with you. What are your personal rules?