The Warehouse Sale (WHS- we Lilly Lovers also love our abbreviations) takes place in King of Prussia (KOP), PA (Pennsylvania (lol)). About a month ago, my mom said to me, what do you want to do for your birthday? (June 12th) Do you want to go to lunch? Or meet for dinner? I said, Mom, I want to go to KOP for the LP WHS (Mom also loves abbreviations.) Mom thought about this for about a week and then said yes, we should go. Part of her reasoning was that we went to the Vera Bradley WHS last year in Fort Wayne, IN, which is way farther than PA- we were in KY so we were kind of already halfway there, but it was still just as long a drive. Her opinion is, this is something we'll always want to do and probably wish we had, so we may as well just do it. If we don't like it, well, we've done it once, and we don't have to wonder. So we did.
The sale started on Thursday June 14th at 5am. We're not 5am people, but all the same, we drove down to KOP, leaving on Wednesday the 13th at 2:20pm. I snacked on a delicious birthday cupcake along the way (from the bakery next to Hall's in WH, I need to go there again!)
We arrived after 4.5 hours with minimal traffic at the Homewood Suites right near the Valley Forge national historic site (mom was like, oh I know where we are! I've been on this road before!). This is the hotel LP recommended and they even had a discounted rate, so I, in my Creme Fraiche Worth shift, fully expected to see some other Lilly lovers around- alas, not a one! Our plan was to unload the car, drive to KOP to visit the KOP Lilly store, go get dinner at a restaurant near there that a few people recommended, and then drive by the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center so we'd know where the sale was and how to get there/how long it'd take us. But when we checked in, we smelled tasty bbq... and the guy at the front desk said, we serve dinner Monday through Thursday, and tonight's dinner is "Backyard BBQ", it's available until 7:30. So we looked over in the food service area of the lobby.... and agreed it made much more sense to eat a free dinner here and more importantly, save time for shopping. So we had a quick, decent and free dinner, and then went immediately to the KOP mall. It's a big mall ("big" is an understatement, but I hate malls so we really avoided all other parts of it) so I called up the KOP store and asked where they were- right next to Nordstroms, which is where we were when I called. Perfect! We entered the mall and saw the Lilly store (Westfarms girls: it was basically where Harry & David is if you walk out of Nordstroms at Westfarms). I approached the Lilly store.
These are the chandeliers in the dressing room area. We had one girl helping us who was super nice, and she said they started out with one and then gradually added more. She's a teacher who has worked there part time since she graduated college in 2007, she said she works just enough hours to keep her in Lilly. Smart girl!
All the dressing rooms are decorated differently. I was in the Philadelphia Room, with handpainted scenes from the city.
Sailor's Patch Worth, size 10. I'm definitely getting this eventually, I just can't decide what print!
This was the bathroom!
Then we were off to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, to figure out where it was! We left the mall just before 9:30pm.
The road to the expo center was riddled with these cute "Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse Sale" signs. You know I wanted to take one home... but I didn't.
What we found when we arrived at 9:30 is something I regret not photographing: about 100 people, mostly women, camped out in their Lilly pjs with their Lilly coolers and Lilly thermal cups, already lined up for the sale. At 9:30pm for a sale that opened at 5am. Someone at the store said people started lining up on Monday... I'm not sure I believe that. At first I thought they were crazy, then I thought, well.... get together with your friends and make an adventure out of it, I guess it'd be pretty fun! Then in the morning as I was in the shower I thought: ....where do they go to the bathroom? So I decided I wouldn't be interested in camping out. I put off showering til later, but...
Then we went back to the hotel, and had another adventure. I was all set to go to bed early so I could get up early, be downstairs in the lobby when breakfast opened at 6am, and we could get to the sale at 6:30. Ha, I should have known... we were both too excited to go to bed until 11:30. And when we did, mom noticed some sort of winged bug between the beds. Carpenter ants! We looked all over and there was a mini colony behind the nightstand between the beds. Fortunately, mom always travels with Raid (remnant from her time in KY, perhaps, where there are far more icky bugs than in New England), so we sprayed those mofos and settled in. I always read a chapter before going to bed, so I did that, then looked at my pillow and saw an ant on it. Gross! So that did me in. Our room was hot but I was so terrified by the thought of a carpenter ant flying into my mouth or nesting in my hair while I slept that I couldn't help but bury myself in the covers. I finally fell asleep at 3am, only to have my alarm go off at 5. Sigh. Well, pure adrenaline can carry me through a sale like this, so no matter.
We arrived at the sale just after 7am. We got a good parking space, near the front, didn't see a huge number of cars or anyone waiting outside like they'd been the night before, so we thought awesome, we're between the mad rushes so we can walk right in!
We waited about an hour and 20 minutes, but we talked a bit to the woman behind us, who lives in KOP and was waiting for her friends to show up. We also talked to the women behind her, who told very un-Lilly like stories so I was glad when they started talking to the people behind them- buying things at the WHS and selling them for full price to people who were "too rich and dumb to know the difference". Nice.
Someone recommended not wearing Lilly to this sale, just in case someone mistook your clothes for something for sale while you're trying on things in the changing room. Despite not planning to need to try anything on (is there anything from Fall 2011 through the first summer shipment I haven't already tried on?), I decided not to wear any Lilly, except for my really beat-up McKims that no one could possibly mistake for an item for sale. And when I walked in and saw hundreds of Lilly-cld ladies, I felt bad about that decision. So next time, I'll definitely wear Lilly!
I was hoping to meet people I knew, but my timing was off. However, as we were standing in line, someone in the row next to me said, "excuse me, is your name Catherine?" I looked at her, but she didn't familiar at all, so I said, "yes...". Turns out she is one of my repeat etsy shop customers! I've made a number of items for her using her fabric- White Zin christmas tree skirt, White Zin quilted placemats and coasters, and most recently, a Patchtastic shower curtain. She's super sweet and I love working with her, so it was a real treat to meet her! She was there with her mother, her young daughter her and very young baby boy. We ran into her that one time in line but then I never saw her again!
Other people along the line kept us entertained that 1.25+ hours, but when we got to the last row in the line, we were next to the black curtains separating the line from the sale, so we spent a lot of time peeking through and planning our attack. We would be given giant pink bags to stow all our goodies in (just like at the Vera Bradley sale), and I'd heard talk of $15 shoes, so my plan was to head towards the giant wall of shoes first, and mom was going to look at XL tops first.
The $15 shoes were great. By the time I got there, they only had navy polka dot picture perfect wedges (in all sizes) and a few pairs of natural/gold wedges. I've heard there were also flat McKims, which would have been lovely. The seconds and samples section was next to shoes, so I went there next. They had several long tables with boxes filled with random things.They had hundreds (really!) of these Minnie's sweater dresses with a zebra on them (or a giraffe?), all $10, all with damaged spots where the collar was attached to the dress. I considered getting one to save, but they all had so much damage that I didn't care enough to hunt for a decent one. My real find was the Pipster dress for $20, and mom and I each grabbed one, so I ended up with one in each color! Unfortunately my green one has some spots on it that I didn't notice til I got home, so I'll have to fuss with that. I also found a Caroline cardigan in Island Coral for $30, which wasn't a great price but it's a good cardigan- only later on I noticed it has a big smudge on the sleeve. I think $30 for a cardi with a big smudge is a little pricey. Unfortunately, a lot of people were camped around their piles of goodies in this area, so the seconds and samples table was also the "I changed my mind" table and there were a lot of items tossed over these boxes that weren't actually seconds. Not cool, you lazy bums! It was annoying to get so excited to see a Ciara or something in this area and find it was still $59.
The seconds and samples racks were even worse- I didn't see a single second/sample there- which all had pink tags, while the regular stuff had blue tags. This was all peoples' discards.
From there I went to tops (all in boxes, mostly sweaters/cardis for $100+, and short sleeve tops for $40+, which is still too much, in my opinion.) Jarveys were $49 and there were no shorts in my size. The Reef Me Up Cissys were cute, but $49. I looked at tops on the racks, but they seemed to be mostly Elsas at not very good prices and $59 Ciaras. I moved onto dresses- there was the Jonah the KOP store was holding for me, for $10 more than the KOP store's price. Many other dresses (nothing that I was actually looking for), starting at $79. I did get a Jacqueline for $99, which was a complete splurge but I really love Jacqueline.
Everything seemed to be resort or summer, but they had some older Cormick dresses that were still $79. The other shoes were all Resort Wedges for $89 or high wedge McKims for $79- that's still too much for me! I tried on a few other Resort Wedges and I conclude that, contrary to everyone's opinion, they do NOT run big- at least in the larger sizes. A 10 is still a 10, and a small 10, at that. I continue to despise those resort wedges. >:-o
The other fun thing was all the GWPs- shift ornaments, menagerie ornaments, Derby hats, tailgate totes, jewelry boxes, pencil cases, hangers, etc. I got a bunch of those. Mom somehow found cosmetic bags in the pink heart print, which I love. I vultured a bit and found one of my own at the very end.
Then, a little before 10am, we decided we were done. Actually that was a good thing, since mom got one of the very last GWPs! I was not so lucky, which made me sad because they turned out to be those framed Jubilee art prints that I recently saw on ReLilly, 3 prints for like $175 or something crazy. We didn't go way, way overboard (in my opinion), although the prices definitely added up. Also, they gave everyone a 10% off any purchase (sale or full price) at the KOP Lilly store!
Here's mom's haul: lots of GWP goodies, a coral/seahorse necklace, the GWP for the WHS, a Jacqueline as a birthday present for me, and a Coral Cascade Connell sweater that was originally for me, until she tried it on.
Here's my stash: 2 Pipsters, some GWP stuff, a cardigan, Touchy Feely Cinch one piece bathing suit, the $15 navy polka dot wedges, the heart cosmetic bag and a coral bracelet.
After the sale, we still had 2 hours before checkout, so we went back to the hotel to rest. Then we checked out and went to the KOP store to use our coupons!
The store was much busier this time, and they had new sale racks, so we each added to our purchases.
Mom bought me the Giuliana for my birthday ($59 plus 10% off) and got herself a Corinne that she plans to cut down to a top, for $34 (plus 10% off!). Also some Do The Wave napkins and plates to match the cups I got her for her birthday.
On our way out of the store, we noticed this cute little dog outside the jewel box dressing room.
Then we began the looooong drive home. We, of course, hit traffic all through NJ and again in CT. I was really cursing all those people I met in line who were like, "oh we're kind of nutty, we came from reeeeeeeallllly far away- it took us over an hour to get here!" ugh. We left at 2:20 and got home must before 8pm.
However, one highlight along the way happened when we stopped at the last rest area on the Garden State Turnpike. I've been looking for the 2012 animal crackers for months now, with absolutely no luck. Obviously I should have been including highway rest stops in my places to search, because here they are!
That was a nice end to this Lillyful trip.
What was my overall impression? It was fun. I wish it weren't so far. I was very unimpressed by the prices, and the seconds and samples weren't very plentiful when I was there. I was sad to have missed every single murfee and almost every single handbag (I had the opportunity to buy a clutch for $39 but I passed and I'm sorry I did), but I think that's really just the luck of the draw. I heard they brought out more bags and samples later on the in the day, so I don't think it's simply that I didn't get there early enough.
Would I go again? It was fun enough to make it worth it, and I would definitely want to visit the KOP store again. I think next time I go, I'll drive down in the morning of the first or second day, hit the sale right when we get there (plus standing for an hour after a 5-6 hour drive would be not unpleasant!), then stay overnight and hit the sale again the following morning. I think we might have had more luck if we had another round (we tried- when I realized I hadn't gotten my GWP, we went back to ask about it (it was practically on our way out of town) and I was really planning to go in for round 2, but the line was still almost as long, and we were facing a very long drive home). If we lived closer, I'd definitely go often.
I've heard people say they go with a definite plan and a list- I think this is pointless. I had many lists from many people, and I found absolutely nothing on their lists- because nothing was there. If you want to make a list and get bargains on things, wait for the ESS, when you won't have to get up early (unless you live on the west coast), travel or wait in lines. However, the nice thing about the WHS is that you pick up an item you like, you can try it on, and when you pay for it, it's actually in your hands so you don't have to worry about your order being canceled.