April 3, 2010

Rue La La

To listen to the stock market's marathon fiddle sonata, you might not think the economy was burning. But the ability to create your own reality by positive thinking ends where the brick wall begins and like the casinos in Vegas, high-end retailers are feeling the pain. People can't use their vanished home equity as an ATM any more, and so the dozens of boutiques that sprung up in way too many locations before the real-estate house of cards tumbled need to find a way to liquidate their product.

Enter Rue La La.

Since discovering Filene's Basement in my youth in Boston, I've loved finding bargains on high-end stuff. Rue La La, an invitation-only (your invitation is here and earns me $10, thank you viral marketing) boutique liquidator, uses an interesting version of the window of opportunity meme. Every day they open a few collections for deep bargains, but the opportunity only lasts three days. They even have a clock ticking in front of each virtual storefront to underscore the urgency.

Today there are several high-end clothiers I've never heard of, a sports equipment company, Mario Batali cookware, a spa, and even a Napa Valley winery. Mmm...just picked up a trio of 2006 Rubicon Captain's Reserve for $59.

It's definitely a buyer's market right now, and soon many of these retailers will shut their doors or reinvent themselves more in line with Wal-Mart. But for the time being, I'm getting in on the bargains.

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