Yesterday I was able to go to an Estee Lauder Warehouse Sale and wow, I've never seen anything quite like it. Three large rooms full of perfume, skincare and makeup at discounted prices in Markham, north of Toronto. These sales happen four times a year, are invite-only and invites are available to employees of Estee Lauder only, although they pop up on sites like Kijiji and Craigslist. Estee Lauder owns the brands MAC, Clinique, La Mer, Origins, Bobbi Brown, DKNY, Tom Ford, Lab, Aveda, Prescriptives and Sean John, among others.
My friend Jenn (@j_real) and I headed up late Friday afternoon and spent three hours sorting through beauty goodies. Large room #1 held perfume sets, skincare, eyeshadow kits, blushes, bath products and makeup bags. Large room #2 held more perfume, foundation, brushes and eyeshadows. Large room #3 held more perfume, lipsticks and glosses, the $4 section, the charity bags and the cashiers.
I snapped a few photos on my iPhone, so apologies for the quality.
|Large Room #1|
The clever, although messy way the products are made available for swatching is shown below. Testers are plastic wrapped and taped to the table and labelled and numbered. You write down the numbers of the items you want on the slips of paper provided and you bring your list to another table where staff bring you your items. This way they can be swatched (no q-tips or sponges, you have to use your fingers) and reduce the risk of shoplifting, although I still noticed items that had been pinched. Kleenex is provided but your hands quickly get covered in product. These tester tables get VERY messy and the testers themselves take a beating. The next time I go I will bring my own Q-tips and wet wipes.
Below is one of the powder, larger eyeshadow and blush tables.
Other items are in boxes and you can select what you want but everything you select must be given to one of the staff members so they can be bagged and sealed. The staff also write down what's inside and the price (ie. 3 x $15) on the bag.
If you bring an unbagged and unsealed item to the cash, they will not let you buy it. If you change your mind about an item, you must bring it to a special area for returns and have it unsealed. It's quite clever as items are grouped by prices and some items are sold at a special discount (buy one get one free) and eliminates shoplifting.
Some more photos in Room #1:
|In line for my eyeshadow and MSF in Room #1|
|Bagged and sealed products at the eyeshadow area in Room #1|
Many shoppers appeared to be there for the perfume sets, and carried out boxes and boxes. Others were like us and looking for LE products and stuff we'd only heard about as well as the discounted prices.
Speaking of prices, this is as best I can recall:
Skincare (moisturizers, serums, body lotions and washes): $15-$30
Eyeshadow kits: $15
Perfume bottles and kits: $40-$55+
Lipsticks and glosses: $10-$12
Powders, blushes, large eyeshadows: $15
Smaller eyeshadows: $12
Brushes (sets and individuals): $15-$30 although one very large MAC kabuki-style brush was $60
Mascaras and concealers: $12
Makeup bags and tins: $5
The brands that were available were mostly MAC, but quite a bit of Clinique (especially skincare) and Estee Lauder (especially perfume). There were some Bobbi Brown items, some Origins skincare items and in the perfume sets, I spotted Donna Karan, Sean John, Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger among others. I wish I'd spotted some La Mer and Bumble and Bumble.
|Room #3 in the lip product swatching area|
|One of the Dame Edna lipsticks.|
At check-out, a staff member takes your sealed products out of your bag and lists out the prices for the cashier who rings them through. Jenn and I didn't have anything to return or rebag, so we passed by the sorting area. There is a limit of $500 on your purchases, but both Jenn and I were well below that. This $500 limit doesn't include the Charity Bags.
|Jenn's bag of goodies|
After we'd paid, we surrendered our invitations and received a free gift (photos to follow) and had the option of purchasing Charity Bags in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
I was happy with my purchases. It was my first time at the event so I didn't have a clear idea what to expect. Many of the products were items I suspect didn't sell as well as others in stores, so easy to bypass for me. Selection at these events varies so I imagine that if I get to go again, I might be more in the mindset to look for foundations and concealers and other base products. Also, I can do some research on some of the products I saw that I wasn't familiar with.
It was nice to get home and see what I'd bought under regular lighting, the makeup shades especially. More photos!
|My haul, before de-bagging|
|$10 Plushglass lipgloss|
|$25 Buy 1 Get 1 Free Bobbi Brown Cleansing Oils|
And here's my haul unbagged and unboxed. In total I spent just over $200 (including the Charity Bag).
|Free gift: MAC Vintage Vamp nailpolish|
|$5 Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Charity Bag|
|$15 and $20 MAC brushes #249 and #165|
|$12 MAC Mixing Medium|
|Bobbi Brown Cleansing Oil|
|$15 each - MAC Cleanse Off Oil and|
MAC Charged Water Skin Hydrating Mist
|$20 Origins Starting Over Age-erasing Moisturizer with Mimosa|
|$10 MAC Plushglass in Plus Luxe|
|$12 each - MAC Pigment in Antique Green and|
MAC Frost Eyeshadow in Prepped for Glamour
|$15 MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in By Candlelight and|
MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow in Under Your Spell
Whew! There's my haul. My review of the sale is that if you get the chance to go and have some cash to spend on beauty products or are looking for products you may have missed in MAC launches, you should try to track down tickets.
I promise to do posts on all the products I hauled! Any requests for which to review first?