Hi ladies! So I've had some good luck with grey market buys from TB recently, so have gone searching TB for some of my favourite Australian brands.
My theory is that these are grey market judging from pictures, information and I just don't consider it likely that most of these brands are repped. Am I being too hopeful?
I have added a little description for the brands (just my perceptions/opinions) to help non-Aussies understand what we're on about.
An Australian brand that is super popular for fashionable corporate attire. Also does non-corporate attire. Some edgy designs. Heavily features fit and flare and zip front dresses. Usually great quality and fabrics but can be so expensive for what it is. Mostly Australian made I believe except some specific lines. Cue in the City is made in China.
This is the only item I have found unfortunately ... but this means they are out there? Here is an explanation of The Letter Q line.
A popular Australian chain store with feminine styles. Lots of pretty florals, lace and soft colours. Popular for bridesmaids dresses or generally wedding guest attire. Quality is good for the price point I think, significantly better than H & M and such. They last well for me. Some dresses are silk. I think Forever New is in Asia too, maybe under a different name? I have seen it selling Lipsy London too.
FN Factory Store: [Prices aren't especially low, probably a little under sale rack prices? There is literally a whole store of this stuff, mostly limited sizes. Mix of older and newer stuff I think.]
Floral skirt (only size AU 10)
Brocade store [More in the store. Seems cheaper. States they cut the tags. Limited sizing.]:
Some more stores which seem to be the same deal but I haven't yet scoured through:
A long running Australian chain store that sells clothes and homewares. Aesthetic is modern, grown up, lots of neutrals.
This store has a section of Country Road. It has a whole lot of other brands too, grey or rep?
This jewellery store (at the bottom of this post) has a Country Road section.
Mimco is an Australian brand that sells bags, jewellery, shoes and other accessories. I have found the quality to be average, but the pieces are trendy and pretty.
Proceed with caution! The bags and pouches are definitely repped, they feature prominently in Balinese markets! I have looked for things that I recognise as Mimco but are less common, so less chance of being reps I think.
This store sells all sorts of branded mass produced jewellery (Kenneth Cole, Liz Claiborne, Lucky brand, Monet, Betsey Johnson, Forever 21), I would speculate they are all grey market from the same factory? The listing says: 'the store goods all foreign trade special jewelry , those entangled in the end is not the original, there is no flaw, there is no color difference girl, please counter, jewelry is a consumable, more expensive and finally throw, so...' No idea what to actually conclude from that.
That last Mimco store actually has a whole list of brands - again, grey market mass produced jewellery from the one factory?:
Bonus thinks I looked up auths for:
[Yes, I do want to go on a tropical holiday, thank you for asking]
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Okay, I should now stop this research and do actual research for an assignment I need to start on. For science I am willing to GP some things to test my grey market theories.
Thanks for reading - please do contribute, discuss and critique!
Some of my favorite posts here on Weddit have been budget breakdowns and recaps, as I think they really help brides in that area get a better ides of what weddings REALLY cost — versus going in blind. I’m back from my honeymoon and have all my final invoices in, so here’s my wedding recap/budget breakdown! Our wedding was considered ‘small’ by a lot of folks, but it honestly didn’t feel small. I was pretty upset about the number of ‘no’ RSVPs we got, but I didn’t even notice it the day of. My now-husband didn’t really want a wedding, and we had plenty of arguments about it…but in the end, he came around and realizes why it was worth it. That said, if we didn’t have help from our parents, there’s no way we could have afforded to have the wedding that we did. DC is a HCOL area, and the average wedding budget here is well over $40k, probably closer to $60-70k based on my vendor research. There were plenty of vendors across the board that either flat out laughed at our budget or gently said that their average client budget is $X.
Here are some primarily detail photos, and I've blurred out our faces where visible because privacy, yo. Pictures!
Date: September 29, 2018
Location: O’Byrne Gallery, Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington DC
Number of guests invited: 92
Number of guests who RSVPed yes: 58 (including us)
Number of guests who showed up: 57 — one last minute drop out due to medical issues
Original Budget: $20,000
Realistic Budget: $30,000
Final Budget: $34,400. This excludes the rehearsal dinner ($2500) that our in-laws paid for, and our honeymoon, which we booked using a combination of points and cash. My father contributed about 1/3, his parents about 1/3, and us about 1/3.
Venue: $7170. This included use of the O’Byrne Gallery and the outdoor portico/patio, as well as the required insurance ($175). The venue itself is gorgeous and very classic DC, but they are strict to work with. They have very strict set-up/take-down times that cut into traditional dancing time, unless you purchase extra hours, so our reception was a little short. You may not have red wine/rose/cranberry juice outside of the O’Byrne Gallery, and even then you can only serve it during dinner and with an additional $500 deposit. We opted out of this, so we only had white wine/beer/cocktails.
Day of Coordinator: $1600, Alexandra Nesterak Events. From the start, we sort of knew we needed a DOC. I lost my mom when I was 17 and our in-laws are out of town, and we didn’t want to burden anyone else with this stuff. Plus, I’ve never planned a wedding…I don’t know how the hell to make a watertight timeline and herd cats! We didn’t have room for this in the budget, but my Dad came through. She was worth every cent and more. A lot of planners in DC are pretentious dicks and won’t take clients with budgets under certain amounts, but mine was super down to earth and didn’t care what we were spending. We had full email access to her for questions during the entire planning process, and then her and an assistant the day of. The day went off without a hitch, and it’s all because of her.
Catering + rentals: $9842, Well Dunn Catering. This includes 4 passed appetizers, a plated meal with 3 entree choices (chicken, beef, vegetarian), a late night snack of Bourbon milkshake shooters, all soft drinks/drink mixers, tables, Chiavari chairs, linens — table linens were standard, upgraded cocktail/cake table since they were out all night, flatware/glassware/plates, serveware, delivery and trash removal, sales tax (ugh DC, I hate you sometimes), gratuity, and 6 waiters, 1 bartender, 1 chef, 1 pantry manager, and 1 catering manager. We opted for 2 vegetarian appetizers (goat cheese tart, bruschetta), 1 meat (chicken chorizo empanadas), and 1 fish (mini lobster rolls). The venue had a required catering list and I got quotes from 10 different caterers, and this company was both the easiest to work with and the cheapest. The food was excellent — we had many people telling us that it was the best wedding food they ever had! — and the service was impeccable. My glass was never empty, food was brought out quickly and was hot. I would 100% recommend this company in a heartbeat--our catering manager was great!
Alcohol: $750ish, Costco. This got us 3 Costco-sized handles of Makers Mark, 3 of Kirkland vodka, 40 bottles of white wine (25 of Riesling, 25 of sauvignon blanc), 30 bottles of Prosecco, 48 bottles of Stella Artois, 28 bottles of Sam Adams Oktoberfest, and 24 bottles of backup Yuengling. The Yuengling was opened but not used, and we have a case of sauv blanc leftover, 7 bottles of Prosecco, some Riesling, and I think the Sam Adams/Stella might be opened so we can’t return that. We ran out of bourbon towards the end, but it didn’t seem to be a huge deal. We opted to only do white wine, beer, and 2 his/hers signature cocktails. The bourbon-based cocktail was the clear winner of the night, although the vodka-based definitely got consumed as well.
Cake: $535, Buttercream Bakeshop. We got a 3 layer/1-tier red velvet and cream cheese cake for cutting, and then opted to get 75 cakesicles. THEY WERE A HUGE HIT! We have some in our freezer now and I’m super excited to bust those out at the anniversary. The cake was also great, we got tons of compliments. This also includes our cake topper, from Etsy.
Photography: $3400, Emily Clack Photography. This included an engagement session as well. Emily was awesome to work with and was super cool/calm, which really meshed with hubby and I. Our engagement session was great and helped us get comfortable with her and also what to do with our hands—she even finished our stuff before going on her own destination wedding! Our wedding photos have come out great and she delivers on-time, I can’t recommend her enough.
Photo Booth: $795, ShutterBooth DC. People loved this and the photos were good quality, everyone got prints to take home and we have an online gallery as well
Flowers: $2216, Loblolly Organic Farms. This includes venue flowers (2 pillar arrangements for the ceremony, repurposed to the fireplace mantle), my bouquet, bouts, 3 bridesmaid bouquets, garland centerpieces, candleholders/vases/etc., and delivery. I had the most trouble finding a florist, as DC is the land of over-the-top floral arrangements and $6k minimums during the high season. I found Loblolly through Instagram and instantly hit it off with them. My venue space was beautiful enough that I didn’t need anything huge. They understood what I was looking for, didn’t laugh at my teeny tiny budget/not huge floral needs, and ultimately delivered in a huge way. I could not have been happier with how everything came out, Courtney really got my vision and executed it perfectly. I literally teared up when seeing the reception space, as it looked out of a magazine in my eyes. I also love that they are growing some of their own flowers and hand-weave their own garlands.
Signage/Other Decor: $165. This includes $20 for a seating chart template on Etsy because I suck at photoshop, $17 for a cookbook guestbook on Amazon, $36 for streamer wands on Amazon, $8 to print the bar menus, and $85 to print the seating chart on foam board.
Stationary/Paper Goods: $595. This includes $56 for save-the-dates from Vistaprint (I self-designed them on Canva), $350 for invitations from Minted (including e-RSVP cards and information cards, pre-addressed envelopes), $80 for place cards — which I ultimately opted to hand-letter on tiles, which was WAY cheaper than a calligrapher or getting them printed), $38 for menu cards from Vistaprint, and $75 on postage. I’m happy with how all of these came out, I scouted coupon codes/sales and we didn’t really get anything extra here.
Attire: $3662, Love Couture Bridal/Nazemi Bridal/Etsy/Baublebar/Nordstrom. This doesn’t include the groom’s suit, which was Isaia and you don’t want to even know how much. But it does include my dress (Blush by Hayley Paige Pepper), alterations (Nazemi Bridal in Georgetown), and my veil (Etsy), shoes (Sam Edelman on sale at Nordstrom), and jewelry (Baublebar). To this day, I still want to wear my dress — it fit my personality and was the second dress I tried on. It was love at first sight, and I got it on a trunk show discount. Alterations made me nearly cry, primarily because of the cost. I was anticipating something closer to $500-600, and ended up at $975. Those alterations were primarily due to the complex hemming and then needing to add a bustle. We also added cups, took the sides in, and shortened the straps a bit…but it was mostly the hem. In the end, the dress looks like it was made-to-measure and working with Nazemi was a dream. I never had a doubt that it wouldn’t look perfect!
Hair/Makeup: $977, Alison Harper & Co. Hair and makeup was another one I struggled with, because I only had 3 bridesmaids and couldn’t hit a lot of the on-location service minimums slash wasn’t willing to spend ridiculous sums of money per person. My bridesmaids did pay for their own hair and makeup — I didn’t require it, but they all chose to, so my out of pocket total was significantly lower. I did one trial for both hair and makeup; I loved the hair and was meh about the makeup. After the trial, I did some more research and decided to step out of my comfort zone with a bolder look, and it really paid off. I was SO happy with my makeup the day of and I can honestly say I’ve never felt prettier. I almost cried seeing myself in the mirror because pro makeup is such a rough experience for me usually and it looked beautiful. I definitely got oily by the end of the night, but whatevs. My hair stayed all night and then some — I actually wore it to brunch the next day and while some of the curls had fallen out, the braid was still perfect. Shit was on point.
Extra beauty crap: $190. Like most brides, I had to spend money on ‘other’ stuff tangentially related to the wedding. Things like his and hers eyebrow waxes, his and hers whitestrips, and his/hers manicures and a pedicure for me. Shit like this adds up and nobody ever includes it in their budget.
DJ: $1560, Derek Romanoff. DJs are notoriously flaky, but not Derek. Alex and him kept the night moving, he made sure to play literally every song we pre-requested, and kept the dance floor full!
Officiant: $0, friend of ours. We paid to have a friend temporarily ordained in DC and officiate our ceremony.
Transportation: $50, Uber.
Other stuff: $1200 for our hotel suite for 3 nights…ugh. We went way over budget on this, but didn’t have much of a choice. Downtown DC hotels are expensive. We also spent $32 on bride/groom cake cutting stuff/toasting flutes from Anthropologie (Black Friday for the win), $25 on Mr & Mrs signs for the backs of our chairs (will be reselling these), and $380 on bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts. The in-laws got cookies as favors but I’m not sure how much they cost.
What went wrong: -Pretty much nothing. There were bees during the ceremony (OH GOD NOT THE BEES) because of the dahlias in the ceremony arrangement, but if that’s the biggest issue…you’re in good shape. I stomped on my dress a lot dancing and put a few holes in the back tulle/ripped out the side panel, but hey, shit happens.
What went right: Everything! I wouldn’t have changed a darn thing.
So I received this emailed offer from Allure. Sign up for a full year, and receive 2 free boxes and a gift from Baublebar for $150. Do they mean 14 boxes (12 at $12.50 and 2 more free) or 12 boxes (10 at $15 and 2 “free”)? It’s probably the latter, right? They don’t specify in the email or in the fine print.
So, maybe I'm doing something unconventional - but I've had it in my head that I'm coming around to gold jewelry for my wedding dress. Now, I know my dress has some sparkly bits to it that lean to the silver side... but I am really liking this Kate Spade bracelet I purchased a while ago and these earrings I found at Target from Baublebar. I took the plunge and purchased a Kate Spade necklace on deep discount through her surprise sale and I have the whole "look" in the image below. Do we think it'll work alright? Is everyone gonna be like GIRL WHAT R U DOIN wearing NOT SILVER?
Purchased through Taobao (no agent)
Paid: ¥399.83 + ¥105 shipping = ¥504.83 ($71 USD)
Longchamp Le Pliage Large Nylon Tote in 'Pinky'
W2C: Taobao link
Auth: Longchamp website
Overall the quality is quite good. The material seems strong and the leather is generally what you'd expect for a nylon tote bag (more durable and functional than luxe), although it could be slightly softer (but conditioner will fix that). The leather and nylon are stitched together very well - no loose threads, no missing stitches. However, there are a few places where the stitching is uneven (you have to look closely).
My biggest complaint here is the lining. The white rubbery lining came with several marks - 2 black scratches, and then it took on some of the green from the paper Longchamp card that was inside. The green seemed to come off fairly easily, and I suspect I could get most of it off with acetone although I haven't tried.
NOTE: My auth is the OLD version of the Large Le Pliage (style 2724089). The bag I'm reviewing is the CURRENT version (style 1899089), which replaced the old version in 2012.
The new version has several changes - shorter straps, a wider flap, and the stitch box goes between the flap and the straps, instead of around the straps. I only used my auth to compare small details.
I'm pretty impressed (although it's just nylon and some straps and hardware, so it's substantially easier to produce than many of the bags we see). The biggest flaw was the embossing of the horse on the back of the flap. It is quite deep and very clear on the rep, but it should just be barely visible. The only other noticeable flaw was the engraving. The hardware all looks pretty good, but none the engraving on the rep is as sharp as the auth. This doesn't affect my accuracy score very much, since anything that requires a magnifier to compare (which this did - I had to use Camera+ in Macro mode to photograh) isn't particularly important. The leather wasn't as soft on the rep, but I don't know that this is a flaw (as leather quality on 10+ year old bags is almost always better than today's bags, and it's also quite broken in). See my comparison photos for more comments.
If I remember, I'll look at some more auths tomorrow - I'll be at my parents and they've got a bunch.
Invisibobble Hair Ties
I don't know why I'm so into these. They don't actually work for me. That is, they leave a crease just like any other hair tie I have (that being said, I only buy hair ties from Sephora or similar, so we're not talking drugstore quality). But that has nothing to do with my review.
W2C: Taobao link
Honestly, I have no clue how to rate the quality of a hair tie. It's a hair tie. It ties my hair in a ponytail. Thus I give them a 10.
So I'm not actually comparing them to an Invisibobble, because I can't find any of mine right now. But even if I did find one, I wouldn't know if it was an Invisibobble or Kitsch because they're identical. UPDATE: I found another one of mine, but have no idea which one it is. It might be an invisibobble. I took a picture with all 3 of them.
They have more stretch than the auth. Not quite like a phone cord, but not as tight as the auth (my last attempt to find a good rep ended up being like a thin phone cord, back when phones had cords and they could stretch around the whole house). The plastic is also thicker and has a different shape. A cross-section of the rep would be a square/diamond, while the auth would be a circle.
In conclusion, while I will definitely use these, I would not order them again. Instead I'll continue to order the Kitsch version which are slightly cheaper, at 4/$7 vs 3/$8. You can buy them at Amazon or Ulta. They're 4/$6 at Ulta, but unless you spending another $44 there, you'll pay shipping.
W2C: links dead :(
These all came from the same store, which is now gone. The photos are all in a single album, but I will review each separately. Also, I accidentally purchased 2 pairs of the drop earrings, so while I am only reviewing one pair, both contributed to the overall cost and shipping.
I don't know much about jewelry, so feel free to correct me if I'm missing anything!
Chanel CC Gold Logo Pearl Earrings
Auth: I haven't found an identical match, and I have no way to know what the auth is because there have been so many CC logo studs made over the years, but here are a few similar ones: here, here (2018 cruise), and here.
The quality seems good for what they are. They're nicer than say, BaubleBar jewelry, but obviously not near auth quality. For inexpensive gold plated earrings, they're quite nice and heavy, though not as heavy as auth are.
I don't really know how to rate the accuracy, as I don't know what I'm comparing them to. But there are several things I can rate based on Chanel earrings in general, and a similar pair of CC studs I've seen. The shape looks good compared to similar styles. They have branding on the back, and while it may not be quite as sharp as the auth, it's also a tiny oval with letters less than a millimeter wide, so the fact that it's there and readable is pretty good. The date code on there is also wrong.
Chanel Round Black Stud Earrings
Auth: can't find exact, but similar ones here.
Again, the quality seems good for what they are. I've never felt a pair of auth earrings similar to these, so I don't know what the weight should be.
I don't have an auth to compare to, so I will rate based on general characteristics. They have branding on the back, and while it may not be quite as sharp as the auth, it's also a tiny oval with letters less than a millimeter wide, so the fact that it's there and readable is pretty good for me. The date code on there is also wrong.
Chanel Gold Circle Drop Pearl Earrings
Auth: I'm guessing these are the auth
Again, the quality seems good for what they are. Not as heavy as the auth, but heavier than the cheap stuff. Appear to be well made though.
I have an auth to compare these earrings to, so the accuracy is lower than the previous two. There is branding on the back, but it's not as sharp as the auth. The date code on there is also wrong. These are not as heavy as the auths. I've never seen these auths, but I've seen similar, and they're very heavy.
Another big list, enjoy! Let me know if I mixed up any links.
Usual disclaimer: I haven't bought any of these yet, just sharing some finds. Unless noted, I am not sure if the items come w/ original tags etc.
Gucci Mickey tee - definitely inaccurate but dirt cheap
Alexander Wang rhinestone sleeve black sweater - might be branded
Acne Deborah v neck knit sweater - with tags
Dior grey tarot knit sweater - might come w/ tags
Dior constellations wool sweaters - expensive, probably branded?
Ermanno Scervino rhinestone turtleneck - WHO IS THIS EXTRA???
Givenchy bambi crewneck sweater - black and RED!
Maxmara teddy coat - more colors!
Supreme black fur bomber jacket - prob not too accurate
Natasha Zinko patchwork denim skirt - as seeon on Hailey Baldwin
Alexander Wang fur Amelia slides - branded
Hermes Oran style sandals - definitely inaccurate but dirt cheap
Chloe Nile inspired bag - just cheap
Eugenia Kim Rebel straw bag - can also order w/ custom text. A reviewer got her baby's name on one and uses it as a diaper bag, how cute is that??
Hyeinseo FEAR fur stole - as seen on Rihanna
Moncler pom pom toque - w/ branding
Random cheap stuff
Cheap clothes store - tons under $8 CAD, might gp something for fun