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I shared last week that I am currently working with TJ Maxx and Marshalls for the back to school season as a spokesperson. This has already been a lot of fun but also very educational. I recently got to sit down with TJ Maxx style expert, Sonya C., and talk about all the trends for this season and ask a few questions about how in the world they are able to get designer products for such a low price! I personally have no style, unless being barefoot in jeans and t-shirt counts as a trend. So, it was awesome to learn and see some of the looks.
I took two different lines of questions, first for the style and then for the bottom line (that’s really where my heart is, who cares if you’re fashionable Mama is going to save money…).
Q: If we could only afford three items for this back to school season what would should they be?
- A middle weight hoodie or light jacket – the layered look is in so get something that will work now into late fall. Mix with print T-shirts you already have for a “new” look.
- A new pair of jeans, best would be dark wash with detail around the pockets with stitching or grommets etc.
- One new graphic printed t-shirt.
- Jeggings – this is a new one for me, but they are leggings that look like jeans.
- Dress or long tunic that can be worn now and in the winter with leggings under it.
- Light to Medium Weight Jacket – Miltary or Bomber Style
Q: Are there “in” colors this year?
Like last year, plaids are still huge. Fuchsia, coral and other bright colors are also in.
Q: What is “off price”?
Off Price means that you are getting the exact same merchandise as department and designer stores (same quality, look, designer names etc.) the only difference is the price is “off”. You are paying 20-60% less for the exact same item!
Q: Okay, exactly how are TJ Maxx and Marshalls (TJX) able to get a lower price? Why wouldn’t the department stores also want/get this price?
- We are with or sometimes even ahead of the trends buying constantly rather than in large bulk orders.
- We are also able to buy smaller quantities. Maybe a big designer fulfills an 200,000 piece order for a department store but has enough fabric left to make 20,000 more shirts. We come in and offer to buy the remaining shirts, they are able to have no remnant fabric left and we are able to get a steal!
With 1600 stores across the US we are also able to handle large orders if they become available, so we are able to jump on any deal that pops up.
Q: If you are only buying a small number of items how do they get split amongst stores.
With our buyers always on the road, we always have merchandise coming in. We have our own distribution system and can actually take a product and have it on store shelves within 2 weeks of buying it!
Each store gets around 10,000 new pieces every week, so basically your store can have an entirely different look and feel every time you go in.
Q: If you always have a better price for the same item, how do the department stores not get upset??
One requirement we do have to abide by, is that we never share the exact brands or prices of items in the stores. So you might see commercials or great deals but we try to never name exact names. This way the department store doesn’t get too miffed that we are sharing with the world that we have a better deal!
If I were able to chat with someone else from TJ Maxx or Marshalls are there any questions you would want to ask?