I recently had my maiden voyage to the Zappos Outlet in Shepherdsville, KY. Why have I not been there before? Why am I not going down there once a week? So many questions in retrospect. It is only 20 minutes away and I have to say, it was eye-opening. I am never going to be able to shop regular retail for shoes again, well, unless it’s an emergency.
I took my mother, who I will refer to from now on as “the Nance” (it’s a term of affection), as my wing-man. She is one of those women who still keeps all her shoes in the original boxes and organized according to type. So the love of shoes is definitely genetic, the organization skills, not so much.
The Zappos outlet is right off the freeway in a non-descript building. Even the sign is hard to see. But, the building is brand-spanking new and I know that building was built on the dollars of obsessed women like me. Then, I learned that there are anywhere from 27,000-35,000 pairs of shoes at any one time in this building, henceforth the massive size of this complex.
So, it’s Friday and Friday is payday in these parts. At 9:48am, there is a queue line. There was a group of women informally tailgating next to me with coffee and cigarettes. There was a man climbing through the hedges, peeking through the windows in a feeble attempt to make eye contact with ANYONE who might let him in 12 minutes early. I immediately ascertain that whatever is inside this building is worth this kind of behavior.
We mosey in and it is overwhelming, immediately. I do a quick once-over thru the aisles of size 11 (you read that right, I’m an 11). Then I proceed directly to Men’s shoes. If I’m going to spend all this money, I at least have to give a nod to my husband.
In the men’s aisle are three members of a biker gang: I’ll refer to them as Small, Medium and Large. They are in full Harley regalia and they are all searching for shoes for Small. Ironically, Small is their fierce leader as they are all deferring to him. Small is about 5’3” and wears a 7.5 size shoe. I stand with my back to him, looking for shoes for my husband but eavesdropping the entire time.
He taps me on the back. It is ON. But, the friendly voice that came out of him did not indicate a fight.
Small: “Ma’am, what is the nicest shoe here (pointing to all the 7.5 shoes)?” (At a 7.5, the world is your oyster, friend. Nobody clamoring for these sizes)
Me: “Well the Cole-Haan lace-ups are nice or the Cole-Haan loafers.”
Small: “Well, I like these black loafers.” -holds up a pair of nice Bass loafers.
Me: “Those are Bass and they will last you a lifetime.”
He thanks me, convenes with the group, they agree and move on.
I’ve been initiated. Lesson learned, never judge a book by its cover. At least not at the Zappos outlet.
For the next two hours, I proceeded to siphon out anything that is not retailing for over $100. I mean, if I’m going to go, I’m GOING BIG. Think Stuart Weitzman, Bernardo, Kate Spade, Cole-Haan, all current styles, all for at least 50% off retail.
I hit the jackpot, and that was with some major editing by the Nance. She talked me out of buying two pairs of black patent pumps–I mean I could wear them to the pool right? Or, to grab the paper in the morning? I ended up with five pairs of shoes for the same price as one pair retail. All high-end name brands.
There are also great kids shoes. Be prepared to buy out of season, so size up. My friend has bought Hunter boots for her daughter in the next three sizes up. I bought my daughter a pair of Jack Rogers sandals for basically nothing. I would NEVER buy her this pair of expensive shoes at her age under a normal circumstance; but it is a nice introduction to the wonderful world of Jack Rogers.
I quickly perused the clothing and purses. Both are minimal, but I have heard of excellent finds in there: True Religion jeans, Hudson jeans, Stella McCartney purses. I did see those jeans, but they were so teeny tiny it was not even worth the hanger lift.
This outlet, otherwise known as 6pm Outlet online, consists of all the returns and overstocks from Zappos. So timing is everything. A great time to go is the weeks after Christmas.
All items at the outlet are a minimum of 50% off, with many more at 60% and 70% off. Wednesdays are a special sale day, usually with deep discounts on brands starting with a certain letter.
I asked a few friends that are Zappos experts what their advice was about shopping there. Across the board, they all told me not to tell anyone about it. Sorry girls, I just stumbled on the best kept secret in town (well 20 minutes from town). Time for me to go start a load of laundry with my new Cole-Haan navy platform peep-toe pumps (retail $278, Zappos $89.20).
376 Zappo’s.com Blvd.
Shepherdsville,, KY 40165