Faux Pas: Free People and the 40 Thieves
Feb 3, 2011
My Twitter followers know how much I love Etsy and in particular, the Etsy vintage shop Dear Golden. Her fabulous, well-edited collection of vintage items never fails to yield a lust-worthy item (or several). Her shop )and a handful of others on Etsy) are so successful, that they’ve spawned corporate imitators.
Earlier this week, the shop owner at Dear Golden tweeted the link to Free People’s new (?) Vintage Loves section where shoppers can purchase items from a “treasure chest of exclusive finds.” For the privilege of buying one of the retailer’s unique (ha!) vintage selections, however, you will pay through the nose. Few items are less than $100, and most hover in the $150 to $250 range.
The first time I flipped through the site, I was shocked by the absurdity of the prices. But more than that, I was horrified by the number of items that were marked as sold. Is it possible that a legion of women, flush with cash, are being lured into the corporate clutches, completely unaware that these items (or something VERY similar) can be purchased for much less elsewhere online?
To illustrate my point, let’s play a little game. I’ve pulled the photos of three items from the site, and then used Etsy to find a reasonably-priced facsimile of each piece.
Why pay three times more when you can buy the Etsy one and have it altered to your liking and still save fifty-percent?
But remember the Free People products are “exclusive finds” not easily procured via simple Google search or Estate Sale trip…
The jackets are nearly identical. In fact, I’m tempted to write the seller and ask if it’s the same maker as the Free People jacket. But even if they’re just fraternal twins, how does Free People get away with charging four times the price? Stupid people, that’s how.
I am blown away by the insanity of this exercise. These are just three items, but I could do the same thing for any item on the Free People site and find a similar item that costs 50 to 80-percent less.
If you want the vintage look, stay away from Free People and stick to eBay, Etsy and your local thrift store. Because buying your vintage from a corporate conglomerate and paying four times as much for the privilege is just incompetent.