Black Friday 2014: How to conquer the mall
If the idea of waking up at 4 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving holds less appeal than week-old leftover turkey, you’re not alone.
Jamie Krell, who has made a living keeping up with the latest shopping trends, is no fan of the wee hours, herself.
“I’m not a morning person,” says Krell, who worked as a costume designer for the Friends stars before moving onto E! and the Style Network.
“But over the years, I’ve found that losing a few hours of sleep has proved to be worth it because they offer such exceptional deals this time of year,” she says.
But the good news is you don’t have to be lined up outside your favorite store right at 4 or 5 in the morning, she says. In fact, Krell notes that it might actually be a good thing to miss the most determined shoppers by avoiding those early-morning hours.
“It could be more crowded the earlier you go,” she says.
The style and beauty expert—who has appeared on TODAY, The View and several other programs—has a list of things to keep in mind to prepare for Black Friday.
Rest up. Take a power nap after the Thanksgiving meal, rally the troops and come up with a game plan, she says.
First on her list is to hydrate. She represents Good Earth Tea, and she’s an outspoken advocate of the product. She likes Sweet & Spicy, and suggests a few cups on the car ride in, or the wind-down after, will warm up the group.
Find a buddy. And “group” is a key word: A Black Friday shopping excursion should not be a solo event, she says.
“My soon-to-be sister-in-law, my mom and my soon-to-be mother-in law and my aunt: We’re always a united front,” she says. “It does end up being this wonderful, fun, bonding day.”
And it makes sense to have friends and family with you, she says, so you can run potential purchases by the crowd.
Make a plan. Map out the day before you head out, she says.
“You do want to have your key three to five stores,” she says, adding that it’s a good idea to investigate the stores in advance, especially those you aren’t familiar with.
Another expert agrees that mapping out the store is a great idea.
Linda Lee, group vice president of Macy’s by appointment personal shopping service, says shoppers should always get the lay of the land before heading out.
The personal shopping pro has a few simple tips to prepare for Black Friday.
Take notes. “The three most important things to do to prepare for Black Friday are to create a shopping list of giftees, do your research on what the sales will be and create a plan of attack,” Lee says. “The first step is to know who you are buying for and what you think you will want to purchase for them. This easy step will be a game-changer for when you hit the chaos of the selling floor.”
If you go into the game unsure of who you’re buying for, or with only a vague idea of what they like, you’ll be lost, she says. Look at the ads and Web sites of stores (naturally, she suggests macys.com), and you’ll be well briefed about the morning, afternoon and all-day specials.
Get social. Krell adds a tip that can save consumers time and money: Allow social media to help you out.
“A lot of (stores) are going to be posting,” she says. “If you have favorite stores, you can follow them the week before.”
Dress the part. Who wants to spend 30 minutes early in the morning trying to look presentable by hiding that under-eye baggage and crazy hair? Model your shopping style after the actors she’s worked with over the years, Krell says.
“Celebrities have stylists, but also love to go out and experience what we all do,” she says. So, if they hide behind big sunglasses to avoid being recognized, you can do the same. Bad hair and lack of makeup can be covered up in a snap.
“Put on a great pair of sunglasses; leggings; flat, comfortable shoes; and a scarf,” she says. “You want to be comfortable, for sure. So take tips from the celebrities: Pull your hair back and put on your shades and you can be a little more incognito.”
Finally, check out our roundup of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. We did the work for you—now, you can spend your time on the fun part: shopping.