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Sample sale addicts, be warned: you may want to start looking into rehab now that Jenn Ripley's in town. She's the founder of Archive Agency, a company that's organized under-the-radar sales in New York and Atlanta for the past eight years, focusing on everything from high-end vintage to designer samples and up-and-coming contemporary fare. And she's getting ready to open up her new LA HQ, a 3-story loft at 530 North Larchmont that will host stylists by day and public sample sales every other weekend.
In anticipation of her first sale in the space, set for Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29, we chatted with Jenn to find out what to expect from her events, how she got into the full-time sample sale business, and why she's chosen LA for her new homestead:
So, first thing's first: What kind of deals will we find at an Archive Agency sale?
It's going to be a really eclectic mix, kind of like the way I would personally shop. For example, during the first sale, we'll have ready-to-wear and shoes from designers like Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Marni at 80% off, mixed with Rory Beca pieces in every size and color at $50 flat. It's all really well-edited, so you wont have to dig through a lot of junk, and everything is usually marked down at least 70%-90%.
What will be the format of the sales after that?
During the week, the loft will be open to stylists, studios and other industry professionals, who can buy in bulk at a discount. Then, on the first and third weekends of the month, we'll be holding sample sales for the public.
How did you get into the sample sale business?
When I was 17, I got an internship at Showroom Seven in New York. The accessory director quit on my first day, so they just kind of shoved me into appointments with Barneys and Saks, and I also worked the quarterly sample sales. I really loved the energy and vibe – I was from a farm in Connecticut, I had no idea you could buy clothes at such a huge discount! A year later, I was contacted by a writer from Vogue who was doing an Ebay story – she saw I'd started selling designer pieces on the site and wanted to include me. All of a sudden, department stores were asking me to do the same thing for them – I was 18, and practically living in a cardboard box in Brooklyn with this inventory for two years! So in 2002, I moved to Atlanta and opened up a permanent location, and now I've decided to relocate to LA.
For the past six months I've been trucking everything between New York, Atlanta and LA, but out of all those cities, I feel like this is where the agency has been most successful and well-received. Not to mention that this is the center of the entertainment industry, and a lot of the traditional New York manufacturers are moving to the West Coast.
And where can we find you?
I've got a three-story live-work loft in Larchmont Village, right near all the studios. Lots of sample sales have that depressing, warehouse-style setting, but this is going to be more like your best girlfriend's closet – more inviting, more intimate, more exclusive. If I'm working with a stylist or private customer, I want them to feel like they can take their time, grab a glass of wine, even chill out on the roof terrace if they want! It's all about building relationships, minus any pretension.