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Beyond Flash: Hautelook's Founder on a New Way to Shop Sale

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Savoir Mode, a new website that aggregates markdowns on current-season items.
Savoir Mode, a new website that aggregates markdowns on current-season items.

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Retail entrepreneur Brett Markinson, the founder of Sole Society and HauteLook, has launched a new venture that he thinks will revolutionize the way that shoppers find deals. It's called Savoir Mode and it collects and offers up discounts on current-season apparel.

The site, which launched last week, is a bit novel in its approach. While flash sales contain discounted merchandise from previous seasons, Savoir Mode uses a special algorithm to pull items that have been recently marked down from hundreds of retailers.

"I spent a lot of time with extensive technology to facilitate curation on the site every day. Only the brand new, fresh cut that just met the sale rack comes to the site, with no duplicates, so that when you come to Savoir Mode every morning you see what's new on sale," Markinson told Racked. "You could spend hours combing the Internet, looking for new markdowns but our machine does it for you. It's designed to capture, curate and present only the stuff that just went on sale."

Markinson is no stranger to learning the habits of online shopping. Through his work at his flash sale site HauteLook, which he sold to Nordstrom in 2011 for $270 million , and at his e-commerce shoe venture, Sole Society, Markinson said he learned to understand fashion's desire for immediacy.

Current items, via

"Women who love discount and discovery-based shopping can't get current merchandise that is highly covetable on a flash site," he said. "Savoir Mode fills a very specific niche. It's for the girl who wants to buy the in-season, at-the-store merchandise, but doesn't want to pay full price, and wants to be first in line for first markdown."

The launch of Savoir Mode comes along with the recent discussion over whether the flash sale model is still in demand. Markinson said he has faith that shoppers looking for discounts turn to flash sale sites but that based off his research, "the maximum impact for value is when the current season's best product hits first markdown." He did admit that flash sale sites were experiencing trouble keeping their offer fresh.

"The challenge for the flash sites is they are dealing with the product that the brands themselves couldn't sell to the retailer or dealing with the product which the brands did sell but the retailer couldn't sell and so it was sent back. I'd call it the B product, which goes on sale at steep discount at the end of the season," he said. "The girl that wants in-store, in-season, A-list product, but doesn't want to pay full retail, where does she shop?"

Markinson's new site collates sales from hundreds of retailers, including Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Barneys, Net-A-Porter, The Outnet, Zappos, Michael Kors, Stuart Weitzman, Kate Spade, Tory Burch and Steve Madden. The technology the site employs to pull sales only uses feeds from the previous seven days, since Markinson believes that "after the first markdown has been in play for a week, all of the best stuff has been picked through." The site currently aggregates womenswear only, but Markinson said he will look to expand to menswear and children as time goes on.

· Savoir Mode [Official site]
· Flash Sale Site Gilt Finds Unsexy New Way to Make Money [Racked]