Et tu DailyCandy? The Verdict on DC’s New Sample Sale Site

What: Kathryn Reviews Swirl, Daily Candy’s New Online Flash Sample Sale Site, and wonders at what point did one of her favorite online brands became a follower rather than a leader.

The Lowdown: Daily Candy is launching a Sample Sale site named Swirl….. so what? In the past month, we’ve received over 50 emails (no joke) announcing the launch of “new flash sale sites”, from everyone from a mega auction site (eBay) to fashion industry insiders (Gilt Groupe) to over funded start-ups ran by silicon valley geeks (insert the crazy sounding company of your choice). Just like there’s no new ideas in Hollywood, there appears to be no new ideas in the fashion tech world (well at least at the corporate level). Like all the rest, Swirl claims to offer you up to 80% off top designers and, par for course, encourages you to give up your email address in hopes of scoring a major deal (note: your email address can be worth up to $20 to these sites as a good chunk of their valuation-how much they’re worth- is based on the size of their email lists). But do these sites really give us a great deal? Well… it depends on your definition of a “deal”.

In the case of Daily Candy’s new site Swirl, it features all the same designers (Eugenia Kim, Loeffler Randall, Orly Keily,etc) that you can find on Gilt, Hautlook, ideeli or any of the other flash sale sites. While we love DC for introducing us to hot designers like Loeffler Randall, I’m not entirely convinced that Daily Candy is going to get you a better deal than any of the before-mentioned sites or say hitting up your local Last Call Neiman Marcus Outlet. What the wonderful folks at Daily Candy is banking on is that the goodwill generated by their 10+ years of branding will convince you to do your “flash sale-ing” with them.

Of course you have to be a Daily Candy subscriber in order to receive access to the beta launch edition of Swirl and if you’re not already a subscriber (at this point, who isn’t?) they’ll sign you up for the Daily Candy everywhere edition, thus increasing the size of their lucrative Daily Candy Newsletter Database (it can cost $100,000+ to advertise in a single DC newsletter). All of this to receive 80% off a designer we can score at Target.

Verdict: I love ya DailyCandy, I really do, but hmmm, do we really need another online sample sale site? What are you going to offer that I can’t find from one of the other sites that has popped up recently, thanks to the reported $500 million + (over) valuation of Gilt Groupe.  While I love the name (Swirl.com),  as a pioneer in the whole women-fashion-online-magazine space we expect more from you Daily Candy.  You’ve become, well, common. It’s like you’ve become the “Jersey Couture” of the online sample sale industry.