As you may have read, I had a very busy last couple of weeks. Right before BlogHer, I attended a fabulous Sara Lee Summit, then a couple of days after BlogHer, I flew to Boston to attend a TJMaxx & Marshalls Summit.
After BlogHer, I had a day and a half ‘layover’ in Chicago. This was a great time and very well needed to relax and recuperate from the madness and busy times at BlogHer. Oh, and I was in Chicago and had extra time to spare, so where do I go?
IKEA baby! I drove a MiniVan, so I had a list of stuff to get for our kitchen, bedroom and for the kids.
On Tuesday morning, I got up and flew to Boston. I would not advise ANYONE to drive themselves to a large airport such as O’Hare. Oh. Holy. Crap.I got there, thought I was doing well, until I pulled my van in to the parking lot that Limo’s and Taxi’s were supposed to be in. Whoops. So, after 20 minutes of driving around like a looney toon, I finally found parking lot “E”. Yeah – so all the lots were one, so why name this one “E”? Oh, its to confuse us ‘out of towners’. That’s my guess. Well, I got parked, hopped on the train thingy at the airport, whirled over to my terminal, got checked on. Ah, I had a seat! YAY YAY! Don’t get me started on not having a seat. 😡 Once I arrived to Boston, I caught a cab with Jacqueline at the airport. Uh. The cabbies need a bit of a smile and friendly lesson if you ask me. Rude, much? Well, once I walked in to the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, my jaw dropped!
I have never stayed in a place this gorgeous before! The staff was truly the BEST I have ever seen. Thank you Fairmont Copley Plaza for your hospitality!
I was so excited to have gotten an early flight. I had time to take a nice nap and a long hot bath before we were to meet the other bloggers downstairs, along with the awesome reps from TJMaxx & Marshalls.
Once everyone was downstairs, we walked to the Cottonwood Café. It was just a couple of blocks and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful!
It was just a couple of blocks, but holy moly – I have never seen so many people walking! Of course, if I lived in Boston, I wouldn’t own a car and would walk everywhere too. Lots of traffic! Once we arrived, we all mingled and had very colorful margaritas at the Cottonwood Café
I had a great time chatting with some awesome reps and bloggers, then we had dinner. I am a ‘meat-a-tarian’, so this was my kind of meal!
Then we had the best dessert (yes, at Cottonwood Café) Drool. I know you are.
The next morning, we got up and all met downstairs where the Limo bus took us to the TJMaxx/Marshalls main offices. I was in heaven, but darn it, I realized that I forgot my good camera. Doh! So, I took a lot of pictures with my BlackBerry.
When we got in, we had to get checked in with the front desk. I was stuck in the “Visitor Lane” for about 10 minutes and the goofy thing kept beeping for us to close the gates. I was laughing so hard at this gate! I was just waiting to get slammed in the butt by it.
Once we made it past the frisky Visitor Lane gate, we got our pictures taken for our visitor badges. They said we had to return them once we were done, so I had to snap a picture.
I think they knew we were all massive TJMaxx & Marshalls fans, so they didn’t want us to sneak back in the building and do some after hours shopping. 😆 I wanted to keep my badge because I liked my picture. Hmph.
Once we got all checked in, we were welcomed with this sign before we entered the main room.
I was about to enter heaven. I was ready with open ears to learn more about the people behind the companies that I truly love (and spend a lot of money at 😆 ).
Once we got inside the conference room, we were welcomed with awesome gift bags for our kids! I forgot to take a picture. 😳 They were large and awesome reusable tote bags with adorable turtles on them and they were filled with some back to school goodies for our kids and a comfy plush robe for us mommies. Ah, I love my robe! Don’t tell hubby, but I have mine hidden. Mine. ALL mine. BWWAAHHH!!
The meeting was about to start, so with our yummy breakfast, we started eating, chatting and getting anxiously excited to learn about the company!
After discussing a lot of powerful things about the two stores (I have noted below!), we were lead to a room that made us all drool. Seriously. If I could, I would buy this entire room in a heartbeat. My kids would be set on clothes for so long, for a great price!
Wardrobe on the wall
I am sooooo going to watch TJMaxx & Marshalls for their Halloween Costumes this year. I am madly in LOVE with this Ladybug costume that was shown and passed around.
I REALLY want this for Kambry because we call her Buggie/ LadyBug.
- I learned that you DON’T have to spend a fortune to look like a million bucks.
- I learned that you can NOT tell the difference in TJMaxx & Marshalls clothing verses the major retailers. Same items for a fraction of the cost!
- I learned that getting your kids ready for back to school doesn’t have to break the bank.
- I learned that you can get quality items for a fraction of the cost.
- I learned how to stretch my dollar.
- I learned that you don’t have to go to the mall or a huge retailer to buy the name brands that you love.
- I learned that I wish I was still in high school so that I can look this adorable. 😆
- I learned that the guys in school these days are much cuter than the ones that I went to school with. Who knew?
- I learned that you can get your entire family top quality items, for lower prices and still have enough cash leftover to take them to dinner!
- I learned that not only can you clothe your family, you can also get them back to school supplies, backpacks, clothing accessories, shoes, house ware needs and SO SO much more for a portion of what you would think you can buy them for.
- Oh, and I learned that you can get HUGE name brand handbags at TJMaxx & Marshalls. What? YUP! In fact, if you remember, I posted that I won a gorgeous Gucci Bag while I was at the event!! My jaw fell to the floor with excitement!
Thank you to Susan from 5 Minutes For Mom for capturing this fun video of us on the Limo Bus on the way to the airport. It was a pleasure meeting you!
Once everything was over with, we were taken to the airport and had to say our goobye’s. On my way through the airport, I noticed this sign at the security check point. I find this quite comical! I mean.. come on airport – can you not afford to get a new sign, or even some white out? 😆 Does this mean that they USE to allow some knives on board? Signs that make you go ‘hmmmm’,. Leave it up to me to snap a picture, huh?
Here are some things that I learned from my trip!
- I leaned that with Off Price 101 with Laura, she is addicted to waterslides and her TiVo. 😆 Laura was so awesome! Everyone was!
What is off price retailing?
- Brand name, designer merchandise at great prices
o Merchandise has ‘compare to’ prices to show you your savings
- Rapidly changing assortments
- Aggressive inventory management
- Low cost structure
- Substantially lower prices than department and specialty store regular prices
- Treasure hunt experience: FUN!
Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt? I love treasure hunts for shopping. I love shopping for bargains! No, you won’t have to fight for that bargain. You will know it when you see it! This is my kind of shopping!
There are 2200+ stores worldwide.
You will pay at least 60% less than department and specialty stores. Another fab reason to love them!
Did you know that in 1996 TJMaxx acquired Marshalls? I had no idea!
WHAT IT’S NOT:
- NOT all past season
o Over 85% current season fashion.. same merchandise As dept/specialty stores
o Less than 15% : non trend driven like hosiery, white towels, holiday gift wrap. Buy, hold, put out at the right time.
- Not all damaged goods
o Over 95% is first quality
o Less than 5% is irregular.. If so, clearly marked on price take and unnoticeable to the customer. Usually at an amazing value!
- Not any seconds or lower quality version… same level of goods, same exact goods as sold for higher price, elsewhere.
How they do give us the lowest prices for the best items?
- Flexible stores/flexible buying
- Buy often/weekly, instead of seasonally
- Buy closer to need
o Buy smarter: better on trends and price!
o Typically buys over 5 weeks out
- Over 10,000 vendors in 60+ countries
- Buying power: over 1600 stores, buying offices around the world
- We buy it, we own it
Not all stores carry the same product. This is a minus, but is also a plus. If you see something in one store, it may not be in another store, but with the way they purchase items, this will give you the lowest prices for that season!
Unlike major retailers, you don’t have to wait for a sale to get the best prices. The prices are always low!
Get lower prices by buying various quantities and purchasing items that other companies don’t need/want.
Buyers try to buy a variety and newest/hottest trends, but may not be in the stores the next season
You will not see food/seasonal food that is ‘out of season’. TJX follows required food laws. This was brought up because the stores may, at times, carry seasonal foods such as chocolate for Valentine’s Day or Easter Candy.
Not allowed to ‘promote’ larger brand names that are in store, but they are definitely offered in store for a much lower price!
30 day return policy with receipt
Who is our core customer?
- Majority female 25-54
- Middle – upper income
- Fashion and value conscious
- Shops high end dept and specialty stores.. recognizes value
- Positive outlook on life (glass half full)
- Expert scanners, open minded, creative, trusts gut instinct, easy going, classy & trendy
- Likes classic and trendy
I had no idea, but did you know that there are 15 stores in Puerto Rico? Yup! And growing more each year!
TJMaxx & Marshalls: what’s the difference?
- Marshalls: footwear, larger mends dept, suits, sport coats… the cube: hub, in store boutique of contemporary labels
- TJMaxx: the runway at TJMaxx (48 stores + flow) , beauty dept, more plus size fashions, jewelry dept: 14kt, silver, pearls, gemstones, sunglasses, watches
Toy selection at TJMaxx & Marshalls is equal. Gotta love toys!
Dual brand advertising: Commercials featuring both brands.
Off price philosophy: The right merchandise, in the right place, at the right time, for the right price!
RE-THINK RETAIL: Off-price is a BETTER WAY TO SHOP! Seriously – this is the best way to get the styles and brands you love and save so much money!
After the event, we were taken to the best TJMaxx & Marshalls stores that I have ever seen! We were able to go shopping and I have to say that I made $100 in each store last and LAST. In fact, I went to the event with two suitcases: One inside the other. 😉 When I came home, my large suitcase was packed with some fabulous back to school clothes for Tucker. I managed to get Kambry some cute and affordable things as well as myself just a couple of things AND I still walked away with $40.00 to spare! 😯 What? Yes! I believe I came home with about 7 full outfits for Tucker, 2 for Kambry, a gorgeous Pettiskirt that I couldn’t walk away from and I ended up with a pair of flip flops for me (my shoes were killing me) and 3 full outfits for myself. Seriously – I have never gotten that many outfits and single pieces in one place for less than $200.00!
Another thing that I learned: I am 100% a TJMaxx & Marshalls girl! I thought this around the holidays, but after meeting the people behind the company and experiencing things from their end, I am very excited to say that I am a very happy TJMaxx/Marshalls Mommy!
TJMaxx & Marshalls has something for everyone!
For more information and to locate a store near you (or you can do what I do and drive 83 miles just to go to the stores 😆 ) visit these links:
@gograhamgo, @fashionablegal, @acowboyswife, @petit_elefant, @onechicmama, @alliworthington, @ADramaticMommy,@audreymcclellan, @bostonmamas, @5minutesformom, @susancarraretto, @mommieswithcent, @stacieinatlanta, @akblessings, @jentifa, @3PsinaPod, @mommygoggles, @busymomblog, @jodigrundig, @mindicherry
I do have to say that I am really sad that I didn’t bring my main camera, but I am really excited with how all these pictures turned out! I was asked a few times in some posts what phone I have, so to let you all know, all images and video from this post were taken with my BlackBerry 8900 Curve.