I am not a patient shopper. Sure, I like to browse but I don’t want to have to work for it. Stores like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx (owned by the same company, by the way), Ross Dress for Less and Filene’s Basement do have excellent deals but you really have to wade through the unorganized racks and man, it’s work and I believe shopping shouldn’t be painful even if it’s at a discount. That’s why I was more than pleasantly surprised to discover the discount designer paradise that is Daffy’s. I had shopped the racks when I lived in Manhattan but wasn’t aware that they carried clothing for newborns through tweens or toys.
I was invited to visit the pop-up store in Manhattan’s West Village that showcases their fall fashion for infants, toddlers and kids last week (the temporary store closes September 5) where I spoke to one of their buyers about their philosophy and trends for fall. A week later, I visited their East Hanover, NJ store to explore their typical store offerings. (A $50 gift card helped me expense the purchases that ended up totaling at least $150!)
According to kids’ buyer Lily Estrada, Daffy’s aim is to offer great value, with a focus on percentage off versus specific price points and high-end brands. Case in point, a toddler girl’s silk dress was priced at around $70 which many moms may consider extremely high but considering the brand (Room Seven) and original price ($150), it’s a great deal. Most items are discounted by 40-80% original suggested retail price.
With an emphasis on domestic and Italian brands, you’ll find labels you may have heard of before as well as discover new ones. New brands for Daffy’s this fall include Feu Follet and Magnolia Baby while brands they’re bringing back include Room Seven, Mariella Burani, Patrizia Pepe, Absorba and One Kid. Lily told me that she and her fellow buyer Olga Galan try to strike a balance between mom-appreciated styles that are modern, functional, with an emphasis on comfort and value such as Tea Collection and “grandma-bait” such as Grandma Nes which tends to be more embellished, dressier, and have traditional styling like smocking.
The big fashion trends you’ll see at Daffy’s as well as other retailers will bring you back to your school days with lots of denim, pea coats and boots and palettes of plaids, red, grey, and black and white. However, since my mini-fashionista prefers pink, I had to stick to that limited palette — hopefully your kids are more adventurous! During my visit to the store, I picked up perfect-for-preschool illusion long-sleeve dresses from Baby Nay ($52 at retail, $20 at Daffy’s) and Kid One ($44 at retail, $12 at Daffy’s) and a sweatshirt material skirt from Room Seven ($45 at retail, $20 at Daffy’s). I could have easily snapped up tons of sleepers for our Baby Brother due in November. When I ventured into the kid’s shoe department — conveniently located next to the toys! — I found a large variety of casual, dressy and athletic styles from Naturino, Geox, Roberto Cavalli, Western Chief, Tretorn, Valencia and Moschino. There, I bought a pair of patent gun-metal Mary Janes by Naturino (approx $70 at retail, $36 at Daffy’s).
The toy section has a great selection of educational books and toys from faves like eeBoo, Alex Toys, Melissa & Doug, Elmer’s, as well as licensed products from Mattel and Hasbro. At the pop-up store, I bought a set of 25 colored pencils in an adorable tin and coordinating sketch pad from eeBoo. The baby department is merchandised cleverly with plush from Gund and Carter’s so completing a baby gift is easy.
With 18 locations in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia, it’s definitely a local thing but a real treasure. In fact, if you find yourself visiting NYC, consider a visit here in addition to or instead of the famous downtown Century 21. Find a store closest to you!