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Guerilla Shopper

Shopaholics rejoice! Your addiction is finally cost effective thanks to the effects of Laura Schooler. This couture crusader started a blog called Guerilla Shopper – a spot dedicated to sharing the best deals that can be found in zips across New York. It’s not just fashion either. Schooler also covers the city’s second passion: food. No sample sale is too obscure, no prix fixe too far to miss the roving eye of this on sale savior. So next time you’ve got some cash to burn, spend it wisely with a little help from your Guerilla Shopper.

Tell us about your blog: what is the premise, what are your main coverage areas, how did you get started? I’ve been beating retail at its own game since the 80s! For decades I have been keeping my shopping techniques secret. People always ask me, “where did you get that!?” I rarely gave a straight answer because I didn’t want others to encroach upon my style. But now I’m older, wiser, and more willing to share. While I make a decent living, I am not independently wealthy by any means. I grew up in a very middle class way as the child of Midwestern parents, so I’m fairly down to earth. However, my shopping technique has allowed me to own tons of great stuff…without being in any debt…EVER.

What brought you to New York?

Ever since I was a wee lass with real blond hair, I set my sights on living in New York City. I was actually born near the Upper East Side and grew up in a small New Jersey town less than 15 miles away, so it may not seem like such a lofty goal. However, my parents instilled a deep love and appreciation for NYC, which made my yearning to live there something of a necessity and not just a mere desire. Dwelling in New York is not a “phase” for me. It is my life. Even when I leave to go to other grand cities like London or LA, I always feel a deep sense of relief upon my return.

What do you love about living in New York?

I guess my New York lust is indicative of my personality. I always like having things to do and desire constant action near my home base, to where I can quickly return if I am so moved. Where else better to fulfill those needs than New York?

What do you think makes a New Yorker?

I think a real, true New Yorker is someone who is always up for the next new adventure, no matter how big or small, and is able to make a funny, interesting story about all of his or her experiences. And then integrate those experiences into their “personal being” to ensure that future experiences will be even better and more exciting.

What surprises you about New York or New Yorkers?

I think what most people are surprised by when dealing with New Yorkers is how willing to help they are. I’m not sure that it’s because we are such a wonderful bunch of people, I think it goes along with the idea that we are all looking for a new experience and adventure, and who knows where that might turn up. So helping someone out may turn into a great story or a new connection that can lead you to something grand.

When you leave New York, what do you miss the most?

When I leave New York I miss having these kinds of spontaneous interactions with people, places and things.

Do you know any tricks or insider info?

Some people’s parents teach them the family business or how to meet a rich spouse or how to cook. Not me. My parents taught me how TO SHOP. If you love clothes, shoes, food & drink as much as I do, then you are in luck: I am your feet on the street in New York, telling you where to get great stuff at a good deal. Follow me as I trek through the shops and restaurants of New York on your behalf.

Best corny tourist attraction that you secretly love?

Perhaps stereotypical of a New Yorker, I don’t find myself at many typical tourist attractions. I’ve never been to the top of the Empire State Building, never to the Statue of Liberty, I’m not a big fan of Broadway, etc. But, I do love my annual jaunt to Coney Island/Brighton Beach, which will continue to become more of a tourist attraction for years to come, I suspect.

Best neighborhood bar?

The best neighborhood joint in my neighborhood is the Rodeo Bar & Grill, hands down. Good food, drink and free live music.

Best late night joint?

Well, I don’t do late nights like I used to, but I guess I’d have to say L’Express on PAS – they serve food until all hours and you can get quite a “show” in there, depending on what time you arrive.

Last cultural thing that you did (movie, museum, theatre, etc…)?

The last cultural thing I did was attend an art auction in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at which I didn’t buy anything, except a couple of drinks.

Best fancy schmancy restaurant?

I don’t get to go to enough fancy schmancy restaurants, and now that my dad is retired, I can’t even rely on him to take me anymore. However, we did recently go to the Gramercy Tavern and the food and atmosphere – and the hooker in the bright yellow mini dress from the 80s – were excellent.

Best place to meet members of the opposite sex?

My friend is going to kill me for letting the cat out of the bag on this one, but the best bar to meet members of the opposite sex is Marshall Stack on Rivington St. Seems like men over the age of 28 are in there actually looking to talk to women in the same age group.

Best new fashion trends / brands that you are loving?

Not exactly a fashion trend, but something that I have been most pleased with during the past couple of years is that shoes and boots have really upped the ante. There was a phase there in the 90s where I could hardly find a pair I liked, but now I am overwhelmed with the selection that not only suits my tastes, but also encourages me to take some fashion risks that I might not have taken before. Oh, and one request to the footwear designers who are reading this: please keep making tall leather boots that fit around normal sized calves. Thank you. My favorite brand? Well I find myself in Club Monaco’s sale section all too often, but on a more elite scale, I can’t believe the genius behind Marc Jacobs. And while I can’t afford to buy even a T-shirt, I am blown away by his style sensitivities, and perhaps more than that, his marketing approach! Other brands large and small should take note.

Check out more places to shop in Dress Code

What are your best picks for bargain shopping in New York?

Post a comment below and let us know where you get your thrifty threads.

  • By Suits – 08-20-08 at 12:36 pm

    It’s part guerilla marketing, part digital theater, much hype and a whole lot of fun. Suits

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