The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Inflated Prices at Urban

OK, so I know I'm a weirdo for posting this but check it out: A couple weeks ago, I purchased a bottle of L.A. Girl Flare Bright Delights Nail Laquer in Blazin' from Urban Outfitters (really crappy quality, I might add, but it had a retro charm that kept me using it.) Flash forward to yesterday, when I'm shopping at Forever 21 and spot the exact same nail polish--but what's this? The price is drastically lower! At Urban, I paid $5 for my bottle of L.A. Flare. At Forever 21, the more maligned fast-fashion retailer, I paid just $2.80 (see pics).

If my college thesis adviser were to see this post, he'd probably pass out, because this fact is trivial at best. But I think I might be on to something bigger here, I'm just not sure what it is. What makes Urban mark up the same exact product so much more than Forever 21? Why do they think they can get away with it? Apparently, it's all marketing. And if they can do it with nail polish, you better believe they're doing this with other products too.

they charge whatever they think they can smuggle out of you!
#1 gina (Homepage) on 2008-12-07 08:01 (Reply)
they definitely over price everything...i wouldnt be surprised if their cost of clothes they buy in order to sell is even more drastic

#2 Neira on 2008-12-07 09:50 (Reply)
UO has always been way overpriced to me, but this is pretty shocking - even though small. I love their selection, but can't bring myself to buy anything there that isn't on sale.
#3 onebrickshy (Homepage) on 2008-12-07 10:15 (Reply)
Sure the price points aren't terribly different, but still it's annoying...I bought the glittery purple option at Urban a few weeks back :-(
#4 Cupcakes and Cashmere (Homepage) on 2008-12-07 10:46 (Reply)
You know, I thought I was they only one who noticed this. I was there a couple of weeks ago looking around and saw a wallet there I liked. I looked at the price and was like 'heck no. I am not paying that much.'. I went to Forever21 and saw a very similar or I feel, the exact same one for much cheaper. Something fishy is going here....
#5 Addy on 2008-12-07 11:38 (Reply)
My theory is that UO targets to "cool kids" that have rich parents paying everything for them. Who else would pay $58 for a flimsy cotton skirt?
UO customers don't go to Forever 21, and that's probably why they mark up prices like they do.
#6 Amanda (Homepage) on 2008-12-07 12:52 (Reply)
I like to peruse the sale items online every now and then but that is it for my shopping at UO, and even then the item has to be completely original and totally special for me to throw money at them. I refuse to pay $30 for a plain t-shirt or leggings.

They do have a lot nerve but companies only get away with what we allow them to with our purchasing power.
#7 Lara (Homepage) on 2008-12-07 13:27 (Reply)
I completely agree with this post. I've actually never purchased anything from UO but I will go into their store and online to see what they've got-I'll even take pictures or make a list. Then I'll search places like Forever 21, Etsy, etc. They always have the things I see at UO and the prices are so much better!
#8 megan (Homepage) on 2008-12-07 15:25 (Reply)
From what I can tell Urban doesn't market itself as affordable, they consider themselves to be more of "premium" than a forever 21 so i'm sure they feel justified in charging more because they are a "premium" and they don't have to be reasonable.
#9 Jaime (Homepage) on 2008-12-07 16:18 (Reply)
I live in Chicago and noticed the same thing! Urban might have better quality items, but I am a Forever 21 girl because you can make the same outfits for much cheaper. I go to Urban for ideas then head over to XXI so I can spend the extra cash on my night out.
#10 Stephanie on 2008-12-07 20:06 (Reply)
I definitely agree that Urban's regularly priced items are too expensive...especially considering the fact that they don't have superior quality. However, their "bargain basement" offers great deals. I just bought a leather jacket there that was originally $378 for only $99. So, my advice is...frequent their baragin basement often and ignore most of the rest of the store.
#11 Shawna on 2008-12-07 21:11 (Reply)
I don't know if it's so much UrbanO overpricing, but Forever21 having the ability to bargain down their wholesale price... I was going to order some Fluff brand luggage tags to sell on my online store... they're wholesale price to me was $4 a peice (way too expensive wholesale by the way)...then the other day while shopping at forever21 i saw the exact same Fluff tags for $4 retail! So my wholesale price (which i'd have to have marked up to sell on my store to make some kind of profit) was selling for the same price at retail in Forever21... same brand, same style. =/

Anyway, i didn't end up getting the tags to sell because of this reason...
#12 Banana An (Homepage) on 2008-12-07 21:55 (Reply)
Urban outfitters can be so overpriced. I love my forever 21. No matter how often I try to break away from xxi, I just can't, their prices cannot and will not be beat.
#13 Amy (Homepage) on 2008-12-07 22:34 (Reply)
Charlotte Russe does the same thing. The occasionally will have the exact same shoes as F21 but $10 to $15 higher. They all buy from same low-end shoe manufacturers like Wild Diva, Anne Michelle, Delicious, etc. Charlotte Russe is in the same category as F21 (super cheap, fast fashion) so I don't get their rational for the markup.
#14 budget chic (Homepage) on 2008-12-08 08:39 (Reply)
WOW. I buy the same brand and the same color from UO and never knew Forever 21 sold it cheaper!! Thanks for the earth shattering revelation! Yes, the quality is pretty crappy, but I love that it dries quick and when polished off with a top coat the color pops like whoa.
#15 Ida on 2008-12-10 17:23 (Reply)
It is really weird! I used to see this on wholesale for a buck or so, and even on cherryculture it's $4. I never buy anything from Urban Outfitters unless it's on sale because of things like this!
#16 Kristen (Homepage) on 2009-01-11 18:40 (Reply)
well one of the reasons why F21 is cheaper than UO is probably because they buy mass quantities from the wholesaler compared to UO so they can afford to sell if for a lot cheaper. It goes something like that...
#17 foreliseplease on 2009-02-01 21:48 (Reply)
Forever 21 clothes fall apart when you wach them...UO does have much better quality than F21 for sure. You do get what you pay for when you shop at Forever.
#17.1 discochic on 2009-02-13 18:24 (Reply)
Forevers clothes are right on trend and I do not find them cheap in quality compared to Old Navy and even Target in some cases fall apart much faster. I actually have some Forever pieces that have lasted me for several years esp. their jewelry!
#18 shoppingirl on 2012-02-07 18:32 (Reply)
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