How Bernie Robbins Jewelers Stoked Excitement for a Virtual Trunk Show

Bernie Robbins Jewelers hosts a trunk show with jewelry designer Penny Preville every year. But with the ongoing spread of COVID-19, throwing the in-store event was impossible. Still, company owner Maddy Rovinsky didn’t want to skip a year—Bernie Robbins’ Preville fans have always looked forward to the event, and Rovinsky has partnered with the designer (now also a friend) since the late 1980s. 

Plans for a virtual trunk show were soon underway. The event, dubbed Penny & Pinot, went on the books for Aug. 18, and the invite list was created.

Then Rovinsky did something that would all but ensure robust attendance to the event: She hand-delivered elegant invitations (using pearlized stationery) and a gift package that included “a few of Penny’s favorite things.”

Clients were treated to a stylish insulated wine tote; a bottle of Santa Margherita pinot grigio (Preville’s favorite wine); an individually wrapped, homemade chocolate chip cookie sourced locally from the Beachin’ Bakery in Ocean City, N.J.; and a custom-designed mask embellished with a beautiful sequin butterfly (blue is Preville’s favorite color). 

“The receipt of an elegant gift prior to the event created an eager anticipation for the evening,” Rovinsky says. “We hosted a small intimate group of guests—fans, buyers, and new customers. Attendees were interested in seeing both Penny and her new collection.”

Penny Preville gift bag wrapped
The Bernie Robbins Jewelers’ Penny Preville gift bag that was personally dropped to invitees pre-event

Virtual trunk shows can be a little…dry. But Rovinsky’s preshow gift put the wine in clients’ hands and helped create a lovely sense of occasion that’s often missing in digital events.

Rovinsky opened the event with a warm welcome and a celebratory toast, then chatted about the history, working relationship, and friendship she and Preville have enjoyed for decades. Preville shared new pieces and personal favorites, detailing the inspirations behind each. She modeled some of the pieces while displaying others on jewelry forms. Virtual lookbooks were made available via shared screen to provide guests with a closer view, and interaction was encouraged. One of the guests, a longtime Preville fan, wore her own collection of the designer’s past pieces to the event.

How did it go? Sales “exceeded our expectations,” says Rovinsky. “We had the trunk available in stores for purchase both pre- and post-virtual show. The collection was also conveniently available for purchase online for those customers who prefer to shop remotely or in the comfort of their own home.” She added that the store is still receiving comments, inquiries, and sales from the event.

“For our first event of its kind, it went extremely well,” she adds. “Our clients were excited. Additionally, they enjoyed being in the virtual company of others. Many of the invitees have been self-quarantining in their homes, so for them it felt like an evening out. We allotted a half-hour for the event and it went on for a full hour.” 

Top: An unwrapped Penny Preville gift bag (all photos courtesy of Bernie Robbins Jewelers)

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JCK Magazine Editor