What does it take to stage a successful designer trunk show? Good timing. Partnering with a designer with proven traction in your market. A thoughtful, 360-degree promotional strategy. And, yes, a little bit of pixie dust to make sure everything goes according to plan.
“In general, it seems like the stars need to align just right for a really successful show,” says Debbie Klein, owner of Art + Soul Boulder, which recently hosted a 275-piece trunk show with New York–based designer, Alex Sepkus. “We basically follow the same procedure to promote every show, checking the calendar for holidays, university events, football games, and anything else that we think might affect the traffic in the store. Then we contact as many people as we can, do our best to promote the event, and then sit back and cross our fingers.
“The traditional trunk show model is not as effective as it once was in general, but when you have a great weekend, like we did with Alex’s amazing work, it’s all worthwhile. In fact, I can directly connect about $20,000 in sales [to]…an ad we took in the local paper, which we don’t usually do.”
Below, a breakdown of the elements that went into staging the Art + Soul x Alex Sepkus trunk show, including a peek at the event’s best-sellers.
2. PROMOTIONAL TACTICS
– Direct Mail (5,000 postcard invitations)
– Email Blast (to subscriber base of 2,000)
– Phone calls (to in-state clients who had previously purchased or specifically expressed interest in the designer’s work)
– Full-page advertisement in local lifestyle magazine (pictured above)
– Ad in local paper (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday editions)
– Social Media (Facebook event page, Instagram posts ahead of the show and “live” during the show)
“It’s hard to say how many people attended,” says Klein. “We are on a busy downtown street next to two popular brunch spots, so we had lots of traffic, including several walk-ins just strolling Pearl Street for the day. In terms of the number of people who came in specifically for the show, it was more than I expected. You know it’s a good trunk show when none of us has time for a real lunch break!”
4. TOP PERFORMERS
“Alex’s Candy Band is our best-selling Sepkus piece…[it] can work as a bridal piece either with another band or a solitaire, or as a right-hand ring,” says Klein. “This trunk show was no exception—the Alex Sepkus team tends to bring lots of Candy Bands with special color mixes to our store events, as we always sell many of them, and clients come in specifically to see the options. Alex is able to customize the colored stone mix on request as well.”
“The Dancing Squares Huggie, a new style for the brand, is becoming a client favorite,” says Klein. “She gets two different looks: She can wear the earring with the stones visible in front, or just the textured gold facing out on its own. We had a really great response to this design at the trunk show and will continue to stock this earring as a great staple.”
“We had a few morganite rings during this show, and they received quite a bit of attention. This one appears in a Lake Garda setting, one of Alex’s newer mountings. It’s a more streamlined version of a traditional cocktail ring, and because the stone is so neutral (and really pretty!) clients were able to see the ring as something that could be worn every day—perfect for the Boulder lifestyle, which is generally more casual.”
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