My fellow fashionistas and I hit the street in force last weekend for Fashion's Night Out at Water Tower Place. (If you're aren't familiar, it's a big ol' fashion-focused shopping event. —ed.) Our expectation was fun and fabulocity, but as we cavorted from event to event it became apparent that not all parties are created equal.
There were, however, some standout moments in this retail extravaganza that made all the hair-killing humidity worth it. These big extras take your party from good to great and certainly will make people feel warm, fuzzy and loyal when they think about your brand... so, fellow entrepreneur, let these four standout experiences inspire your event-hosting superbness.
Fame, Fashion & Flavor, 900's Night Out at the 900 Shops
This energetic event featured a beauty-bazaar salon at Mario Tricoci with free lash extensions, mini manis and more. There were post-makeover photo-ops, Gilt City tasting of some of Chicago's yummiest, and, as expected when Chicago Social and 900 North are involved, a fashion show. If you loved being rewarded for your shop-a-holism this was your day -- not only were stores having sales and offering incentives, but if you spent $1,000 or more you were admitted to the Brad Goreski (fashion guru, Bravo TV) VIP lounge where you could sip on craft beers by BridgePort Brewing and Trumer Pils and Grey Goose cocktails, and hobnob on comfy couches with Brad and the Chicago glitterati.
Exclusive launch of BAND-AID Brand by Cynthia Rowley
Launching designer Band-Aides during Fashion's Night Out? Brilliant! You don't get any more timely than that -- and when you add in a serving of Sprinkles cupcakes, well, it is my childhood done all over again, except more stylishly. In place of the stodgy old pink designs were bandages gussied up with images of gems, lace, sequins, and gold.
Saks Fifth Avenue Official Unveiling of 10022-Shoe
The event was on the third floor, but the experience started at the door. Sales consultants greeted with a sincere and welcoming smile -- and VP/General manager Jeff Byron was the epitome of graciousness. The shoe-salon launch was filled with a diverse group of lovely people -- it was nice to share a house-music appreciation moment with a grandmotherly type who spent most of her time dancing to DJ Madrid's hot beats. Champagne was flowing (with the neat flute attachment that made serving quick, and post-party clean up a bit easier), and the featured shoe collection by Chicago-born Brad Atwood as well as other well-known designers was enough to take your breath away.
Rudeness can kill even the most fabulous party and your chances for something amazing. So business owners, make sure anyone attached to your brand, from celeb to security, understands the power of nice. Saks gets it, as my brief pause at the Penhaligon's fragrance area resulted in a great conversation with Richard, the sales consultant, who was able to pick a sexy fragrance for me (Artemisia) and my hubby (Endymion) and wow me with the Greek mythology behind the pair.
FNO with Macy's on State Street
Loved the Kelly Osbourne personal appearance and how it was executed; Kelly was open, likable, and the questions asked by the spokesperson provided the audience with some organized get-to-know-you-time with the face of the Material Girl Collection. The first 75 guests to make an affordable $35 Material Girl purchase had a photo-op with Kelly, which had to make some young (or youngish) person's year.
Jetta Bates-Vasilatos is founder of Twist Communications and a life stylist with 10+ years of award-winning consumer engagement/strategic planning experience for luxury and global brands like BMW and Coca-Cola. She also serves as an on-air correspondent and writer with a focus on luxury and experiential tourism, lifestyle, sustainability, and personal finance (how to be chic yet savvy). Jetta has appeared on stations such as WCIU-TV, KBS-TV(Korea), ABC-7, CLTV and KBC-TV (Kenya), writes for national print publications such as Essence, Recommend, Ebony and HomeStyle Design and is the host of the Jettasetting segment on WVON radio.