Here’s a super hot idea for your charity auction items list.
Fashionistas know that Fashion Week happens twice a year — once in the spring (usually March) to showcase fall fashions, and again in the fall (usually September), to showcase spring fashions. It’s held in several cities around the world (New York, Paris, Milan, London, etc.). I’ve only sold tickets to New York.
The tickets sell for a few thousand dollars without hotel or transportation.
Why are these tickets so desirable? And how do you get them?
Fashion Week is held in Bryant Park, a centrally located park in Manhattan, though organizers are considering moving Fashion Week to Lincoln Center in 2010. A number of large tents sporting runways dot the park. Designers can rent the tent space to showcase their collections, but hosting a show is expensive so not all designers have the cash required. A new designer might opt to only show in Paris’ Fashion Week, whereas a larger fashion house might have a show in each city.
From morning until night, a tent can be busy hosting shows. A lesser-known designer might be in the tent in the morning. Later that day, a well-known icon might be hosting a show in that same tent.
When I’ve sold Fashion Week, I’m not selling tickets to every runway show during the event. Either I am selling tickets to a specific show (for instance, the Badgley Mischka show), or I’m selling tickets to a specific show which has yet to be decided by the donor.
The tickets are popular because most people would never be able to attend this type of event … or wouldn’t think to investigate how they could attend.
In our minds, Fashion Week lives in the domain of the rich and famous, where the paparazzi cameras are constantly flashing, the models arrive breathlessly from their last job, and celebrities are whisked inside to sit in front row seats. The music is intense, the excitement is high, and the vibe that is New York is in the air. (And that description is pretty accurate.)
Even the average New Yorker can’t easily obtain tickets.
Some of you know that I work part-time as a plus-size model. I’m in New York every month or so for a shoot and have a chance to socialize with the local girls. Even they — living in New York City — aren’t privy to seats. One of my fit model friends volunteers as a “dresser” in order to get a glimpse of the action. (A dresser is someone who stands backstage to help rapidly dress the models as they exit the runway. The bustling activity is similar to the frenzy of a pit crew changing tires and fueling a car at a NASCAR race.)
With that information as your backdrop, imagine that you — a stay-at-home Mom, or a professional woman wanting to treat yourself, or an adventurous gal with some extra cash — have the opportunity to buy two tickets at your charity auction to attend this event.
Who wouldn’t want to go!? What a great trip for two BFs, or just a memorable Mother-Daughter experience.
But how do you get tickets?
It’s about working your connections. The donations I’ve seen have come from department stores.
Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales … whatever department store serves your city is a good target. Buyers from those stores attend Fashion Week seeking trends and ideas.
Ask the best dressed woman on your auction committee where she shops. If she’s spending money in a specific department store, that’s the best place to start.
One of my client’s volunteers consistently used free personal shopping services at a local department store. She shared with her personal shopper that she wanted to secure tickets to Fashion Week for her charitable cause. Eventually she was connected to the right person. Work it, girl!
Furthermore, because of the fluidity of the schedule, the purchasers of the tickets may not know until a week or so prior as to which day a specific show will be held. It’s best to let guests know that Fashion Week is September XX through XX, and the show will occur on one of those days. For instance, if my charity auction is in March, but the tickets are not good until September, even the organizers of New York’s Fashion Week don’t yet know which designers will be appearing.
P.S. Here’s a free tool that will help you generate cool ideas like this.
You can learn 100 other top-selling items (like this potato cannon) by getting my free Auction Item Guide. It’s the best items I sold in gala auctions around the country, last year.