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July 2012
Ladies’ Night … Done Right By Lisa Moses

Here's a glimpse into one event that's become a perennial sellout — Girls' Night at Molbak's Garden + Home.

Over the last three years — and with some lessons learned along the way — Girls’ Night at Molbak’s Garden + Home, Woodinville, Wash., has grown into an event that we expect to sell out.

This is an event where no one arrives alone. Guests come with a group or meet up with a group or come with their sister or mother or neighbor. Loaded with positive energy before the holidays, it really is a social, shopping event.

Here are a some details about our Girls’ Night, along with a few keys to ensure its continued success.

Timing is Everything

We hold the event the Thursday before Thanksgiving. This is a time when the customers are transitioning into the holiday season. They’re thinking about gift-giving.

Anything closer to Thanksgiving and we risk losing them to Thanksgiving cooking and travel. So, to us, this seemed like the perfect time.

The event runs from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. For the Girls’ Night we hosted on November 17, 2011, we sold the same amount in those 2½ hours as we did the whole day leading up to it.

As for ticket sales, we sold out for the third year in a row at 550 tickets at $20 each. Ticket sales help cover food, staffing, printing and musician costs.

We’ve let our ticket sales hover around the same total each year. This is our “at capacity” amount. It’s a number where we have enough shopping carts and parking spaces for guests, and our staff can still provide excellent customer service.

Main Attractions

Each attendee received a complimentary glass of sparkling wine at the event, and a sprig of mistletoe as a parting gift. Assorted finger desserts were also offered. We keep the food light — no plates — so the emphasis stays on shopping.

We ran three well-attended mini seminars on decorating, tying bows and designing living arrangements. All were taught by our in-house designers.

We had an area with 12 great “Enter To Win” prizes. Each attendee was able to enter to win three of their choice. This is a very popular activity at the event. Each prize was valued at $50. The prizes showcased every department of our store and showed how to present products as gifts.

Additionally, we hired in live music and an event photographer. The only “other” business included in this event was actually across the street from us — InSpa — which offers beauty services and massages. The company donated their time for the event and provided 10-minute neck and arm massages.

With their contributions, InSpa earned a chance to share brochures and physically touch potential clientele — their target market. Like us, it was good timing for them, right before the holidays.

Howdy, Partner

Our beneficiary for this event is the YWCA. Our owner’s wife is on the YWCA board and this arrangement has proven to be a win-win for both parties.

We raised more than $5,200 for the YWCA at this event, which came from a percentage of sales, plus the proceeds from ticket sales.

We’ve learned that its never too early to start talking and planning for an event like this. Our beneficiary is really good at asking a lot of different businesses for help throughout the year, which includes regional wineries. It’s not uncommon for those wineries to ask the YWCA, “How can we help you support your efforts this year?” In response, this year, YWCA will try to use their relationships to get wine donated to us for the Ladies Night event, which will save us a few thousand dollars in cost.

Also, while we do promote Girls’ Night exclusively through our loyalty program, we will create a press release, too. And because there is a beneficiary, our local papers are usually happy to support the YWCA. We’ve learned that it is important to pick a partner that resonates with the papers. After all, our event really promotes women supporting women, and that’s a great holiday message.

Here’s a glimpse into one event that’s become a perennial sellout — Girls’ Night at Molbak’s Garden + Home.

Lisa Moses

Lisa Moses is the Manager of Marketing at Molbak's Garden + Home, Woodinville, Wash. She can be reached at [email protected]


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