Healthy Food in Fashion Gala

Join me at this event for a worthy cause. Helping NYC school children get healthier plant-based options on their plates. October 12, 2011 @ 6:30pm at the New York Academy of Medicine.

Join me October 12th for a worthy cause! Doctors have proven “positive associations between intakes of red meat and processed meat and risk of type 2 diabetes.” A Harvard study shows that “replacing just one serving a day with nuts…can lower the risk.” After 18 years of studies Dr. T. Colin Campbell showed the association between high animal protein diets and cancer. School age children are now contracting diseases that were before only in adults. First Lady, Michelle Obama changed the USDA pyramid to a plate which now shows that eating beans and other legumes as a protein instead of meat is healthy. Their message is eat less fat and cholesterol and eat more vegetables and fruits. See the new food plate here: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

Buy Tickets Here: Healthy Food in Fashion 2011 Gala Fundraiser

Speaking Volumes with a Silent Auction for the LCF

When The Lynne Cohen Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research hosted its 8th annual New York benefit fundraiser wine auction, their 2011 goals were to  expand attendance and increase the prior year’s contributions for cancer research and awareness. The perfect backdrop for every successful event is one that tells the story without a word, so the Italian Wine Merchants in Union Square, NYC was chosen where wines are showcased on mahogany shelves amid aromas of fresh Italian fare in the Studio del Gusto, an open kitchen that features a Dry Age Room.

Even the best venue will not satisfy the nose and palette of a discerning wine connoisseur, without great product, the success depends on the donations and in this case (no pun intended) available for auction were some of the finest french burgundy selling for several hundred dollars. Ultimately, all auction donations should be gifted so the funds stay within the organization and are not shared externally. Some other tips for hosting a successful wine auction are:

  • Display - wines that have a tendency to sell quickly like champagne and seasonal varietals should be placed at eye level.
  • Tell the Story – along with an appealing label the back story about winemakers and family history are great sellers of wine.
  • Show It Off – use lighting like LED or candles to show off the hues of the wine.
  • Talk It Up – educate volunteers about the wines and have them engage guests in conversations about the various offerings.
  • Make it Easy - don’t depend on the bidding list. Create a card stock summary on a ring that can be carried with one finger throughout the event.

CHEERS!

Vanessa Williams earns FEF “Fearless” Award

I was honored to be chosen as the sole event planner for the LIM Fashion Education Foundation’s 2009 fundraiser. The former Miss America, Vanessa Williams, was the honoree. She and her mother accepted the award together making the moment even more special.

The best of the best made the night festive…Everick Brown, Jennifer Miles, Tony Alcindor, Kyle Wooden, Terance Coffee, Lisa Cash and Michael Palladino. And Michael Mayer of Metro Events.

Wendy Williams, Stephen Burrows, and Spencer Means were some of the glitterati that graced the west side loft of Ports 1961 0verlooking the Hudson River and Chelsea Piers. See for yourself as Vanessa Williams, Wendy Williams, Pat Fields, Judith Light, Jacqui Wenzel and President Elizabeth Marcuse talk about the event and the foundation on Chic.tv.

Making Your Product Launches Festive

Summer Product Launch for a Suncare Brand

Summer Product Launch for a Suncare Brand

One of my pet peeves is “stating the obvious.” I admit that I fall into it myself now and again but it is something I work on constantly. I imagine that same peeve inspired Jack Dorsey when he was creating Twitter, 140 characters or less please. You must also trim down the fat when hosting a product launch.

What you want from your product launch is to create a buzz among your guests so that when they leave the event they will continue to spread the excitement out in the marketplace. Since you have done all of your homework in your focus groups and product testing your only concern at your launch should be creating an experience that makes your product shine.

That’s where we come in.

Believe it or not the client in this photo was in Los Angeles and wanted to cut back on fees so instead of paying travel expenses for me I stayed behind in New York City but planned everything online and by telephone. Imagine my client’s satisfaction at being able to save money but still get the best possible details to make the event a hit.

Since this was an internal employee launch to get staff excited and let them try the new products as they were being rolled out to the public, something festive was key. Three key points are:

- Access a floor plan and mark the layout in advance and distribute to team.
- Choose something that combines product use with your event theme.
- Focus on entertainment over pushing your product to the front. Guests will naturally be attracted if you create an inviting environment.

Getting your product in hands and off of shelves starts with an experience that is memorable as guests recall their positive experience they will remember your product as being the cause.

Entertainment: Big scale, small budget.

Professional competitive dancers entertain guests.

Professional competitive dancers entertain guests.

Our client wanted to make it a special occasion with family and business associates invited it was important to stylize the entertainment in a way that would make their time spent well worth it. The live entertainment provided was Caribbean steel drum and vocals performing a previously gathered playlist of the guest of honor’s favorite songs, from Sinatra to Socca. Because she was a dancer we wanted to offer her an evening that included her favorite entertainment plus ratchet up the pleasure principle for her. She was the star of the night and we wanted her guests to see that. So we hired award-winning competitive  ballroom dancers to perform two songs ending with an invitation to the GOH onto the dance floor for a special last dance. All eyes were on her as she pranced and hopped to her favorite latin song.  The night ended with cheers and applause as the curtain closed on another customized evening of entertainment.

Customizing Matters

Make your food stand out.

Make your food stand out.

If your mission is to “wow” then spending time researching the likes and dislikes of your guests is one of the best investments to creating a successful event. It’s a matter of putting yourself in your guests shoes. Think about their personality, the clothes they wear, the car they drive, what kinds of foods they eat, their favorite city, and on and on. So much information can be garnered by digging into your client and guest preferences. The answers you find will undoubtedly direct all of yourplanning decisions until your end product is a completely customized event built around them.

But do your research! I remember one time stocking a food table with a particular brand of candy that I’d found on a client website only to find out from the client that that product was no longer owned by them. Yet, it was on their website. A few more minutes spent confirming my choices would have saved the host some embarassment but more importantly that item could have been replaced with some other preferred thing that would have impressed. The client was kind remarking that the candy bar was a good one but it was an opportunity missed nonetheless.

Every event can be individually specialized if time is spent beforehand seeking lesser known facts about guest preferences. In the case above, even being the wrong item, the effort made went a long way eventually landing the deal! Never choose details solely because of trends or popularity, think more simply about whether your guest will personally relate to your specific choices. You will leave a lasting impression that shows that they matter most. Custom choices based on your guests likes and dislikes shows that you are less focused on exhibiting your creativity and more committed to a tailor made experience that honors their preferences.

Details, details, details!

Media coverage by Advertising Age.

Media coverage by Advertising Age.

Details, details, details, presentation is perception. When planning an event, you should give the same level of attention to each detail, whether hosting 10 or 1000 guests. Never think that something you ignore will also be ignored by your guests because it won’t. Your guests will notice every detail you highlight and the ones you diminish. If you think something is important enough to bring it to their attention they will feel the same way. If you don’t convey importance on any particular detail, they will also see it as insignificant, and the opportunity you had to capture their attention is now lost.

The bulk of your event budget often goes to the venue and food & beverage so when it’s time to choose items for a gift bag, for instance, you may need to maximize your presentation by investing in special packaging that makes your gift items look even more special. So instead of giving pricey mp3 players to your guests you give them a CD of independent artists (something no one they know has yet). But don’t make the mistake of using a poor printing service or homemade looking graphics, go the extra mile by using fine quality paper and find a design that promotes your theme while indicating to your guests that your choice was well thought out and of the highest quality.

Remember, the amount of attention you give to each detail will pay you back times over. As your guests rave to others about your unique and thoughtful choices, your events will instantly be placed high on their “must attend” list.

 

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