The first step was to get a good look at the venue so that I would know what would make sense as far as clothing and displays. I took a trip to the hotel on Thursday morning, April 26th prior to Zoe opening for the day. Although I have no issues with driving into DC, it is always something I dread, especially when I am confronted with rush hour traffic AND rain! Fortunately, traffic was not unreasonable and I was able to park in the small hotel garage.
The hotel is in a residential area just north of Dupont Circle. It has a beautiful lobby area, broken up into small rooms that remind one of a living room or a den. The rooms are small but well appointed. We determined that I would bring mannequins for 2 of the rooms and the hotel manager would provide one for one of the lobby area rooms used for the event. I would also take my H-rack to show additional pieces of clothing.
Not wanting to try to cram everything into my car on Tuesday, I took the H-rack and a borrowed mannequin from Zoe's Aunt Karen to DC on Monday, the day before the event. The hotel was kind enough to store these in a room for me. I also met Zoe's DC Magazine sales rep at the store so that she could try on an outfit to wear to the event.
Tuesday came and I was busy selecting the clothing to take to the hotel. Some items would be draped over the beds in the rooms that would be on display, some would go on the mannequins, and some would be displayed on the H-rack for perusal. Because I am always hyper-paranoid about being late for anything, I made plans to leave at 3 pm to give myself plenty of time to get ready for the event starting at 5. Zoe's Aunt Janice came to take care of her while I was away.
I had no issues getting to the hotel and was once again able to park in the garage. I took advantage of one of the luggage carts to unload my car and take everything upstairs. My first stops were the rooms to be on display (on the 5th floor) to set up the mannequins and display the clothing on the beds. I was very pleased with the look in the rooms.
I love this Rayon/Linen Blend Tracy Reese Dress!
Normandy Hotel Room with Velvet Maxi Dress on Bed
Then it was back downstairs to dress the final mannequin and set up the H-rack. I found that the proportions of the mannequin that the hotel had provided were not in line with the items I wanted to show so I ended up hanging the item on the hanger over the mannequin. It worked for what needed to be in place. I finished with about 25 minutes to spare, much to my relief!
The Normandy had created lovely appetizers and had staff passing champagne and wine. Just shortly after 5 pm, the guests started to arrive!
Yum - Delicious!
The guests were a mix of ages and professions with most being female. Because it was a small gathering, I had the opportunity to speak with almost everyone there. Some people initially thought that I was the designer of all of the clothing - I definitely could not take credit for that!
I did lead one of the tours to the rooms upstairs so that I could talk more about the clothing in those rooms and also have an opportunity to know some of the guests better. The age range was from 20s - 60s, which is right in Zoe's sweet spot of customers. I met PR people and a fashion blogger as well.
I enjoyed meeting and talking with Simone Rathle of PR Firm simonesez.
The evening passed quickly and I found that I had lots of business cards and follow-ups to do the next day! The winner of Zoe's gift card (part of the Raffle for the evening) was delighted and had already selected something she liked from the sampling of items at the event. Her fiance works in Alexandria so I'm sure she'll be shopping at Zoe soon!
I put the trusty luggage cart to use to gather everything together and take it all down to the garage in one trip. Everyone was amazed that I was able to fit everything into my car! Zoe's Aunt Janice met me at the store that evening to give me the keys and help me unload. A long day but enjoyable and worthwhile.
Next up: The "Trunk" Show