Why Designers Should Host Trunk Shows for the Holiday Season

holiday shopping

During the holiday season, most shoppers have one thing on their minds and that’s to find a special gift for each person on their gift list. A trunk show is a great event all year round, but especially during the holidays as customers are searching high and low for something that stands out from everything else their loved ones will receive. A designer/retailer collaboration is an exciting, low cost, high energy event that increases awareness about your line and gets people talking about what you have to offer.

Why they’re a good idea:

Exposure – Trunk Shows are a fantastic way to show off your brand to people who may have never heard of you before. If you primarily sell online, this is also a perfect opportunity for you to allow people to get up close and personal with your designs.

Feedback – Speaking face to face with someone is always better than corresponding via e-mail, through Facebook or in 140 short characters on Twitter. The easiest way for you to improve your line is to ask customers how they feel about what you have on display. How many people attending are new to your brand? Who is a repeat customer? What brought them back? What would the attendees like to see in your next collection? These are all questions easily asked in casual conversation and really make customers feel valued and appreciated.

Mutually beneficial – If your trunk show is held in a retailers space, they may gain additional foot traffic during your event. This is a great opportunity for them to add promotions on their own products and potentially introduce their boutique to a new group of clientele who have just dropped in to see the merchandise featured at your trunk show. This is also a perfect opportunity for them to have a guest book on display or a raffle draw to collect customer’s information to add to their database for future marketing campaigns.

What to look for in a designer/retailer:

Credibility – Customers will associate you as an extension of the retailers brand that you choose to collaborate with. It’s important that where you feature your product is held in high regard with your clientele. If a local retailer is known for poor customer service or negative shopping experiences, shoppers will be reluctant to attend your event even though they may be interested in seeing your designs. If, on the other hand, the retailer is known for having a great atmosphere and excellent customer service, people will be encouraged to attend knowing the event is sure to be a hit. Same goes for a designer with a poor reputation.

Similar target market – You’ll want to collaborate with a retailer who sells to a similar customer as you do. (For example: If you have a product for men, collaborating with a children’s toy store is probably not the best place for you to be featured. On the other hand, if you are selling a line of women’s purses, a shoe store would be ideal for collaboration.) Additionally, working with a retailer who markets to a similar customer allows you to easily create buzz about your event with their existing customer database; exactly the kind of people you want to show your designs to.

Ideas to make your trunk show stand out:

Add a charity component – Not only will this attract more positive publicity before, during, and after your event but it also makes customers feel good when they know their money is going beyond their purchase and to a good cause.

Team up with other designers and have multiple Trunk Shows at the same time – Holiday shopping is all about convenience and maximizing time while trying to manage never ending to-do lists. If teaming up with a retailer isn’t the best option for you, consider getting together up with other local designers and hosting one large trunk show with a variety of merchandise perhaps at a coffee shop or local salon. (This may also work with a large retailer that has lots of floor space to dedicate to multiple vendors)

Food – If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. People go where the food is. Especially during the holidays when most customers are stressed to the max and weary from shopping, a platter of cheese and crackers or a fancy cupcake make all the difference in the world when you need a little pick me up. It doesn’t have to be over the top. No need to call the caterers! Something as simple as hot chocolate and holiday cookies or sparkling cider can really create a festive atmosphere and encourage shoppers to linger, possibly resulting in additional sales as they notice things they may have missed when they first arrived.

Next Up: How to Get a Boutique to Collaborate on a Trunk Show

Have you ever hosted a Trunk Show during the holidays? What additional tips can you give to designers to make their event a huge success?

Dominique Leger

Dominique is a graduate of the Fashion Marketing and Merchandising program from Toronto’s International Academy of Design and Technology. She has a decade of experience in the fashion industry working as both a Retail Manager and a Visual Merchandising Manager.

  1. Marcela Cali

    Good afternoon,

    My name is Marcela Cali and my husband and I have been looking for the dream shop to start my “dream business.” And we finally found it. It is located in Norwood, South Australia. It’s a wonderful location and gorgeous shop front. We are signing the paperwork tomorrow and I’m trying to get into contact with some designers I could purchase from. I am coming to the US to purchase my inventory because they don’t sell any American designed/made clothing here. .
    I don’t want to babble on about this however it’s my dream to open and run a business selling classy and glamorous dresses and clothes and accessories.
    This is a new business however I have a huge passion for this and it’s finally coming true.

    I’m targeting a higher end market here in Adelaide…educated, glamorous, classy women aged 28-55.

    My vision is the 20s and 50s/60s eras.

    What are your thoughts?
    I also want to send in sketches and design my own line…later on.

    It’s honestly an immaculate place…my husband is remodeling the boutique and putting up the fittings and decor. He has chosen the theme colors of black and gold…

    I’m trying to get in touch with wholesalers because I need to rack up great inventory for the boutique and am organizing a glamorous grand opening!

    Any advice on getting inventory..

    Thank you for your time,
    Marcela Cali

    • Alice Kuaban

      Hi Marcela,

      I hope this meets you well. I just read your comment and was wondering if you are still looking for designs for your boutique. I am a designer and currently looking for stores to carry my collection. You can see a few of my designs in the lookbook on my website. Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.


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