One unique item worth including in your benefit auction (silent or live, but I’ve always sold it in the live) are tickets to New York City’s Fashion Week.
Fashionistas know that Fashion Week happens twice a year – once in the spring (March) to showcase fall fashions, and again in the fall (September) to showcase spring fashions. The event is held in several cities around the world (Paris, Milan, London, etc.), but New York seems to be the destination for our domestic audiences. In our auctions, the tickets sell for a few thousand dollars, without hotel or transportation attached.
Why are these tickets “hot?” And how do you get them?
Let’s begin by describing the event itself.
Designers can rent space at specific venues in New York to showcase their collections. Because hosting a show is expensive, not all designers have the cash required to produce a show. For instance, a new designer might opt to only show in Paris’ Fashion Week, but a larger fashion house might have a show in each city.
From morning until night, a venue can be busy hosting shows. A lesser-known designer might be in the tent in the morning. Later that day, a well-known icon could be hosting in that same space.
When I’ve sold tickets to Fashion Week, I am not selling tickets to every runway show scheduled throughout the week. Either I am selling tickets to a specific show (for instance, the Badgley Mischka show), or I’m selling tickets silent auction ideas to a specific show which has yet to be decided by the donor of the tickets.
The tickets are popular because many ‘average’ 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 honestly, that description is pretty accurate. Even the average New Yorker can’t easily obtain tickets.
So with that information as your backdrop, imagine that you — a stay-at-home Mom, a professional woman wanting to treat yourself, an adventurous gal with some extra cash — have the opportunity to buy two tickets at your fundraising auction to attend this event.
Who wouldn’t want to go!? What a great trip for two best friends, or a memorable Mother-Daughter experience.
Now that you’re eager to pack your bags, let’s talk about securing tickets.
As always, work 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 begin. For instance, 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 auction, and she was connected to the right person.
Be advised that because of the fluidity of the Fashion Week 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.”
Because your auction is taking place months in advance of Fashion Week, most guests don’t seem to mind the ambiguity. The reality is that if your auction is in March, and the Fashion Week tickets are for September, even the organizers of New York’s Fashion Week don’t yet know which designers will be appearing.