Shopping under the influence with all your girlfriends may be what women and their girlfriends need to escape from the not so fabulous econ data flooding the news. With record job cuts weighing on the consumer confidence index and a credit crisis nearly halting all business lending practices; big-name fashion and beauty retailers are facing the ugly reality of bankruptcy more than ever. So for smaller vendors, creativity may be the key for survival. Shecky’s President and Co-Founder, Claudia Chan, outlines her own guidebook for keeping your company fashionable amid an un-glam economy.
Tip1: Steer Clear of Oversaturation
Shecky’s Media, a website guide for fashion, beauty and nightlife, knows that kicking it up a notch is vital to staying on top of competition. It is the Shecky’s Girl’s Night Out that makes them stand out like a yellow suit in a boardroom. “Everyone is writing about fashion and beauty it is so oversaturated,” said Claudia. “They could visit our website, but they can also come to our event and touch and sample the items. That is the heart and soul of what sets us apart from other women companies.”
Since its first Shecky’s Girl’s Night Out in 2001, it now operates over 80 events, in 18 cities across the country and partners with over 1200 companies. Girl’s Night Out may be a platform creative enough for businesses to beat the retail slump.
The 5-hour experience welcomes local boutiques, emerging designers and event sponsors—all under one roof. Crowds of women reserve their tickets to indulge in a night of discounted sales, giveaways and beauty treatments. Other than access to trendy local boutiques, attendees could also enjoy major sponsors such as Budweiser’s beer-tasting corner, a hair consultancy from Salon Selectives, and a Nintendo DS demo lounge.
Women also leave with a goodie bag, worth over $100. There are no regrettable bar tabs or pricey nightclub bottle services. Instead, handsome men are stationed behind bars, or just about everywhere in sight, with trays serving nonstop, free cocktails. Attendance is usually in the thousands.
“It is girlfriend group entertainment,” said Claudia. “When you think men you think sports, but for women it’s always drinks, shopping and spas. We basically created this wonderland under one roof.”
Tip 2: Design a Value-Oriented Environment
But since the economic cookie crumbled, Shecky’s has seen both positive and negative reactions from their partnerships. While some boutiques have shown reluctance to vend, others have shown the exact opposite: extreme eagerness to reach new clientele. Claudia says keeping Shecky’s a value-driven environment serves as chic protective armor against the downturn—shoppers will always flock to value.
“We bring the undiscovered at an affordable price and that’s unique,” she said.
Claudia admits that luxury fashion may not be recession proof, but nightlife and beauty have more staying power. “I think alcohol and beauty are more recession proof in a down market because no matter how bad things get, spending $10 on a cocktail with a girlfriend, or $12 on lipstick, could make us so happy.”
Tip 3: Knowing What’s Hot on the Tech-Front
While the Girl’s Night Out events have grown from what was originally a book launch party for the Shecky’s Nightlife Guide. Because trends in fashion, beauty, and nightlife change several times between each Vogue issue, Shecky’s Media has since abandoned printing guidebooks. Instead, Shecky’s is investing more in technological and digital strategies. Its website now broadcasts more of the Girls Night Out content. Another part of Shecky’s dot com makeover is to return to its roots as the premier city nightlife resource.
Tip 4: Keep Your Socialista’s Engaged
Shecky’s stays connected with Facebook and other network sites but they go a step further. Shecky’s Socialista network allows “socialista’s” to build “girlfriend groups” to visit Sheckys.com or to attend Girl’s Night Out. “It’s an opportunity for us to create a network of local representatives and brand ambassadors, someone in the know,” said Claudia.
Tip 5: Miss Know-It-All’s Research & Brainstorm for Innovation
Claudia and the Shecky’s gang aren’t going to miss out on the “chick flick” boom. They have established a business development team to research upcoming movie releases to build partnerships. Last year, 27 Dresses brought bridesmaid gowns from their film to build a showcase lounge at Girl’s Night Out. After further brainstorming with 20th Century Fox, they added a bouquet toss with prizes and served wedding cake samples.
This type of ongoing, out of the box thinking has maintained Shecky’s company growth, with fashionably sweet rewards!