Don’t miss Part One in this series: In “ Today’s Trunk Shows” you’ll find profiles on Eyepolis, Hicks Brunson Eyewear and
San Francisco Optics.

And be sure to look for Part Three next week, when we share three more retailers’ accounts of trunk show planning.

NEW YORK—Underscoring what retailers and ECPs told VM in the “Today’s Trunk Shows” feature, suppliers confirm that trunk shows are on the rise.

Ogi Eyewear staff sets up frames and displays for rooftop
runway event held at the Seven Sushi Ultralounge and Skybar,
also in Minneapolis.

Retailers and ECPs are rediscovering the trunk show as a means of deepening relationships with patients. For suppliers, taking part in the events means building better bridges with their accounts, getting a feel for the industry and expressing the brand’s point of view to customers.

According to Robert Marc, chief creative officer of his eponymous company, “The demand for trunk shows is increasing as more and more customers seek special and unique products.”

SALT has also noticed the increase in trunk shows: “As our brand grows and people learn how SALT does business, we’ve had more demand for shows,” said Ron Smith, SALT’s VP of sales.

“We look at our trunk shows as a long term partnership between the company and the account,” added Phil Windyk, VP of marketing for Ogi Eyewear. “Many of the shows we have participated in have turned into annual or semi-annual events that the stores and their customers look forward to each year.”

Reps will also use trunk shows as an opportunity to educate themselves. By fitting into an optical office or boutique for the day, they gain from the staff’s knowledge of the industry. “Our sales ambassadors are so energetic and infectious that retailers love having them in the store,” Smith said. “They build camaraderie and share our passion for what we do.” He added that his sales team “always has a lot to learn from the experience about the market
in general.”

Through the rapport reps establish with their account, suppliers are able to reach those customers who will be wearing their frames. “We don’t look at trunk shows as a means of selling thousands of frames, it’s a way of gaining new customers one at a time,” Windyk said of Ogi Eyewear’s events. “The exclusivity of the event and the bonds it creates many times results in life-long customers for both the eyewear line as well as the account
selling them.”

Suppliers note that, more than just being present, trunk shows ultimately provide a platform through which to tell the brand’s story. Marc believes that trunk shows are a “perfect opportunity to express the unique point-of-view of the brand and the designer behind it.” He added, “One of our representatives is always on hand at the show. They interact with the customers and tell the whole story about the new collection: my inspiration, the new materials and the color palette.” 

SALT’s banner announces their trunk show
and welcomes guests to the Viva Optical
location in Saskatchewan, Canada.

InVision eyewear boutique in Minneapolis,
Minn. before a Robert Marc trunk show.

Delia Paunescu, Assistant Editor