Trunk Shows at Sassafras

We have trunk shows all the time at Sassafras! We love showcasing new locally made clothing collections and art. Here's a quick guide in case it's your first time showing with us. These are guidelines, and we're open to running things a little differently. We just want to share what works best based on our experience, so you can have a successful show at a reasonable cost.

Assess Your Goals

You've just developed a new collection and you want to get the word out about your brand. You want everyone who walks through the door to see what you're offering. This creates interest, and hopefully new sales. But sales aren't your only goal at a trunk show. You want potential customers to understand your products, ogle them, and fall in love with them, whether or not they can afford to purchase that day. You want them to understand what you do well enough to tell all of their friends after your show! You want engagement to the level where attendees can understand the quality of your overall offering.

Brand awareness is a big goal for your show. If you have a banner or other materials with your logo, put them out on a table, showcase them prominently, and hand them out freely. Not everyone will be ready to purchase, but let's see if we can get your brand in their minds so they can remember how to purchase when they ARE ready. Example: We still have customers coming in asking about the Katy Flynn Reversible dresses that were featured 14 months ago in The Seattle Times. Don't underestimate the impressions you're making with your brand and by being engaging.

So, what does Sassafras get out of it? Well, frankly, we like to party! You'll bring in some visitors who are new to us, and we love that. We're growing organically through word of mouth, and more words and more mouths are valuable to us. It's Sassafras's mission to promote emerging and established local designers, and hosting your event is just one way we're able to do that.    

What to Expect

Your expected role:
You'll be expected to be present for a reception. After all, it's your party! Customers want to see you, engage in conversation, and collaborate with you. They'll want you to provide feedback on the fit of your garments and discuss potential alterations. This makes your party more fun for everyone! Sometimes, it's a good idea to set up for Friday and Saturday, with a specified reception time. 3-7 on Saturday is convenient for most customers. If you schedule a reception, it's not necessary for you to be at the shop the entire weekend. These can be long days with slow periods, so please consider that. 

Know what you're offering upfront:
Are you selling off the rack, or are you offering samples for customers to try on and then doing custom orders? It could be a combination of both. Knowing what you're planning to offer before the event starts will help you (and us) know how to talk about the options.

Collecting payments:
Typically, we run all of the sales through Sassafras's point of sale system. At the end of the event, we pay 50% of the sales back to you, the designer. If we already have an existing consignment agreement, then we will need to pay out during the standard consignment pay period (3rd week of the following month) in case there are any returns.


Shows usually last one or two days. Friday and Saturday are our busiest days, so pick one or two of these, and we should get extra traffic coming through. Think about designating an "opening reception" time or "happy hour" when friends and family can come and support you.

It's important to have everything setup before your first visitor arrives. You have potential to lose an interested customer if you're still moving things around and setting up your clothing rack or jewelry display. Estimate at least one hour to get everything ready, including your display, ways of collecting payment, tagging inventory with pricing, and refreshments if you have them.

We're a very small shop, so keep the space restrictions in mind when planning. We basically have only enough room for one clothing rack, one table for promotional materials, and one table for refreshments.

What to Bring:
We can have at least one rolling clothing rack and one small table available for you to use. We also have a table and tablecloth for refreshments. You might want to bring fresh flowers.

Notes on Refreshments:
Don't go overboard. You want people to linger, and a nice white (please, no red - the clothing!) wine does a great job with that. You certainly don't need to offer any refreshments, but if you do have them, keep it low-key. Keep it simple, not gooey, no crumbly, Nothing you need a fork or spoon to eat. Your main things are your beautiful clothing line and your unforgettable personality.

Sassafras Is Invested in Your Success!

We want your show to be successful! We're willing to split the cost of promotions and refreshments for the event 50/50, up to $200. This means if you only had $200 to cover these costs, now you have $400 and we can be more successful together.

Most designers spend around $40 - $100 on their events at Sassafras.

Typical Ways to Advertise:

  1. Handbills ($) - Have some 4"x6" invitation cards printed, and we'll distribute them to our customers. It's best to have these on hand at least two weeks prior to the event.
  2. Facebook and Instagram promotions ($) - Facebook allows you to control the amount you spend on promotion. You can specify your audience and your max you want to pay.
  3. Facebook Invitation (free) - Provide nice photos and a description of your event, and Sassafras will set up an invitation. Once it's set up, share it with everyone you know. `
  4. Sassafras newsletter - We'll send a newsletter about your event a few weeks before. Sassafras has regular customers who come to ALL of these events.
  5. Other - We're open to possibilities. Let's chat!