First, let me answer the question, “What is a celebrity Gift Lounge?” for those of you who may not be too familiar with the topic.
In a nutshell, Celebrity Gift Lounges are set up prior to an event – like the Golden Globes – in order to introduce celebrities to new and/or exciting products & services. As celebrities wander through these gift lounges, exhibitors take the opportunity to demonstrate or show the products they represent, in the hope that the celebrity will be intrigued or impressed enough to agree to having their picture taken (ideally while wearing, holding or using the product) by a professional photographer. The Artisan Group has been participating in this, and other, celebrity events and awards shows for several years.
The exhibitor will typically then use that photo to publicize their product’s appeal to that particular celebrity. This usually needs to be done in a “grass roots” sort of fashion, with the exhibitor promoting the image on their website, social media outlets and blogs. Typically, due to contractual requirements, exhibitors are not permitted to use the images in paid advertising so that there is not an inaccurate implication that the celebrity endorses or is being paid to endorse, the product.
With that said, at the end of 2012 I had been officially accepted as one of many artists to have their work represented at the 2013 Golden Globes Gift Lounge. Now the work begins! I had about two months to prepare and submit a design for 100 pieces of jewelry to be included in the swag bags being distributed by TAG to celebrities visiting the Gift Lounge. Yikes!
My basic design needed to be:
• Something created “exclusively” for the Event
• Something that would be simple enough to duplicate 100 times, while still giving me enough time to meet my usual customer needs
• Something that wouldn’t break the bank – after all, I wasn’t going to be paid for these
• Something that would be “wearable” and appealing to my usual customer, who, like me, is fairly conservative in their attire & accessories
For better or worse, I decided to try something that had been inspiring & intriguing me for some time. A tutorial for the necklace below (by wonderfully talented designer Mai Sato-Flores), which I first saw in Wire Jewelry magazine in 2010 had stuck in my head, and I decided this was the perfect time to give it a go.
Once I had my design fine-tuned, then came the VERY tiresome process of creating 100 items. I had about two months to do this, in order to mail them off in time for the Event. This meant a lot of late nights and trying to exist on five to six hours of sleep each night. Especially since the event was taking place in January, and I was trying to keep up with normal holiday orders. Eeek! What had I been thinking?!
Since I had so many pieces to create (100 pair of earrings!), I decided to create them in an “assembly line” fashion – first came the “vines,” then the charm, then the handforged earwires.
Once all the necessary pieces were completed, I packed them up in 100 little boxes with 100 “About the Artist” bio cards and sent them on their merry way to Hollywood! I am quite proud of the fact that, short of pulling the wire or mining the gemstones, I created these pieces 100%.
It was a lot of work, but it was so worth it! The sense of accomplishment – just knowing I could create a design, duplicate it 100 times and package them all up efficiently – was worth the whole process!! I certainly learned a thing or two about both the design process & marketing my involvement in the Gift Lounge. It has been a wonderful experience and has been a boon to my little business, and I have TAG to thank for it!
Have you ever considered participating in a large event (either celebrity related, or just local customers)? How did you prepare for it? Did you have any “big” lessons learned that will help you for your next large event or show? I’d love to hear about it!