Here’s an idea to help you sell your work. (I’m a marketing guy from
way back, and this is my quid pro quo for all the kind advice I’ve
gotten from this forum).
Most of your cities have theaters which run touring Broadway shows.
Tickets are typically bought by people with a LOT of disposable
income. Women typically buy most of the tickets - - this is a
statistical fact. So if you can tie in, you’ll be communicating
directly with the folks most able to buy your products on a whim.
The shows have comparatively large marketing budgets, but they are
always looking for ways to attract additional publicity. Think of it
this way: they’re like airplanes. You can’t sell the seats after the
show plays off, so they have to do everything possible to fill them.
They’re also only open for business for about four weeks, which
increases the pressure. Single tickets (i.e., non-subscription)
usually go up for public sale four weeks before the first curtain.
This creates an opportunity for you.
First, publicity. You can help the show get it, and in return, get
some for your store.
Look at the show schedule when the subscription brochure first comes
out, and see if there isn’t something in the plot of one or more
shows that calls for a jewel. If there isn’t (and trust me, there
often is), make one up. For example: The musical “Cabaret” in its
current incarnation takes place in a seedy Berlin nightclub full of
prostitutes. Perfect opportunity for some garish costume jewelry -
maybe just on the Joel Gray character - which you will supply the
show on loan, in return for them helping you get publicity. The
theater has a PR person, and all shows travel with press agents.
I’ve done this work, and I guarantee you they love it when an
outsider pops up with a new angle for coverage, and a willingness to
bring something to the party.
Your desire is that your store be mentioned in the story (in the
newspaper, magazine, or on TV); and you should also politely request
program credit. Don’t worry that in both cases it’s merely a line of
type; if your jewel is interesting enough, the reader will search out
the line. Your theater contact will be happy to play along and help
you. Theater people tend to be wonderfully accommodating if they are
just treated nicely.
If there’s really nothing in the show that would allow for a jewel,
(or if you don’t want the wear and tear of extended loan) here’s
another angle. The show’s star has very likely consented to do a few
interviews. Touring shows often cast stars who aren’t currently in
the limelight, but want to be. The touring press agent will
encourage the local pr person to sell such a feature to the local
paper or city magazine. You can pop up and offer to loan the star
some beautiful real jewelry when they shoot the photos for the story.
What this will cost you is time, because you’ll obviously go along
and watch to make sure your 20-ct. untreated Mogok pigeon’s blood is
handled nicely. You may in the process get to know Ann-Margaret or
Julie Harris, and that can’t hurt. Your product will be displayed on
a star’s ears or neck, and your store will be given a credit line,
and that can’t hurt, either.
If I were you, I’d first familiarize myself with the shows coming up.
Try to think up some “hook”, like the above example about Cabaret.
Then send a note and put in a call to the President of the local
nonprofit that puts on shows. Introduce yourself, tell him / her of
your love of musical theater and willingness to help out, and ask for
a meeting. Let him / her introduce you to the marketing people.
Tell them your hook, and invite them for lunch or coffee, or just to
stop by the store.
Even if you don’t make a sale, you’ll meet some nice people and
almost certainly get a couple comp tickets out of the bargain!
I Hope this helps -
Rick Hyer - in chilly (but finally dry!) Chicago.