By Susan O'Neill Posted September 25, 2009, 8:00 AM EDT
To mark its fifth anniversary, LouLou staged a Birthday Block Party in Yorkville Wednesday, offering retail discounts, cocktails, live music, giveaways, and an after-party at Moroco Chocolat. The magazine partnered with eight retailers—Banana Republic, BCBG, Gap, Guess, Joe Fresh, Puma, Town Shoes, and Winners—to host the event.
“LouLou magazine hosts shopping parties all the time. That’s what LouLou is all about, it’s about shopping rather than fashion. So we thought for our fifth anniversary what better way to celebrate what LouLou is than blowing it out and doing a whole bunch of shopping parties on the same day,” said Toronto market editor Liv Judd. “Everybody really embraced it. It just exploded. We are doing eight shopping parties all on the same night.”
The magazine began developing the concept late last year and started reaching out to retailers along Bloor Street in January and February. The event, although similar, was not modeled on the “Fashion’s Night Out” event held in New York earlier this month. “We did this not even realizing that was happening,” she said. “We started thinking about this back in November and we wanted something that was truly unique to LouLou.”
Judd said the magazine, published by Rogers Publishing Ltd., wanted to create an anniversary event that would involve readers. “A lot of magazines will celebrate their anniversaries by having big galas but that’s not what LouLou is about. [A gala] doesn’t give back to the readers, which is what the point is—to say thank you to them for supporting us.”
The participating retailers offered discounts, and some provided gifts with purchase. At Guess, shoppers received a gift bag with a $5 donation to Shelternet, an online national resource for abused women and children. Actress Kristin Booth spoke with shoppers about the charity, and a portion of the proceeds from the evening’s sales at Guess supported the organization. Actress and signer Kate Voegele, LouLou’s September cover model, also made an appearance at Guess, where she performed songs from her second album.
“Each retailer tried to do something different. At Banana Republic [and Town Shoes] our editor in chief is doing a trend presentation; Lux Spa is doing complimentary mini manicures with Revlon products; and at Winners you can have your makeup touched up and then have your photograph taken on a LouLou cover as a keepsake from the event. And of course, Joe Fresh is doing a pop-up store at Sassafraz,” Judd said.
LouLou readers had to R.S.V.P. separately to each of the eight locations. One retailer received as many as 1,200 R.S.V.P.s. The magazine, which hosted a similar block party in Montreal tonight on Thursday, will gauge the success of the event based on sales. “The point is shopping. Sales will be the guide. But also, just seeing how busy it is. It’s an immediate success in terms of eyeballing the number of people coming out,” Judd said.
The evening wrapped with an after-party, including a screening of the new series Cougar Town, at Moroco Chocolat. Event sponsors included Visa, Almay, Red Rain, Revlon, Rogers, and Diageo.