Saks Event Pampers Clients, Encourages Sales

Saks Fifth Avenue’s annual Brushes With Greatness event was filled with beauty industry decadence, coupled with discreet selling techniques.

July 20, 2005, 12:00 AM EDT

Shoppers wound their way through the various beauty counters, body painters, makeup artists, and salespeople at the Saks Fifth Avenue’s annual Brushes With Greatness shopping event.

Saks Fifth Avenue’s Brushes With Greatness sales event Saks Fifth Avenue Wednesday, 07.13.2005, 7 PM to 10 PM
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Pampering was the first item of business at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Brushes With Greatness in-store sales event, held amidst the first-floor beauty counters at the Fifth Avenue flagship store. Makeup artists wielded brushes, pots of cream, and sparkling bottles of perfume as customers who'd bought a $50 gift card to get in wound their way through the aisles, sampling and buying.

All but two of the elevators housed tarot readers, henna tattoo artists, and astrologers. But it was up to the individual vendors to come up with gimmicks to promote their products. Many companies sent renowned makeup artists (Napoleon Perdis sent Perdis himself) or brow shapers, image consultants, and masseurs. Prada enlisted the talent of Joseph A. Callari, a master glass engraver, to personalize bottles of perfume from their counter.

The decor included white stretch fabric from Pink Inc.—suspended from the store’s chandeliers and lit in orange to match the gift bags that accompanied purchases. “The idea was for the Saks visual team to design the decor to be congruent with the Brushes with Greatness logos,” said Saks vice president of marketing Kathleen Ruiz. Tall orange floral arrangements from Doro’s Annex were at every counter.

Saks employees, dressed in black pants and T-shirts with the event’s logo, passed around quesadillas, mini cheeseburgers and chocolate-covered strawberries from Sonnier & Castle, while shirtless caterwaiters poured champagne and Perrier. The event opened with Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” which the store opens to every morning, with sound provided by New York Sound & Visual.

Erin Parker

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