Friday, June 14, 2013

Events: A Report From Shecky's Girls Night Out

Over the past few years I had seen several advertisements for Shecky's Girls Night Out. A few times each year Shecky's hosts ticketed nights in different cities throughout the USA in which they host fashion & beauty vendors (small boutiques as I understood), serve cocktails, offer mini-makeovers, and give out their infamous goody bags. I had always planned to go to one at some point because they sounded and looked so fantastic in their marketing materials. So, when a complimentary ticket offer came up on Goldstar this month, I decided to finally give it a shot.

Photo Source: Goldstar
Wait time: The event lasted from 4:30-9:30pm on Thursday. I went just a little before 5 and left about 30 minutes later. There was no line when I arrived. When I left, a line had formed to get into the venue. While I was at the event, there were no lines for any booths. It only takes about 30 minutes to circle the room several times and pick up all the samples you'd like.

Location: This year's venue is all the way over on W. 37th Street between 10th & 11th Avenues. If you plan to take the subway to get there, you will definitely have quite a bit of a hike from any of the closest stations. If you're coming from the east, some nearby areas aren't that great. Not all streets are through streets because of the Lincoln Tunnel. You may also have to walk through the 37th Street NJ Transit bus parking lot on your way. Keep that in mind if you go alone and it's getting dark.

Retail Booths: I was thoroughly disappointed with the quality of the products that were on sale. Luckily, I had read all the Yelp reviews the night before so I tried not to go in with high expectations. However, an event that is advertised so well seems like it would be a great venue for booths by smaller-but-quality retailers like Three Jane, GiGi New York, or Fibi & Clo...or at least independent sales representatives from companies like Stella & Dot, Chloe + Isabel, or Avon. However, the majority of the products were of the quality I would see at a flea market or being sold on the sidewalk in New York (and often at much higher prices) or possibly on an infomercial. There were a few exceptions but only a very few. My favorite was the Tracy Chambers Vintage clothing booth pictured below. At that vendor, dresses averaged around just $40 and seemed to be the highest quality products at the entire event! I heard a number of other guests commenting on how they weren't going to buy anything because it was all too "chintzy" or "cheap looking". Judging from what I've heard about past years, I think the crowd has become less upscale because a lot of people know by now that the quality of the events has gone downhill. Note: many of the booths were cash-only.

Cocktails: If this is what you're looking for, this is the one element of the event that's exactly as advertised. There were three different booths to get free drinks and none of them had lines. There was: 1) Sweet n' Low booth making a diet fruity cocktail that was delicious, 2) Parrot Bay booth serving pre-mixed frozen drinks like daiquiris and piña coladas or peach bellini Smirnoff Ices, and 3) Blush wines. As far as I could tell, there was no limit on drinks. So, if you just look at this event as a "happy hour" with your friends, you're set. Note: there were a few food options at the event, alcohol infused cupcakes and casserole dishes heating on hot plates. However, you had to pay extra for any of that.

Goody Bags: First of all, they DON'T come in those reusable Shecky's branded bags you see in ALL the photos. They come in a flimsy 99 cent store throw-away pink clear plastic gift bag. The contents include: 
  • Tampax/Always sample size packages of products (3)
  • Paperback romance novels, "Waking Up Married" by Mira Lyn Kelly & "Tempted" by Megan Hart (2)
  • Honest brand organic juice (1)
  • Shampoo & conditioner samples from Salma Hayek's line Nuance (2, 2 fl. oz. each)
  • Small packets of Sweet n' Low (2)
  • Travel size Dickinson's Witch Hazel pore perfecting toner
  • 1ColorProof's CrazySmooth extreme shine hair treatment oil (1, 10mL sample size)
  • GoMacro Granola + Coconut Macrobar (1, .9 oz.)
  • Miss Jessie's Jelly Soft Curls (1, 1 fl. oz.) 
  • A bunch of paper advertising
Any extra items you see in my photos were things I picked up from the different booths. Overall, the bag had a minute retail value, especially if you aren't interested in the romance novels and don't have curly hair. There's nothing particularly high-end or indulgent about it. They were worse than even the bad Yelp reviews had described and photos of bags from years past had a lot more product in them and were given out in attractive re-usable bags.

Mini Makeovers: These were virtually non-existent. There were two small tables set up with people offering to straighten or curl your hair with flatirons. At least one of them was trying to sell you the flatiron at the same time. There were no make-up artists or anything like that.

Speakers: I didn't stay for any of the guest lectures. However, there were about 5 throughout the night. I recognized one of the speakers' names, Laurie Davis the "eflirt expert", from having met her at the HowAboutWe launch party a few years ago. I hadn't heard of any of the other speakers before.

My Verdict: If you just want a cheap happy hour or get a free ticket, it could be worth 30 minutes of your time. Personally, if the quality of the vendors and goody bags don't improve, I probably won't go again. I would never pay full price for a ticket. Every single one of the Yelp reviews seem to agree with me on these points.

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