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Robbins Brothers Costume Party Draws on Bridgerton Theme

Event included an engagement-ring giveaway.

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General manager Alex Garcia is in his element during an immersive in-store event.
General manager Alex Garcia is in his element during an immersive in-store event.

WHAT COULD ENTICE your VIP clients and local influencers to vie for an invitation to your store, where they would compete in a 17th-century-themed costume contest, engage in ballroom dancing, and learn the nuances of flower arranging?

In other words, gather to create a memorable in-store experience that could be widely shared on social media?

Kris Land, VP of marketing for Robbins Brothers, said her team had been looking for a themed event that drew on relevant pop culture while also being celebratory and romantic. Something that would “make some noise,” she says.

So, when the agency they’d been working with, Serendipit Consulting of Scottsdale, AZ, suggested a Bridgerton Brunch, they jumped on the idea. “I have no fear of being crazy,” Land says.

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Bridgerton’s swoon-worthy second season premiered on March 25. The first season remains Netflix’s No. 1 English-language TV show, with 625.5 million hours streamed in its first 28 days of release, drawn by the narrative around romantic notions of courtship in the Regency Era. Bridgerton’s theme is “finding the diamond of the season” — that is, the debutant destined to make the best marriage match of the season.

Land chose the Houston location to introduce the event because she knew the team, led by general manager Alex Garcia, could pull it off with aplomb. “Alex creates a special feeling in the store that’s hard to describe,” she says. “This isn’t a transaction. It’s about listening to someone’s story about their relationship. I noticed a really special vibe that happens in the store and that comes from the top.”

Garcia was familiar with the show because his wife had talked him into watching it. So, he knew he wanted to look like the distinguished leading man from the first season, the Duke of Hastings, portrayed by actor Rege-Jean Page.

Robbins Brothers’ marketing department furnished Garcia and his team with a Pinterest inspiration board and a wardrobe budget, and he perfected his look with a top hat and an embroidered vest. The whole staff had a blast shopping for costumes, Garcia says.

Garcia said the theme was so enticing to invitees that he had to stop accepting RSVPs after just four days due to the overwhelming response.

Dozens of guests, a mix of loyal customers and local influencers, dressed up too, and got into the spirit of the event, dropping an occasional curtsy and trying on an Old-World accent. Most women wore floor-length gowns accessorized with tiaras, gloves, dangling earrings and statement necklaces.

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They arranged flowers, danced to a string quartet, sipped gin cocktails and posed for photos in front of a bouquet wall. Robbins Brothers partnered with florists, photographers and cake makers, which fit with the not-so-subtle wedding theme.

Guests were invited to try on and play with the jewelry, and Robbins Brothers store associates showed off vintage-style engagement rings reminiscent of the Regency era, along with more modern styles.

Throughout the event, five guests randomly won prizes, including 14K yellow gold diamond halo earrings and a 14K yellow gold diamond halo pendant.

Best-dressed Cornelia Berrocal, chosen via social-media voting, models her Regency Era-inspired costume. The honor came with a platinum engagement ring.

Best-dressed Cornelia Berrocal, chosen via social-media voting, models her Regency Era-inspired costume. The honor came with a platinum engagement ring.

Cornelia Berrocal of Houston won a $7,000 Poem Platinum Diamond Engagement Ring after she was selected the best-dressed “diamond of the season” in social-media voting over four days.

Although it wasn’t created to be a selling event, it turned out to be a successful day in that way, too. “It was a cherry on top of the sundae,” Garcia says, “but it was an event to build relationships.”

Land says the event appealed to more women than men but noted that women are key influencers when it comes to where engagement rings are purchased. Sixty-eight percent of couples shop for the rings together. And although more people are window shopping online, 89 percent still prefer to walk into a brick-and-mortar environment and have an experience.

“We wanted to create something unique in that moment,” Land says.

PHOTO GALLERY (7 IMAGES)

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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