Fashionable Life: Georgetown Sip & Sample

by John Arundel

Washington fashionistas snap up $50K in deals at Washington Life’s first shopping event.

By John Arundel

Tala Odeh, Jaclyn Mason, Shelley Adler, Francesca Monti and Anne Bales. (Photo by Kyle Samperton)

Ladies, start your engines… A gentle but persistent rain which fell most of April 20 failed to deter hundreds of eager shoppers from descending on Georgetown Courtyard and snapping up clothes, shoes and accessories during Washington Life’s first Georgetown Sip & Sample Sale.

Raina Woodruff, Kenya Payton, Nicole Venable and Candance Tobin Sanders (Photo by Kyle Samperton)

The unique shopping concept, conceived and planned by Charm Georgetown’s Jaclyn Mason and executed by Washington Life event planner Fran Holuba, drew about 300 bargain hunters, all of them women, who paid $50 for the privilege to shop 17 Georgetown boutiques at marked-down prices of 70 percent or more from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and $25 apiece to shop at 50 percent or more from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The proceeds benefited the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Carolyn Warner and Lindsay Buscher (Photo by Kyle Samperton)

And shop they did, swooping in like locusts and picking up nearly $50,000 in sample merchandise over a six-hour period. Take that Gilt Groupe and Group On; a print media publication partnered with brick-and-mortar shops, harnessing the magazine’s longtime loyalty of luxury consumers who apparently still crave the tactile experience of marked-down shopping for luxury clothing outside of the deal sites.

It was something akin to Black Friday, with some of the most eager shoppers lining up as early as 2:30, a full half hour before the sample sale was ready to kick off.

Shoppers enjoyed treats along with deals on clothing and accessories. (Photo by Kyle Samperton)

Shoppers enjoyed jazz licks from the Elijah Balbed Trio which provided the perfect soundtrack to such an elegant, unhurried shopping experience. A short film on Georgetown’s unique boutiques produced by Washington Life videographer Anna Hunter played on the screen of the Letelier Theater.

2012 ARTini winning mixologist Joseph Ambrose of W Washington’s POV Lounge and deputy mixologist Trevor Werner served up a varied menu of cocktails mixed with St-Germain, Bulleit Bourbon and Stellina di Notte spirtits, generously provided by Diageo’s Karim Lateef and the Charmer-Sunbelt group, and by Owen Thomson of Cooper Spirits International who made some women very happy with their newfound favorite liqueur.

Cafe Milano’s Franco Nuschese provided cases of Nuschese Wines to enjoy, and Neyla’s Souheil Moussaidik laid out a picturesque spread of Middle Eastern delicacies such as hummus and baba gannouj. Equally as picturesque was the tower of cupcakes provided by Sophie Montagne of Georgetown Cupcake.

In what was a collaborative event, Washington Life cobbled together other generous in-kind sponsors like Sugar Plum Tents, Perfect Settings and DC Jazz Fest to make the event one of D.C.’s most out-of-the-box shopping events of the year.

Participating vendors included Stella & Dot, Charm Boutique, Urban Chic, Ruth Barzel Jewelry, Love Rocks, Hysteria, Lily Pulitzer, Wink, Sassanova, Sherman Pickey , Julia Farr, Ella Rue and Queen Bee Designs.

“We were absolutely thrilled by the turnout and excitement around Sip and Sample,” said Mason, whose iconic jewelry store on M Street racked up nearly $4,000 in sales on a rainy Wednesday in spring. “We hope to do this again soon — with better weather and even better turnout.”

For more on Georgetown Sip & Sample, check out the June Philanthropic 50 issue of Washington Life, available now.

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