Monday, 9 November 2009

A garage sale, but not as we know it

What do you get when you cross charity conscious celebs and a car boot sale? The "Selfridges Really Really Great Garage Sale", of course. On Sunday 15 November, Yasmine Le Bon, Louise Redknapp, Trinny Woodall and Lisa B are hosting an upmarket garage sale in Selfridges car park, with 100% of the profits going to the charity Mothers4Children.

Mothers4Children supports charitable organisations that have developed successful programs and services that benefit children in need, providing practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children and young people. The charity's mission is to better the lives of all children, "because ALL children deserve love and a great start in life".

The hostesses (who are also the charity's patrons) hope to raise funds for Mothers4Children by selling coveted items owned by their celebrity friends, whose help they have enlisted to man the stalls. Fashionista Elizabeth Hurley will be one of the 45 stallholders, together with David Walliams and Natalie Imbruglia, who will be selling donated possessions for the greater good.

Fashionista is, of course, familiar with the notion of celebrity endorsement. But this is en masse and, effectively, a garage sale. It is less polished, more authentic.

A clever marketing and fundraising strategy: the celebrity mingling with the ordinary person; luxury labels at (luxury) garage sale prices. Celebrity sales and auctions usually take place behind closed doors at exclusive events. It is rare for celebrity charity events to be open to the public at large. But the Selfridges Really Really Great Garage Sale breaks away from the mould. It promises high-price glamour on a recessionista's budget, and with the added warm glow of being charitable to boot. Recycling and fundraising all rolled into one. A great move for Selfridges too. The sale might attract new customers in store, as well as sending out the message that Selfridges supports charitable organisations and events - a theme which is attracting increasing media attention in a bid to give back and go green.

Fashionista suspects that people will flock to the first floor of the car park, eager to part with the £5 entrance fee, if only to catch a glimpse into the lives of the celebrities and their wares. With items such as a Prada dress from Jemima Khan and Balenciaga boots from Gwyneth Paltrow, Fashionista suspects* that she won't need to step foot within Selfridges' doors on Sunday to experience the glamour of the brands normally only available inside.

(* - of course, this is only a suspicion; Selfridges' lure is likely to be too great for Fashionista to avoid...).