There’s probably some kind of networking event in your city every weekday evening, but it’s unlikely that any of them matched the after-work event Allen Matkins’s Northern California women’s group held at Bloomingdale’s on March 25.
Style & Share was the group’s second event – the first was Tour and Tea at Ghiradelli Square. Style & Share combined fashion and style, networking, and a successful clothing drive of new or gently worn professional clothing and accessories that were donated to Career Closet, a non-profit that helps women re-enter the workforce.
“We combined a networking event in an intimate gathering of professional women while doing something good for the community,” says Sandi Nichols, an environmental litigator for Allen Matkins in Northern California and the partner in charge of the event.
Makesha Patterson, an associate with the firm, took the lead in organizing the event, says Nichols. She and marketing manager Laurie Schmitt worked with Bloomingdale’s to create an event where the attendees – Allen Matkins attorneys and their clients – could get together informally, and learn how to freshen up their wardrobe.
Bloomingdale’s set up the event in their community room space, brought in four Christian Dior makeup artists, set up accessories tables with shoes, handbags, and jewelry, and served wine and appetizers. Three of the guests were asked in advance if they wanted to be models, and then met with a personal shopper to be fitted for outfits. The personal shoppers did a presentation to all the guests on everything from choosing foundations to changing up different outfits for work, evening, and weekends. Every guest received a little brown bag filled with goodies and a discount shopping card for the evening.
The highlight of the evening, though, was that the 40 women who attended the event brought the equivalent of three rolling racks of clothing and accessories donations. “Bloomingdale’s boxed them up and sent them to Career Closet,” says Schmitt. “They’re an amazing organization. Not only do they provide low-income women with clothes for job interviews, but they also help them hone their skills, learn how to find a new job, and prepare them for interviews to build their confidence.”
The evening also provided plenty of opportunity for women new to one another to meet and connect.
“If you can create an atmosphere in which people can enjoy themselves and be comfortable, then people respond,” says Nichols. “It was a really nice environment. And very intimate, so you could really get to meet new people and talk to them.”
Stay tuned for details about the next event. Nichols says it will probably be a “plus-one” event in the fall, so that the group can expand their network.