Under the rolling hills and cloud-covered skies in Brimfield, Massachusetts, vendors from all over the globe gathered a week in advance to prepare for the largest outdoor antique exhibit in the world—the Brimfield Antique & Collectables Show.
More than 6,000 dealers stretched along one mile of dusty road prepared to peddle everything from vintage clothing and jewelry to antique furniture and décor to the general public and the famous who arrive in droves to discover items of a certain je ne sais quoi that can be turned new again. Renowned fashion designers and famous interior designers, as well as buyers and stylists for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, and Martha Stewart maneuvered amongst 130,000+ visitors in a race to unearth items of interest that will most likely filter onto high-end magazine covers everywhere.
In the middle of such a shopping frenzy, where does one find shelter from the exterior elements, feral crowds, and pain-point queues? Where does one go to check email, charge the cell phone, have a drink, and otherwise hit the reset button?
Cue in an80-foot-long white canopy tent, with décor and mixologist fit for a royal wedding. You have entered the Brimfield VIP Tent. Masterminded by cofounders Gretchen Aubuchon of Fashion + Décor and Cynthia Bogart of The Daily Basics this VIP affair is a synchronized “tweet-up” (a meet-up of people that use Twitter) for the millions of followers everywhere who Tweet about the Brimfield Antique & Collectables Show. “Over 23 million Twitter impressions were made,” states Aubuchon. A digital jujitsu of combined technology and networking, if you will!
Amongst the Tweeters, bloggers, writers, networkers, and local and national press barons filtering in and around the VIP Tent, there was another layer of intrigue not to be missed. Celebrity appearances by Cari Cucksey of HGTV’s Cash & Cari and Robert and Cortney Novogratz of HGTV’s Home by Novogratz were present this year; offering up casual banter and interviews with guests and media on what they were passionately and pathologically hunting for.
Gingerly threaded throughout the VIP Tent, National sponsors Benjamin Moore Paint (benjaminmoore.com), Company C fabrics (companyc.com), and Robert Allen fabrics (robertallendesign.com,) plus international media sponsor Style at Home (styleathome.com) and local sponsor Aubuchon Hardware (hardwarestore.com) entertained clients and informed customers on both brand as well as product.
Circling back, as the designer-at-large for the Brimfield VIP Tent, the message as to why we were all there is unmistakably apparent and not that much of a surprise any longer. Doing snoozy business from behind a large desk can be calculated failure. Many big-brand businesses are discovering unconventional ways to place themselves outside the box in order to build face-to-face alliances with the movers and shakers of the 21st century in real time—the ones viewing their brands, purchasing their products, and most importantly Tweeting about the results.
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