So, I go down to Keeneland this past weekend for their opening weekend of races, and Trunk Shows and it snows! That is not why I love Keeneland – although any day at Keeneland, rain, snow or shine is a great day! I have blogged about Keeneland before and love this track and the people. I love going to Lexington and to Keeneland specifically because I get to see so many of my customers that I see at all the others tracks and major racing events across America. Keeneland is of course well known for their horse sales, races and their beautiful track, but equally well known for their great Gift Shop and a large Gift Shop that many tracks envy.
This past weekend’s travels made me reflect on how I started selling to their gift shop. I started working with Keeneland in 2007 when the then buyer and store manager Jolene Dawkins found me at the Accessories Show here in NYC. She instantly fell in love with my work and felt I was a perfect fit for their Gift Shop. She also loved that my Trunk Show model included going after the custom-order market, and she was committed to collaborating with me and growing that customer base. She immediately placed a great order. Anyone who knows me knows that I love working with customers and love collaborating with them to create a hat to match their outfit. Our goal is always to make them look great for any event they are attending. We are fortunate to do hundreds of these orders each year for major racing events and for non-racing stores that buy my hats. Jolene saw right away that I could bring this Trunk Show model to Keeneland and fill a needed niche and in turn increase sales. I loved that she was committed to fostering this model and working with me. All an artist needs is a willing partner eager to foster an atmosphere conducive to collaboration and a level of respect to make a market work!
Jolene even went so far as to introduce me to some of the media when they visited the track, and this proved invaluable to me in Lexington. Due to Jolene’s commitment I have always cherished being an ambassador for the racing lifestyle at Keeneland, and always have been, and continue to be committed to pushing out Keeneland in media and social media as a wear-to-buy for my hats and Trunk Shows. The quid pro que of relationships like this are invaluable. Keeneland has helped me to grow and has always been supportive of helping to push out my love of this lifestyle. As my sponsorships have grown I always remember to credit the parties responsible for supporting me on the journey. Take a look at #millinerscorner on twitter and Instagram and follow @shopkeeneland.
Fast forward to this past Wednesday night when the Gift Shop sponsored “Taste of the Races” a wonderful shopping experience complete with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from their amazing chef Marc Therrien. I love this kind of out-of-the-box event designed to build relationships with customers. Thanks, Keeneland!
So, when you get to beautiful Lexington, Kentucky do not miss visiting Keeneland Race Course and their Gift Shop – it is well worth the trip!
I will be back at Keeneland for Trunk Shows April 12 and 13th and cannot wait!
Christine A. Moore
Owner, Christine A. Moore Millinery