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With glasses, donuts & love: How to put on a wildly successful trunk show

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** This in the un-edited version of the article that appears in Eyecare Business Magazine, May 2016.

With glasses, donuts & love

How to put on a wildly successful trunk show

 Hello, I’m Tanya Gill, O.D.

On Feb 26, 2016, I checked off one of my practice goals: put on a wildly successful trunk show.

Here, I’ve written a behind the scenes guide of what my practice did so you can put on a wildly successful trunk show yourself.


1.     Pick the right date.

For us, February is historically the slowest month of the year so we wanted to have our event during that month to generate some cash flow. We also made sure to pick a Friday as most people don’t mind taking time off work on a TGIF.



2.     Select a really unique, #hashtag-able theme.



We wanted to throw a trunk show that was catchy, fun, original and social media savvy. Before we even thought of a theme, we had to make sure it was #hashtag available – meaning that it was an unused social media hashtag. This was quite the challenge. After some brainstorming we came up with: #glassesdonutslove. It was catchy, fun and available. After all, who doesn’t love a great pair of glasses and donuts?

3.     Create win-win partnerships.

This was the most important component for success. First we partnered up with our neighborhood donut shop and made them a central part of our trunk show theme – donuts. We would heavily promote their business weeks prior to the trunk show on social media and in return, we would be able to advertise directly at their location with our jumbo business cards (more later). The owner of Donut Savant was so jazzed about the idea, she provided all the donuts and coffee for us at no charge.


Our second partnership was with Zeiss lab. We negotiated with them to provide their premium, single vision digital Cr39 lens at no charge for 100% of our trunk show work. Zeiss was so excited by our #glassesdonutlove event, they also provided printed graphics, banners, our awesome giveaway (more later) and flew 2 people up from San Diego to help out at the event.

The third partnership was with Oliver Peoples. We really wanted our rep to walk away from the event wanting to do it again. Instead of diluting sales by having more than 1 frame vendor, we concentrated on just one. Let’s just say, our rep broke his record for most frames sold at a trunk show. He already told me he’d be back next year! Winning.

4.     Create gorgeous digital and printed graphics.

We really wanted to grab the attention of consumers by creating simple, memorable images. We designed 500 jumbo square business cards that we handed out at local businesses. The most successful location was the donut shop we partnered up with.


Word spreads fast on social media. We posted twice a week starting February with gorgeous, eye-catching images. It was effective, as we got many established and new patients to schedule appointments just by seeing our instagram and facebook posts.


5.     Offer an unmistakable give away.

With a trunk show purchase, we gave away this awesome coffee mug for donut dunking. We kept the graphic the same as the jumbo business card to keep it cohesive. The mug created such a buzz on social media that people were approaching us to purchase the mug before the event even began. Somebody say amazing.

6.     Max out your appointment book.

We did not want to rely on walk-by traffic. We wanted the for sure thing. On the morning of Feb 26th, we had 52 confirmed appointments for our trunk show. We accomplished this by sending out 4 email blasts to our established patients. The 4 blasts were all different so our audience wouldn’t get bored, and we made sure they contained beautiful images and fun to read copy. They responded. We scheduled patients with our 2 eye doctors every 20 minutes. Deferred dilations. And no contact lens exams.

One wonderful lesson we learned was that our established patients were much more excited about the trunk show and therefore spent more money than new patients. Who knew?

7.     Make a DIY photo area for social media photos.

We decorated a wall with glasses, donuts and hearts on a string and called it our photo booth, lol. During the event we went live on social media and posted photos of patients having a blast. We hashtagged all photos with #glassesdonutslove and #welovezeiss. It definitely created a buzz and so many patients in the following weeks expressed how bummed they were to miss out on the event.




8.     Spread the #selfie love.

We really wanted our #glassesdonutslove trunk show to continue with a life of it’s own even after the event was officially over. At each glasses dispense from the trunk show, each patient is handed a selfie card with instructions. They receive a $5 iTunes card simply by posting their selfie with the hashtag #glassesdonutslove. And even better yet, the best selfie will win an Apple Watch.

It has been so much fun bringing our #glassesdonutslove trunk show from concept to a wildly successful event. We learned what worked and what we can improve on for next year. And yes, there will be a next year #glassesdonutslove. People are already asking. ?


About the author, Dr. Tanya Gill, OD

Tanya N. Gill, O.D., is the owner of Oakland Vision Center Optometry in Oakland, CA. Dr. Gill is obsessed with ocular surface disease, kick-a$$ female entrepreneurship, never saying never, eating vegetables daily, and brightly colored sneaker pumps. She lives in Oakland with her husband and is the founder of We Love Eyes, a company that makes natural cleansing products for the eyes. 



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  • Written by Tanya Gill

    Dr. Gill is also a member of the Ocular Surface Society of Optometry. In addition to her Doctor of Optometry, Dr. Gill also has a BA in Integrative Biology and a BS in Vision Science, both from UC Berkeley. Go Bears!
    In 2015, Dr. Gill developed and founded We Love Eyes, which is a green cosmetics company that produces eyelid and eyelash cleansing products that are natural, non-toxic, and vegan.

    More Articles by Tanya Gill

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