The Ultimate Eyewear Trunk Show Guide

Kirk Trunk Shows

As you are planning your eyecare marketing for 2016, consider adding Eyewear Trunk Shows to your calendar of events. As eyecare professionals are seeking ways to engage their audiences, bring new and old patients into the office and build their brands, Trunk Shows appear to be on the rise. Some offices report increasing their trunk show presence for 2016.

Barb Tuckerman Holiday Trunk Show
Barb Tuckerman Trunk Show in Ohio 

Successful Trunk Shows take a lot of work, but the benefits outweigh the amount of work. We were reading about Jason Kirk Eyewear Show in Paris that had over 400 people show up! That is an Exceptional Extravaganza. Says Jason Kirk No big secrets, just hard work and attention to detail. All year round Mendiburu build their client list and treat their clients with respect, building a professional and personal relationship. Once a year they hold a trunk show and invite their clients, friends and local press to discover what they themselves are excited to introduce to their store. They send invitations by email and by post and follow up the invitations with phone calls and further mails, personally addresses so that their clients know that they are appreciated and that their presence is very welcome. (see more here)

Kirk Trunk Shows
Kirk Trunk Show with 400 people. 

Is it possible to have a $60,000 day? Yes, but it takes it takes planning and organization. To help you achieve your best days ever,  we have put together the Ultimate Trunk Show Guide to consider in marketing Trunks Shows in your eyecare practice.


1.) Decide How many you want to have:  

We have heard some accounts that do one big Trunk Show a year, we know of others that have a monthly event. The Trunk Showers seem to average 3-4 times a year. If you never have had a trunk show, try doing just one and build from that point. Look at the time, work and the staffing to make it successful. The main reason that trunk shows don’t work is because the work and planning does not go into it.

Once you decide on how many to have in the year:

2.) Decide a Theme

Themes make it a destination and reason for people to show up. We have seen Rock and Roll, 50’s, Gatsby, Halloween. GNO (Girls Nite Out) and Man Cave nights. We have seen Formal Events, World Site Day, Arbor Day, Sporting Events, Art Walks, Holidays, Seasons and Anniversaries, Luaus, and Sunglasses.

trunk show-Metro Eye

Once you have decided the Themes for the year you can:

3.) Decide Day and Time That goes with your theme: 

Hump Day Wednesday’s are good, also look at Thursday’s to start the weekend off. Others have done Saturdays. If you are doing a wine tasting theme, late afternoons,evenings are best, if you doing a charity event a two day Friday-Saturday might work.

Some have events starting at lunchtime leading into early evening. Late afternoons to early evening will catch the going home crowd or an evening event. Saturdays might be good if you have the clientele that will come on Saturday.

Once you have decided theme and time:

4.) Decide Location

If you have multiple locations which location is appropriate for the day and them. While most Trunk Shows are held in the eyecare office, we have seen Trunks Shows at charity events, wine bars, country clubs and apparel stores.

Once you have decided location;

5.) Decide on Product(s) 

Certain products go well with certain themes. If you are doing a Trunk Show for National Sunglass Day.. you  want to make sure the company has a big selection of sunglasses to choose from. If you are having a Trunk Show for Small Business, you might consider a small independent eyewear company. If you are looking for Back to School or Sports Safety, look at companies that have the products you will need.

Normally I don’t recommend having more than one eyewear company. But if you are having a back to school event, you might include both an eyewear company and a sports eyewear company. If you are expecting a large amount of people you might consider having two non-compete vendors. Maybe one company has lots of sunglasses and the other has more ophthalmic.

Hicks Brunson
Hicks Brunson

6.) Decide on Vendor Support 

Once you have decided on the right product lines to go with the theme, what can those vendors do to support you? Coop Advertising, free products, Point of Purchase materials?

After deciding on Products and Vendors:

Gift Basket by Heather Smith Van Dervort of Winking Bee Optometry.
Gift Basket made by Heather Smith Van Dervort of Winking Bee Optometry.

8.) Decide On Co-Sponsors

Co-Sponsors would be lens, lab reps or accessory vendors. Many offices have hooked up with local businesses, such as gyms, clothing stores, hair stylist, make up artists, masseuse’s, wineries, restaurants, brewers and more. Co-marketing can help everyone.

Look at a Cause Related approach in conjunction with local charity, We have seen fundraisers for schools, homeless and of course World Sight Day.

Girls Night Out, Collaboration with Shopping Center.. image:
Girls Night Out, Collaboration with Shopping Center.. image:

Once that is established:

9.) Decide On Decor For Theme

How are you going to decorate. Are you going to get in the theme (Rock and Roll, 50’s)

Now comes the real work!

Honolulu Eye Clinic
Honolulu Eye Clinic

10.) Decide How, Where and When To Market:

There are many ways to market. Where you spend your dollars depends on who you are trying to reach.


  • Flyers to local businesses, emails, postcards, social media.
  • Special invitations to your customers.
  • Invitation to friends and family.
  • Press releases to local media, including radio, TV and newspaper.
  • Phone calls to special patients.
  • Sandwich Board in front of office.

Booked Appointments: There are some events where it will just be about the products. There will be events which are held during the day in which you book appointments. This will depend on the day, the time and the event.

Discounts: Some offer something free or a discount off of lenses same day at show. You can offer free AR, free tints. Depends on what you are trying to achieve and the time of year. I know an office that did a yearly end of the year sale in conjunction with Trunk Shows. Selected old merchandise was offered at 50% off with purchase of Trunk Show products.

Goodie Bags at 2020
Goodie Bags at 2020 Optical in Australia 

Raffles: People love to win and raffles are a great way to bring the winner out in each of us. Raffles can be a donated frame, lens, eye-exam and accessories. You can have more that one raffle prize.

Gift Bags to Guests: Gift bags are a growing trend. You go to a wedding you get a gift for attending. The same can apply to Trunk Shows. The gift bag can be simple with microfiber cleaning cloth and lens cleaner. It can be a mini repair kit.

Flowers: A few people mentioned on one of the forums they give out flowers. It can also be a nice parting gift as the patients leave.

Next Delicious Step:

11.) Decide What to Serve

Food and drink is important. It is part of the customer experience. What you don’t want is messy food that will get all over. What you want is easy delicious finger food. Cheese, crackers, fruits. Desserts are always good.

Another trend is the Food Truck: The advantage of food trucks is they advertise where they will be and you could get new patients out of it. How it works is your patients could get food coupons when they come. You end up feeding others but on the one hand, the PR might be worth it.

Others have suggested caterers. (If you are working with a restaurant, would not have to worry.) Caterers or food servers allow staff to mix with guests and show products. Keeps with a party theme and can help up with cleanliness.

Wink Optometry in Del Mar, celebrating 3rd year anniversary and marketing via YELP.
Wink Optometry in Del Mar, celebrating 3rd year anniversary and marketing via YELP.

Getting the work done:

12.) Assign Staff

Successful Trunk Shows are work. They require planning and attention to detail. While it is important to have a team leader, one does not have to do everything themselves. Make up a checklist and assign staff to certain tasks.

13.) Set Goals And Tracking

If you have been having trunk shows for awhile, you know that your average trunk show may sell 18 frames. The goal is 20 frames. If you have never had a Trunk Show, look at your average day and set the goal for 3x the average day. Track and make notes on what worked and what didn’t work.

14.) Decide on Budget

It would be a wonderful thing to have tons of money to throw at the ultimate party. But like all marketing you need a budget. Looking at the above and your checklist develop a budget that will work for you.


15.) Have Fun!!!!

Trunks are like social media, you are either all in or all out.



We recommend googling optical or eyewear trunk shows for more information. Click images to get images of sample invitations and party layouts.

2020 Optical Pinterest Boards on Trunk Shows – This is their board on events.

Eyewear Trunk Shows on Pinterest a new board we started.


Aspire MidPage June 19


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