While previewing its collections for 2014, AFR Event Furnishings brought together 160 attendees who networked while enjoying a decorated event space featuring two themes at the Las Vegas stop of the Design and Inspire Nationwide Showcase and Networking Tour.
During this Sept. 26 tour stop, AFR unveiled its chocolate Parma collection, wooden Phoebe accent tables, the red leather of its Chandler collection and others.
“Attendees could see what we have coming up. We wanted to show different ways to use our furnishings. We also showed different looks,” explained David Buckley, national business development manager, AFR.
Above the white trimmed, blue furnishings of its Regale collection was a sign welcoming attendees to “Fabulous Las Vegas,” a location that inspired AFR.
“The glitz and glamour of the designs and a champagne girl brought Las Vegas to the event,” said Buckley.
Dressed in a white, feathered costume, the champagne girl’s look was reminiscent of some of the elaborate showgirl costumes of classic Las Vegas. The crystals lining her costume tied in with “Crystal Winter Wonderland,” a themed space created by Baskow and Associates with the help of By Dzign. Further inspired by its location, AFR featured a royally dressed queen – a drag queen – who tied into Origin Event Planning’s “Mad Hatter” themed space. Other costumed characters tied into this theme influenced by “Alice in Wonderland,” such as a rabbit and a Mad Hatter with his requisite cup of tea.
“We wanted to bring fun and novelty. Many attendees took photos with the characters,” said Buckley. “The goal was for attendees to make business deals and enjoy themselves.”
After participating on the tour, some of AFR’s sponsors and suppliers already made business deals.
“Mayesh Wholesale Florist did the first three or four networkers with us. They have gotten business from people who loved their flower arrangements,” Buckley explained. “We love to hear that!”
AFR planned its Las Vegas stop since mid-July and marketed it for six to eight weeks beforehand. To enhance its winter meetings and amp up its holiday party bookings, JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa partnered with AFR to host the event. AFR used the resort’s event space to illustrate it is capable of more than providing furnishing and accessory rentals.
“We really go the extra mile and help with the design process too,” Buckley said.
AFR’s designers helped transform the JW Marriott event space with colors and graphics, and they worked around existing structures. When the designers noticed beaded hangings encircling a column-type structure, they used it as an opportunity to incorporate the design as the leaves of a tree. AFR also used an infinity table, an older furnishing that is now discontinued, to create a rabbit hole akin to the one seen in “Alice in Wonderland.”
Compared to the hugeness and wildness of the 2012 Las Vegas tour stop at the World Market Center, AFR decided to go with a comfortable, intimate setting for 2013.
“Last year, attendees didn’t know it was a furnishings event. It was too much entertainment,” said Buckley. “This time, we wanted it under 250 people. People stayed long, and it was one of the best events we planned.”
The event also featured an outdoor space with activities ranging from hookah, mini golf, croquet and a photo booth. In addition, attendees were treated to catered meals and desserts provided by AFR’s sponsors and suppliers.
Winding down the networking event was a raffle drawing in which several winners won gift baskets, tickets to the 2014 Special Event tradeshow and conference, a $100 gift certificate and more. JW Marriott gave one winner a night’s stay at its resort along with breakfast for two.
With six tour stops left to go, the Design and Inspire Nationwide Showcase and Networking Tour is set to end around Thanksgiving if all goes as planned. Still waiting to hear from a venue, AFR’s last tour stop in Los Angeles could be pushed to December, according to Buckley.
Companies that contributed to the Las Vegas tour stop are Baskow and Associates, Origin Event Planning, JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa, Freed’s Bakery, etouches, Unistaff, 24 Seven Productions, Backdrops Beautiful, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Imagine Studios, Flora Couture, Classic Party Rentals, Champagne Creative Group Las Vegas, Quest Drape, Allstar Event Company LLC, VER: Video Equipment Rentals, Drago Sisters Bakery, Team Acme, La Tavola, By Dzign, Source 1 Events, PopNoggins and The Pheasant Cigar Aficionado.
See related article: “AFR continues building ‘tight-knit event community’ across 14-stop tour.”