FUR CANADA: As a fourth-generation furrier, Lysa Lash’s customized service is surprisingly similar to the attentiveness her relatives showed to their customers years ago.
Rather than wholesale her collection of easy-to-throw-on fur pieces, she sells limited-edition items at invitation-only trunk shows. Now holding these events at the Mark Hotel in New York and the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Montreal and 13 other cities, Lash said 50 to 60 women will typically show up. On-the-clock professionals blitz by for 20-minute purchases and nonworking mothers are more inclined to linger for an hour or more over a glass of wine. Regardless of their schedules, repeat shoppers know that what you see is what you get, and if they choose to wait, they very well may lose the item to a more decisive customer. On average, 85 percent of attendees buy something from the line which is offered at wholesale prices. Fox vests retail between $2,000 and $3,000 and mink jackets are in the $4,000 to $5,000 range. Her on-the-go options include a forest green short jacket, fur ponchos, a sheared beaver jacket and a rex quack with toggles, and nonbasic colors are offered.
Many of her loyal customers have busy lives like her own. “I am a mother of three. I work, I go to the gym, I do the carpool for the kids. I don’t live a very glamorous life other than when I host a trunk show,” Lash said. “What I really take pride in is being part of an industry that is one of the founding ones of Canada. I want to modernize the collection and the way we buy and sell furs. Yet, we’re going back to the way we used to do it in the Thirties.”
With that in mind and the hope that shoppers will return for the next trunk show, Lash said she is determined about making sure shoppers get the item that is right for them. “That personal connection and service is important. I want them to feel more comfortable with me and comfortable about what they bought,” she said, adding that offering them Champagne and hosting the invitation-only events in luxe locations adds to the experience.
Miami and Dallas will be added to Lash’s roster next year. Charitable tie-ins are sometimes in place, as will be the case at this summer’s trunk show in the Hamptons to benefit the Children’s Museum of the East End. Certain areas can sustain two trunks shows such as Washington, D.C., and Greenwich and New Canaan, Conn. Lash has also indirectly helped to sell a few apartments at the Four Seasons Toronto, among other places. “It’s one thing to see another ad for an apartment in a magazine, but it is completely different to experience the residence,” Lash said.