An event designed to specifically cater for women is gaining momentum and is set to become a regular feature following the successful staging of the second annual A Night Out with the Girls by Ruralco.
This year’s girls-only event was held at the Ruralco Ashburton Gift and Homeware Store and saw around 140 women attend the evening which featured Ruralco Card Suppliers and businesses showcasing goods and services with a feminine flair.
The ticket only event sold out in only three days and organisers say the high demand only reiterated the importance of such events. Group CEO Rob Sharkie said the idea behind this year’s event, and last year’s (held at the Methven Ruralco Store) was to give something back to cardholders.
“Ruralco already runs highly successful annual events such as our Instore Days and our Christmas shopping day in early December. A Night Out with the Girls is a chance for us to recognise the support shown by our female cardholders by hosting an exclusive event which showcases local business and products.”
The evening featured demonstrations by local caterer and former Masterchef contestant, Chantelle Quinn of Twenty Four Catering; floral arranging by Ashburton florist Samantha Trott of Samantha Rose Flowers; fashion styling by Vicki McMillan from Beauty and Style in association with Denim Den Clothing; and beauty and hair styling tips from Mirror Image and Tanglez respectively. Other participants were Annie’s Country Quilt Store, Emmily Harmer Photography; Paper Plus and Wild Country.
Both Chantelle and Samantha said the event was an excellent opportunity to showcase their businesses and to give back to their local community. “I love being able to share my love of food and bringing back the love of making meals from scratch and not being afraid to give it a go,” said Chantelle. Her business is made up of like-minded people, with all sharing a passion for food. “Good food needs good staff,” she said. For Samantha, sharing her newly realised dream of opening her own florist’s was fantastic. A former Ashburtonian returned home, Samantha opened her shop just six months ago and had successfully filled a gap in the market for a fresh, new approach to floristry.
MC for the evening was ATS Independent Director, Sue Lindsay, one of three women on the seven-strong board. She says the board has a good level of consciousness around the role of women. “There’s an inner drive for diversity and an understanding of the role of women in the market place.”
This was particularly important when research showed women were the fastest growing economy in the world – ahead of China and India, making them a formidable force, said Sue. “My research also indicates that over 80 per cent of consumer purchases are made or directly influenced by women and a staggering 97 per cent of women are responsible for gift purchases,” she told the woman attending the Ruralco event.