It’s no secret that one of the things I’m known for is my colorful vests. Not only do they energize me when I put them on, it energizes the attendees – and in a subtle way – sets the stage for a fun event.
Over the course of my career I’ve had to literally “give the shirt” or should I say vest “off my back.” I’ll sacrifice it for a good cause, but only if the situation and timing is appropriate.
My experience has been – that if a vest is going to sell – it needs to be spontaneous with the guest making the request. In 2013, such a request was made 6 different times with one vest selling for $15,000. If you’re curious – opening bids start at a minimum of $1,000.
The timing of the selling of the vest is crucial. If an auction is humming along the last thing I want to do is interrupt the flow. I also don’t want to siphon proceeds that may have gone to a major cause such as Fund-A-Need.
With that said, if an auction needs a shot of excitement, selling the vest off my back can be a great addition.
Now, here’s something else I’ve learned through 20 years of experience.
When the auction is in full swing my job is to be totally focused. Any side deals like this are handled by my auction assistants or the event planner in charge of the event.
If someone, particularly a well-meaning volunteer who has heard about me selling a vest at auction brings up the idea, my auction assistants quickly dismiss it if the volunteer is not planning on backing up the idea by bidding on it. And for it to be successful addition to an auction, I prefer at least 2 people being committed to purchasing the vest so we have an actual auction experience.
In short – I’m happy to give the vest off my back. But it only works if 2 or more people want to bid on it and only if the request occurs in a spontaneous “fashion.”