Fuzzy-slipper set makes friends, contacts
Girls-only party promotes beauty and business connections
Get a lead on a job, a good friend and a fabulous pedicure Ñ all without changing out of your pajamas. Anything's possible at a Crave Party, says Melody Biringer.
'It's like an afternoon brunch where women can pamper themselves while meeting other great women,' says Biringer, the Seattle-based founder of the parties.
After registering online, guests may select one or more services to enjoy during the party. Treatment prices range from $15 for an eyebrow wax to $80 for a 30-minute, four-handed body massage (two masseuses working in tandem). In all, more than a dozen services will dot the cozy, living room-like atmosphere created for the party at the Crown Ballroom.
And because chatting and getting beautiful require energy, the day includes champagne, noshes and, most important, chocolate. Guests also receive a goody bag to take home. These treats are included in the $35 registration fee.
A portion of the proceeds goes to Doernbecher Children's Hospital.
Biringer hosted her first Crave Party last November, after realizing that a shared manicure produced more than just great nails.
'I produced home spa parties for about three years, and what I saw was the value of getting great women together,' she says. 'Crave parties evolved from there, inspiring me to create what is really a community event, bringing small retailers and spas together and then inviting everybody to it.'
If a green facial mask doesn't make someone more approachable, Biringer has other ways to break the ice.
'I have this little name-tag game at the party,' she says. 'Everyone gets a tag that says something like 'Sassy girl' or 'Sexy diva' on it, and if they find their match they win a door prize. It's a fun, girlie way to meet people.'
Fun and girlie must work: Biringer says she frequently hears from women who have made strong friendships and business contacts from attending a Crave Party.
Connie Buckley, a Vancouver, Wash., resident who works in Portland, went for a triple at the first Portland event, enjoying a massage, a pedicure and a psychic reading.
'I've never experienced anything like it,' says Buckley, who's bringing her daughter with her to the next one. 'And this time, I won't wear my old flannel pj's. Women came in beautiful pajamas and fancy slippers, so I'll dress a little more elegantly.'
This will be the second Crave Party to be held in Portland, while San Francisco is next in line for her magic touch.
Biringer says the average attendee is anything but average.
'Most of the women are 30 to 50 years old, professional, entrepreneurs and moms. But a lot of moms also bring their teenage daughters,' she says.
Biringer's found that the traditional 'day of rest' has proved to be the best time for women to get away from their traditional roles.
'Sundays work best for the parties,' she says. 'We get a lot of moms who need a time out, and Sunday's a great day for Dad to watch the kids. We also get professional women who are harried. Of course, there's always the excuse of spending the day with a friend.'
And while half of first-time guests are reluctant to wear pj's in public, Biringer reminds them that it's all part of the fun.
'People ask me all the time, 'Why can't we all just wear pretty spring dresses?' she says. 'I say, 'Trust me, you'll feel out of place if don't wear pajamas. And it's so much fun to go into a swishy venue wearing pajamas instead of high heels.''