SLIDESHOW: Big Trunk Show sizzles at Cafe Eleven

By Kerry Takach and Mary Elizabeth Fair |
Photo slideshow by Mary Elizabeth Fair

For Cassandra Helton, the owner of The Closet and designer of Helton Hill, the 4th annual Big Trunk Show at Café Eleven is a huge event. The show allows local clothing, screen-print, jewelry and accessory designers to display and sell their wares to everyone who visits Café Eleven on the night in question. This year, that night happened to be Nov. 12.

“It’s exactly what I feel like my store stands for,” Helton said. “It’s promoting local individuals, local artists, people, it gives them a platform.”

Two Flagler graduates were among the designers as well. Jay Bonadio sold his graphic t-shirts from his line, Jbon Clothing Co. while Kristin Adamczyk illustrated sustainable style in her collection, Honeywell. For Adamczyk, the Big Trunk Show is about more than just selling her clothes.

“It’s a community thing,” she said. “That’s why I love St. Augustine. That’s why I came back. Because it’s a community and this is just one more thing that gets to showcase what an artistic special community we have. And that is what is most important and my favorite part about the trunk show, for sure.”

Adamczyk is a veteran of the local designer showcase, having been a part of it from the beginning. Though she missed last year’s show, because she was living in Oregon at the time, she returned with a new jewelry line and a literal trunk load of colorful apparel to woo the crowd.

Both designers met the inaugural year when Helton spent the evening passing out business cards and telling everyone about the shop she was preparing to open.

“I just try to be as supportive as possible of other designers so they know they do have a place,” said Helton. “If it’s something they really do love doing, that they do bring stuff here afterwards.”

Three years later, Adamczyk still has a few of her pieces for sale at The Closet and the women have their designs on neighboring racks.

“This year at the Trunk Show was great, my sales were actually up,” said Helton. “I sold over half my pieces, so we were pretty cleared out by the end.”

However, Helton did take the current economy into consideration, lowering her average price by about $10. She made this decision by thinking about what she would want to purchase and what she would want to pay right now.

Adamczyk also had the economy on the brain. Sales were about the same as previous years, but the designer said she felt less overwhelmed and busy than in the past.

Those attending the event were dressed up and ready for some bargains. Andrew Ambrose, a local hair stylist, bought two t-shirts for $8 from Everything Nothing Clothing. “Of course I’m going to buy something when it’s cheaper than going to the store and buying clothes, plus, I’m supporting local businesses,” he said. “I can’t wait until next year! Hopefully the economy will be better but things will stay this cheap.”

Regardless of sales figures, both designers love being a part of the show.

“Everyone gets together and it’s like a big party,” Adamczyk said. “Everyone supports each other and that’s what’s so fun about it, I think.”

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