Jennifer Miller learned last week there’s a little more to throwing a party than picking out striking invitations and colorful decorating.
And the American Cancer Society was the beneficiary of her learning experience.
As her senior project at East Greenwich High School, Miller organized “Pink Party for a Purpose,” a gathering and sale on the evening of Nov. 9 at New England Invitations, 36 Main St. The event included discounts on some of the store’s goods and a guest speaker, Elizabeth Sharpe from the American Cancer Society.
Miller said the idea came from her interest in party planning and her involvement in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.
“I was always interested in event planning and having fun with crazy décor,” she said.
Working with her mentor, New England Invitations co-owner Pamela Ryan, Miller learned there was much more to throwing a successful event.
“I didn’t understand what went on behind the scenes, the marketing, communications and budget stuff. I had to stay on top of so many things and make sure it all got done by today,” she said as about 15-20 customers wandered through the store, predominantly decorated in pink with pink items prominently displayed and candy and snacls laid out on a nearby table.
Much of the work had to be done over the weekend, said Miller, adding she did not get a day off from school to finalize the preparations.
The mainly female clientele ranged from middle-aged adults to her classmates.
“I got a lot of Facebook replies, I put it on Twitter, and my tennis teammates are coming,” Miller said.
Miller charged $5 admission, although visitors could donate additional money in the jar at the front of the store. A 20 percent discount on pink items provided an additional lure for shoppers.
Ryan, who has hosted other nonprofit events and worked with Junior League, ALS and MS charities, said her job was to assist with preparations, then let Miller take over.
“We went over everything that needed to be done, then gave her the key to the shop. Before it began, she was making sure everything is ready, and is priced,” Ryan said.
And the results?
Miller said the event has raised $497, with additional pledges still to come in.