By Leslie Kelly
If there’s one thing Barbara James knows about women, it’s that they love to give gifts and they love to help others.
That’s why James knows the upcoming Baubles, Boots & Bags sale is going to be a success.
“Not all women like jewelry and accessories,” James said. “But all women love giving things to others and love that their efforts are helping people.”
The Baubles, Boots & Bags sale is set for Nov. 17, 1-4 p.m., and is the latest fundraising event of the Soroptimists of Greater North Kitsap, the same group that sponsors “Bras for a Cause.” It’s described as an event designed to attract women of all ages who are interested in purchasing upscale, gently used jewelry, shoes, purses and fashion accessories. The boutique-style sale will be in the lower level of the Poulsbo branch of the Kitsap Regional Library, 700 NE Lincoln Road, Poulsbo.
“Our Bras for a Cause event has grown to be a really well-known event with a lot of participation,” James said. “Our members were thinking that we needed to do something else during the year to raise money and we just came up with the idea to sell boots and shoes and jewelry.”
After a bit of brainstorming, they chose the name “Baubles, Boots & Bags,” and the Soroptimists program committee of James, Sigrid Howard and Amy Allen went to work. In six weeks, they’ve gathered more than 60 pairs of shoes and boots, 60 purses, and hundreds of pieces of jewelry including necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
“We put the word out to our members and their friends and we posted it on our Facebook page,” Howard said. “And what a response. It’s just amazing how many things we’ve had given to us.”
An example, Howard said, is a vintage 1910 or 1920s necklace and earrings set made of a citron colored jewel. It was given by a friend of Howard’s in California who wanted to support the work of the Soroptimists.
“She said it was her mother’s and she use to wear it to afternoon tea,” Howard said.
Among other jewelry items are brooches and pins, everything from spirals of colored stones to butterflies to even a tiny purse pin. And there are exquisite sets of bracelets, necklaces and earrings of diamond-like stones.
The inventory of shoes for the sale includes everything from a Nine West pair of taupe and white polka dot pumps with a four-inch wood heel, to a black velvet holiday shoe with a sparkling silver heel. Other shoes include some ankle boots in black suede, and a pair of Funtaisma brand red, white and black paten leather pumps with red hearts hugging the heels.
“The donor said these are shoes for a professional pole dancer,” James laughed.
Bags include over-sized Hobo bags, beaded evening bags, and Italian leather bags by Coach and Prada. Many have only been used once or twice and some look new.
“Some of them appear to have been purchases for a single event or for wearing on a cruise and then never used again,” Howard said. “Especially some of the jewelry.”
All of the items will be priced competitively, Howard said. Pricing is yet to be done, but will be based on similar items listed on eBay and elsewhere and most items are expected to be under $50.
“We have an expert on standby to help with that,” Howard said. “Kerry Slone, who owns Longworth Studio in Poulsbo is going to help us with pricing.”James added, “This is not an auction, either. All items will have a price and we’re trying to make sure everything gets bought because the whole idea is to make money for our projects.”
The Soroptimists use the funds they raise throughout the year to fund scholarships and support other charitable beneficiaries. A committee makes recommendations based on applications the club receives and then the entire membership of 24 women votes where their money will go.
In the past year, the Soroptimists have given to about a dozen charities including Habitat for Humanity, Hospice of Kitsap County, YWCA Alive Shelter, Bainbridge Youth Services, North Kitsap Fishline, and Helpline House. And the group has provided three scholarships to women.
The organization’s goal is to support women and children and work to improve their lives in the community.
Every item donated has been sorted, cleaned, tagged and awaits pricing. The committee has met at James’ house everyday sorting and placing items in individual plastic bags. The group also prepared decorative gift bags commemorating the event, and each item sold will go home in a bag with blue tissue and a ribbon.
“We’ll be setting up the boutique the morning of the sale,” James said. “We’re getting together some great things to use to display the jewelry, shoes and bags. And we’ll have lots of mirrors so everyone can see how great they look in their new jewels.”
The women are excited about the response thus far to the first Baubles, Boots & Bags sale.
“We had some donation locations and we put the word out but we had no idea what to expect,” James said. “The response has been heartfelt.”
Donations of high-quality women’s shoes, bags, jewelry, and accessories are still being accepted and can be dropped off at the Windermere Real Estate office, 18570 Highway 305 in Poulsbo, or by calling James at (360) 649-1008 to arrange for pick up of items.
“It’s all about buying a gift that gives to a cause,” Allen said. “It’s going to be a great event and hopefully an annual event.”