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LA Cash Mobs – Recap

by Lisa Gilmore

Our first LA Cash Mob took place a week before Christmas (December 17th), on a Saturday night when many people had company parties or other holiday commitments.  With only one week of promotion, it needed to be an event I could convince both strangers and friends to come out for, an event that sounded, well, fun.  That actually WAS FUN.  The store needed to be unique, with lots of possible gift items for men and women.  Kellygreen Home in Santa Monica was exactly that…and then some.  The shop prides itself on its eco-friendly products made by many local artists, all which promote a green way of life.

So we met, all twenty of us, on the street corner nearby, donned Santa hats and antlers, and descended upon Kellygreen Home.  The Cash Mob felt like a shopping party, complete with snacks and hot apple cider provided by the store owner, Kelly Van Patter. The local artists themselves made an appearance, offering samples of their edible products and standing by to answer questions.  After much talking and browsing, the buying had begun.  We walked away with all sorts of goodies: candles make from recycled wine bottles, iPad cases make from recycled wetsuits, backpacks made from bike tire tubing, and much more.  When it was all said and done, we had cashed in over a thousand dollars total.  Kelly told me later that it was her biggest shopping day since she had opened, three months earlier.

Everyone who mobbed that night couldn’t believe what a cool store Kellygreen Home was and how much fun they had.  And the after party…well, it turned out to be perfect.  The Santa Monica Pub Crawl, an annual event that supports the local Santa Monica bars while fundraising for the Westside Food Bank, was happening on exactly the same night.  We ended up getting tickets and combining our two events:  Cash Mobbing followed by SM Pub Crawling at Salute Wine Bar and Finn McCool’s, complete with Santa hats.

I’ve learned two of the best things about Cash Mobs are the awesome stores you discover and the new friends you make.  That definitely happened here.  I came in with cash and left with not only great Christmas gifts (they were pretty awesome), but more importantly, new friends.

Pictures from LA Cash Mob 1 here.

The second LA Cash Mob crashed a store in Burbank as part of a tandem mob with San Diego on January 8th.   How was this store picked?  Well, I had help in the form of good luck and good timing.  I had just received a Christmas present from my good friend and fellow Cash Mobber, Courtney Kirkbride.  It was an engraved necklace from a little shop in Burbank called “Mindful Nest”.  It sounded interesting, so I looked it up.  It was exactly 1.2 miles away from my place.  I’d never even heard of it!  This was an absolute travesty.  But it also was a reminder of why Cash Mobs are so important.  Without a doubt, Mindful Nest is an awesome store that definitely gives back to the community, selling only products that are made in America, with many of them handmade from local artists in the Burbank area.  In fact, I’d even met one of these artists, Chad Meserve, years before through Courtney herself, but had no idea that his handmade robot figurines had been on sale just up the street from me.  And now I know.  And so do the twenty people that showed up for the second mob.  And some of them now are in touch with the local artists, whose pieces they took home.  And they will tell their friends about this store.  Maybe they’ll give their mob goodies as gifts, and can tell the recipient about it too.  This, in my opinion, is by far the most valuable role that the Cash Mob can play.  The money that is spent is a nice bonus, but the real gift is that of exponential exposure- in this case, for both the store and the artists whose work was for sale.  We are “forcing” a massive amount of “volunteer shoppers” to shop at a store they probably (due to chance) may never have set foot in, and probably would NEVER have set foot in, without the Cash Mob.  I guarantee everyone that came to that Cash Mob has mentioned that store to someone since Sunday.  And I guarantee many of those Cash Mobbers, myself included, will be back.

After shopping we found ourselves down the street at Tony’s Darts Away, a local pub that offers California’s finest drafts and yummy grub.  But again, following in the tradition of the first mob, we didn’t just stop there.  The hardcore mob that was left traveled over to Don Cuco’s Mexican Restaurant after Tony’s for margaritas and fajitas.   It was a spectacularly fun evening!

Pictures of LA Cash Mob 2 here.

For media coverage of LA’s Cash Mob, and other Cash Mobs, click here.

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