After witnessing firsthand what it’s like to lose someone you love to breast cancer, Excelsior’s Kara Schmitz started The Pink Social, an annual event that raises money for cancer research as well as acknowledges and supports women who are battling breast cancer.
“I didn't know then of any options to keep her memory alive, nor to help prevent this disease from taking the lives of anyone else's mom. Since then, I have had numerous family members, friends of the family and acquaintances hear the dreaded, ‘You have breast cancer,’” Schmitz says.
The original event, before it officially became The Pink Social, was a network-marketing party hosted by Schmitz for her friends’ businesses. She decided to combine the businesses into one event and donate a portion of the proceeds to breast cancer research. Every year since, the event has continued to grow. Currently, The Pink Social is less focused on network-marketing businesses and more on supporting local women who make goods and purvey them at their own local shops.
“Everything from wine to dessert, prizes to swag bag items, and decor for the event is sponsored by local businesses and supporters of the cause,” Schmitz says.
The Pink Social is hosted every October and is set up as a night market, filled with women-run boutiques and businesses selling different items and services. The first 25 or 50 guests receive a swag bag filled with candles, face and body products, jewelry and gift cards. There’s also a fashion show and a collection of more than 50 silent auction items to bid on, like jewelry and apparel, gift cards to restaurants, spas and yoga studios, home decor items, plus books and paintings done by local artists. Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society of Minnesota.
Every year, Schmitz tries to find local women who have been impacted by breast cancer to deliver a keynote speech. This year’s speaker is Sunday Burquest. The Minnesota native is a breast cancer survivor, a well-known contestant on the TV show Survivor and the author of Grit Girl. “I typically seek out local female celebrities, like TV, news or radio anchors and hosts that have been touched by breast cancer, or local makers with a moving story,” Schmitz says.
This year, The Pink Social will be hosted at Pique Travel Design’s event space on October 6, marking the event’s fourth year at this location. Schmitz plans on extending the fashion show stage to reach throughout the entire venue, with silent auction items in the back and the local business vendors near the front of the space.
“This event is a way to give back to those who have suffered and are currently suffering, as well as celebrate life and loved ones who have experienced the effects of breast cancer,” Schmitz says.
The Pink Social
October 6, 6 p.m.
Pique Travel Design
306 Water St., Excelsior
Facebook: The Pink Social
2019 vendors include Gathered Goods, Excelsior Candle Co., The Vintage Loft and more.