Lladro signing to promote ‘Tango’ figurine at The Venetian

Their eyes are locked in a passionate stare. Her left hand clutches his back, while her right hand is enveloped by his.

Her red cocktail dress hugs the curves of her porcelain body, while he dips her in and back for a tango pose. As he stands squarely over her now-vulnerable form, his black-and-gray suit wrinkles with the dance.

They can’t talk, but their bodies speak volumes.

Two women outside the glass case stare at the Lladro statue, perhaps daydreaming of a nightclub in Buenos Aires. Other shoppers walk by, but the two continue to watch the porcelain dancers, as if they might come alive at any moment.

Today, Regis Galerie is celebrating the latest release from Lladro, the “Passionate Tango,” with an in-store signing by the company’s president, Rosa Lladro. From 3 to 5 p.m., the art gallery in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian will pop champagne, dish out Italian appetizers and applaud all things Lladro.

And, they might rake in a little extra cash.

In-store signings not only draw increased foot traffic to a boutique, but when the event is built around a specific item, that piece usually becomes highly coveted. Take the “Passionate Tango.” The statue retails for $1,500, and since the event announcement Regis Galerie has seen an increase in online sales and in-store inquiries about the piece.

Ike Dweck, the store’s general manager, has received so many requests he says he’s afraid he’ll sell out of the piece, which is only a problem because he wants to display one during the party.

“It’s really sought after, at this point,” he commented.

An event, though, doesn’t just increase interest in a particular item. In-store signings can attract traffic. At Regis, Dweck expects to host 100 people at any given time today.

“That’s a lot for us,” Dweck said.

On a typical Friday or Saturday the store hosts about 30 customers. Weekdays, there will be about 15 shoppers inside at any given moment.

“For an art gallery, that’s pretty high,” Dweck said.

Sales also increase during the show — Regis adds about 30 more transactions to its total on a signing day. Dweck estimated that online sales have increased 50 percent since the company sent email blasts advertising the party to its client database.

Signings are also good for local employment. More traffic means more security and more sales representatives on the floor.

With discretionary household spending being scrutinized more than in the past, having a piece signed can help boost consumer confidence, thereby encouraging sales, said Bryan Wachter, government affairs director for the Retail Association of Nevada.

Events can also increase the amount of word-of-mouth advertising a store receives.

“And word-of-mouth is so important to our business,” Dweck said. “It’s really about awareness.”

In-store events attract a menagerie of locals and tourists, including collectors who may only come to meet a specific personality within their area of interest. “(Lladro is) such a big name, anytime you can get a family member to sign a piece, it’s a huge deal,” Dweck said.

Regis Galerie stocks about 600 Lladro pieces, including the $160,000 “Queen of the Nile.” Prices in that line start at $75.

“We’ve almost become their boutique in Las Vegas,” Dweck said.

Contact reporter Laura Emerson at lemerson@lvbusinesspress.com or 702-380-4588.

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