I’m guessing you haven’t heard the term auctiontainer before, am I right? I hadn’t either, at least not until I stumbled across Scottsdale’s Letitia Frye via an article in Modern Luxury. She has a very unique job title: Auctiontainer.
As you can imagine, this was more than enough to pique my interest and so after doing a little research on her, I learned that her unique title was a direct result of her personal style and approach to live auctioning at charity fundraisers.
I couldn’t help but to reach out and ask her a few questions. Here’s what happened:
[Ryan] You have been called America’s foremost Auctiontainer. What exactly does that mean and when did the title really start to stick?
[Letitia Frye] Funny, America’s Foremost Auctiontainer came from my client and friend Alice Cooper. We were at a soundcheck for his annual Christmas Pudding event and he saw me working the mic while warming up my chant and said it was like watching another performer. I don’t stand at a podium or use notes because I have a photographic memory so it leaves me free to roam the crowd with a handheld wireless mic and perform rather than just auction. In fact I have been known to dive off stages into the crowd like a rock star, thus the auctiontainer.
How do you prepare for an upcoming auction? Is there a method you use to better understand the audience or prepare for the unexpected?
There is so much more to prepping for one of my events than meets the eye and I tend to do more prep work than the typical auctioneer. For one, most auctioneers do many different types of auctions from real estate, livestock, cars, benefits and more. Although I did my training in a multitude of mediums in the auction industry, about 8 years ago I decided to only do benefit auctions and to specialize as a charity fundraising professional in addition to auctioneer. I volunteer for every client I work with. I have been to Haiti twice to work with orphans, I trail hospice doctors, rescue horses on the border, volunteer at various camps for kids with cancer and at risk teens, and so much more. That is the first part of the prep work and the most important so that I can become passionate about who we are working to help with the funds raised at the event. Then it’s time to analyze the event itself. The timeline, the items, the crowd demographic, the benefit of creating a customized fund a need, etc.. There is so much work that goes into this process before the actual event, the event itself is probably what I consider the icing on the cake. The fun part after all the work leading up to it.
With all the auctions you’ve supported over the years, I’m sure you have some good stories. What’s one of your favorites?
I average about 107 charity auctions a year and I have seen a lot of wild and interesting things happen. One of my favorites was with Larry the Cable Guy. We were doing Alice Cooper’s golf tournament and I sell actors and musicians to play in the tournament as part of your foursome. Usually the sexy, hot beefcake type sell really high, but Larry took the cake. He actually used to auction himself and we had worked together before so I had us do kind of a tag team auction almost like a duet. The crowd was going crazy and the bids getting higher and higher. Then I jokingly told Larry he should take his shirt off and get the ladies going. I was only joking as Larry is a lovable big guy, not really your body builder type. Well he did it and the crowd was in hysterics and one woman stood up and bought him for $20,000. He sold higher than anyone else, who knew!