Join RW Elephant co-founder Allison Howell as she connects with leaders in the event rental industry about their rental adventures.
Designing Your Dream Job With The Founder Of Martha My Dear Rentals
Martha Sanabanda dives into how she started her business, Martha My Dear Rentals, as a hobby before realizing it was everything she wanted in a full-time job. You’ll hear how she dealt with internal and external skepticism about becoming an entrepreneur and how she’s found her place in the industry along the way.
What’s in this episode:
Martha’s path from social work to event rentals. Turning a hobby into a business. Protecting your business dream from the skepticism of others. Having family members as co-workers. How to make space for creative work. Policies and processes which have fueled business growth. Quotes:
“Well, I actually find that most of the clients that come to us, they appreciate that our farm tables are made with real wood. [...] It just has so much character to it. And so our target bride loves that.” —Martha Sanabanda
“Well, and it also gives you a point of view, right. This is not just any old table. It's a table created here from the point of view of this place. It's unique in that way, too. I think it's really a beautiful way to add to your collection to be hyper local.” —Allison Howell
“We don't have a business background. We've never done this before...It was an idea I just couldn't stop thinking about.” —Martha Sanabanda
“Whenever I felt like I wanted to give up, I just told myself: ‘This is the course.This is how it is when you start a business.’” —Martha Sanabanda
“So in the beginning, it was really tough for me to not be at every delivery and every pick up. And even though physically I couldn't because I was pregnant, I think I realized that he can handle that. And it allowed me time to kind of dream a little bit about our business. And it gave me energy to do that.” —Martha Sanabanda
“We used to deliver two chairs all over town for an event. We definitely put in place some rental minimums. And that was a bit scary at first. We thought we would lose business. But if anything, I think it's helped us gain more business.” —Martha Sanabanda
For full show notes and resources, head to https://rwelephant.com/podcast/episode-6-martha-my-dear-rentals
Working with Family The Loot Rentals Way
Anna Crelia and Rhoda Brimberry share their story of establishing Loot Rentals, with two locations, in Austin and Fort Worth, Texas. After sourcing specialty pieces for Anna’s own wedding, the pair found themselves with a collection of rental inventory on their hands. You’ll hear these women look back on those early years and explain how they develop their influential rental collections now.
What’s in this episode:
How one of the founder’s own engagement started everything Gathering a vision for the Loot collection Working with family members The importance of the Austin community in Loot’s success Investing in artisan and local makers. Honing fresh styles and sharing them in regular company lookbooks Screening future team members and cultivating a company culture Managing a business with multiple locations Quotes:
“You’ve always heard ‘Don’t go into business with your family or friends.’ I think we knew that was a risk but we were willing to take it.” - Rhoda Brimberry
“I joke sometimes how it’s like a hoarding problem that has turned into a successful business.” - Rhoda Brimberry
“Austin is full of a lot of early adopters...they’ll try something unusual and aren’t fearful about what that is.” - Rhoda Brimberry
“What is lacking in the market? What do you need? What are you not seeing?...That feedback is going to guide my purchasing decisions.” - Anna Crelia
For full show notes and resources, head to https://rwelephant.com/podcast/episode-5-loot-rentals
Annette Stepanian Makes The “Legal Stuff” Accessible For Creatives
Annette Stepanian is a lawyer and the founder of Your Legal BFF. She helps creative entrepreneurs get the legal back-end of their businesses in order while making the process as fun and simple as possible. For example, did you know that every business is like a burrito? You’ll get to hear more about her burrito analogy plus common legal conflicts that arise in the wedding and events industry.
What’s in this episode:
Leaving a career as a lawyer to start a jewelry business
The “burrito” checklist for taking care of “the legal stuff” in a business
Your Legal BFF offers legal templates and resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs
Common legal issues in the wedding and events industry
The problems with using any old legal contract template from the internet
How to communicate expectations and contractual terms with clients
How to part ways with a client when it’s not working out
“I felt like I could speak creative but I could also speak legal and so I thought it was a really nice way to marry the two skillsets.” - Annette Stepanian
“Contracts are evolving documents. It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it type of thing. You know, you don't just do it once and then never touch it again for the next like 10 years. I do recommend that people revisit them at least once a year to make sure that it reflects their current policies and procedures.” - Annette Stepanian
“I think you need to walk into every client relationship assuming that nobody is going to read your contract because most people aren't going to, unfortunately.” --Annette Stepanian
“If you’re relying solely on your contract to communicate your policies, your procedures… It is a vehicle to communicate them but it shouldn’t be your sole vehicle.” - Annette Stepanian
“We’re all wronged in a lot of different ways. But sometimes you just have to look the other way because the cost of proving yourself right is taking your energy away from things that are more constructive.” - Annette Stepanian
For full show notes and resources, head to https://rwelephant.com/podcast/episode-4-annette-stepanian
Maggpie Rentals Founder On Surviving a Health Crisis
Maggie Farrell tells the story of starting Maggpie Rentals near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Among other things, Maggpie is known for offering beautiful custom furniture pieces made in-house. You’ll hear how Maggie managed to develop a winning business model and keep her young enterprise alive while fighting for her own life.
What’s in this episode:
The situation that led Maggpie to custom-build a portion of their rental inventory.
The factors that define Maggpie’s aesthetic and collection now.
How Maggie and her young business survived a shocking cancer diagnosis and years-long treatment program
Getting married while working in the wedding events rentals industry
Advice for business owners on carving time out for yourself
Running your business rather than your business running you
“I did really love to always be at the warehouse with my parents, but I loved the team that he had. And that was always super appealing to me to have this group of people that worked so well together and admired you so much. But they were just such a team. It was never like you work for me. It was like we work together. And, you know, I just loved the environment.” —Maggie Farrell
“When you get money in your hands, you know, you don’t want to give it back. So, I said to Jason ‘We have to figure out how to make these tables.’” —Maggie Farrell
You get to be involved in creating the environment for the event and for this special celebration that then becomes incorporated in the environment of their lives.” —Allison Howell
“I think we used to buy because we knew what people were going to rent. But now, over time, we're able to set it ourselves and it's like, ‘oh, well, Maggpie has that so that's what we should get because they have that.’ So that was always a goal where I want to buy what I like. I want to be proud of my collection.” —Maggie Farrell
“The day after my 26th birthday I had my first day of chemotherapy.” —Maggie Farrell
“I started to really allow myself to just take time and think about what was going on. Just trying to dig a little deeper. And I think I started to feel, I don't know, I just started to get these feelings of like when I was sick, I wish I gave myself more attention and I paid more attention to like my body and my mind but [...] I was just so focused on the business and nothing else and I feel I completely lost myself.” —Maggie Farrell
“It was after I wasn't sick anymore. After we didn't want to sell our business anymore. We moved out of the warehouse and we were like, ‘Alight, it's time. Let's do something for ourselves.’” —Maggie Farrell
For full show notes and resources, head to https://rwelephant.com/podcast/episode-3-maggpie-rentals
Paisley & Jade Founders Discuss The Mistakes New Rental Businesses Often Make
Morgan Montgomery and Perkins Morgan tell the story of founding Paisley & Jade Rentals in Richmond, Virgina. You’ll hear about the surprise encounters and rookie mistakes they made which paved the way for their eventual leadership in the event rental industry.
What’s in this episode:
How Morgan and Perkins got started—through the catering business.
Early missteps in vetting professional partners.
Rules for expanding a rental collection.
The relationship between personal growth and business growth.
Traits that have contributed to the Paisley & Jade team’s success.
Moments of celebration in Morgan and Perkins’ rental adventure.
“She pulled together an incredible business plan as if to reassure me before I made that leap.” - Perkins Morgan
“We were smart enough to be successful but dumb enough to not really know what was coming at us.” - Morgan Montgomery
“[Smaller rental companies buy] inventory because it's cheap, but not because it fits a particular style or aesthetic that they're grooming into a collection. And we suffered that same mistake.” - Morgan Montgomery
"I think it's interesting when an outsider's point of view recommends something that you never thought of, but instantly clicks.” - Perkins Morgan
“As our business evolved we evolved who we were working with and who was the best fit as we continued to learn and grow.” - Morgan Montgomery
“Why it's worked is definitely a yin and yang dynamic...we are super, super different. But have a lot of respect for why we're different.” - Perkins Morgan
“You have to make the right choices for you and for your team...and sometimes that requires being uncomfortable, which we're not necessarily good at.” - Morgan Montgomery
For full show notes and resources, head to https://rwelephant.com/podcast/episode-2-paisley-and-jade
Event Industry Pros Share Their Real-Life Rental Nightmares
Welcome to the first-ever episode of the Trunk Show hosted by Allison Howell and brought to you by RW Elephant. On this podcast, you’ll hear from founders of leading event rental companies about their rental adventures. To celebrate our first episode, we bring together a handful of the marvelous people you’ll meet in the industry and discuss their true-life, down-to-the-wire, oh-my-gosh-no-way rental nightmares.
What’s in this episode:
How a dream event for Coral Lane Event Rentals turned into a nightmare.
How Borrowed Charm Event Rentals & Styling recovered when their most popular sofa got damaged right before an event.
How it helps to be upfront and transparent with clients about their expectations.
How Paisley & Jade turned a stranded delivery truck into event magic.
“Our crew is lugging these huge vintage sofas and things down a cliff, over a little bridge over a pond to the ceremony space in the heat of Texas summer, mind you.” - Lindsey Abell
“If you didn’t Instagram it, it didn’t happen.” - Allison Howell
“I learned being in the wedding business and doing as many weddings as we do [that] no one reads contracts and so by being upfront and transparent with what they can expect, it makes us safer on the back end if something does happen and people are less quick to jump on social media or just jump online.” -- Angie Martin
“You have one chance to get it right in a very short time period with no option for mistakes or things to go wrong. You have to be able to think on your feet.” -- Allison Howell
“They looked at it and they were like, ‘You got 600 bucks? We could get this guy moving.’ I’m like, ‘Take my money. Take my money.’” - Morgan Montgomery
For full show notes and resources, head to https://rwelephant.com/podcast/episode-1-event-industry-pros
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More than just clean lyrics
Grateful for Allison and her creative insights into this niche of entrepreneurship.
The host is a natural
Great podcast! I’ve really enjoyed the interviews and listening to the host navigate through the interviews. Not sure if this is her first show but she sounds great!
Thrilled for this, thanks RW!