1. Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?
I’m originally from this area, attending grade school at the original school house on Hwy 99 in Dundee. Finished high school in Grants Pass Oregon then off to Texas where I obtained my license in Respiratory Therapy. I stayed in the south for another 10 years but missed the mountains, ocean and clear water of the West Coast and finally moved back.
2. What is your favorite thing about Portland?
I love the diversity of Portland; it is such a melting pot of everything but most of all its location and the rain. So many people get tired of the rain but after living in the south, no clear fresh water and everything is always brown you appreciate the rain, the moss on the trees and lush green of the NW. I can drive an hour any direction and be in the mountains, on the plains or at the beach. There is so much to do and appreciate here.
3. What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?
One of my favorite things is to visit the east side Hawthorn area and shop for some item that I just have to have. Items that are often used and or repurposed. And the food, you can find almost any food you want in the downtown Portland area. Huber’s during the holidays for their Spanish coffee’s if one of my favorites.
4. How long have you been working as a professional wedding rental company?
My husband, Rick and I started the business when I was managing a wedding venue and saw the need for elegant farm style tables that were light weight yet durable and easy to setup into almost any venue. The first wedding we had was a couple that wanted wood tables. We found a vendor with wood tables that were made out of recycled wood fencing, very cute and charming but after that wedding my husband insisted we build our own tables. That was late summer of 2016 and we’ve been adding to our inventory since then.
5. What people/training/experiences/ opportunities led you to this career path?
My years in the medical field helped develop my deep sense of compassion, another 12 years as HR manager for my family’s business added a bit more edge and helped me develop business skills. I’ve always been a painfully shy person and have worked hard to put myself into situations that were not comfortable, but I knew would help me grow as a person. One of the hardest things I did when we started our business was to join a BNI group which taught me speaking skills, marketing skills and to learn who my target customer was.
6. How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional rental company for their wedding day?
Customer service is so important to me. I don’t want to get lost in growing too big, too fast, losing sight of what this is all about and forgetting how we started. I want our tables to be perfect for every event and do my best to have them presented in whatever fashion the bride & groom, wedding planner or event manager wants.
7. What is the best part of your job?
Seeing how excited people are when they see our tables for the first time at their event. Even though we are a rental company we often we form long term relationships with those that rent our tables.
8. What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?
Finding my price point break while being fair to our business and our customers. It has taken a long time for me to value our business at the rate it should be. I’ve struggled with what we should price our tables at, compensating for our time to build, deliver, insurance wear and tear on our vehicles. We can’t always help every bride because our tables are not always within their budget. As much as some brides really want our tables going so far to save on delivery by picking them up themselves it just doesn’t work. They are never equipped to move our tables in the manner and care that we do. This is our investment and people don’t always understand. It’s not as easy as they think to move the tables all over and keep them in the best shape possible.
9. Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?
I am pretty much a one-person team. Although my husband and I build the tables together and at times move them into venues he still has his day job as an engineer on ocean sailing vessels and is gone half the time. My help comes from the teenagers that want extra cash for the summer and don’t mind breaking a sweat.
Our shop is our 1970’s ranch style garage. We setup and furiously build 5 tables at a time, slowly adding to our inventory then breaking down until we are ready for the next build.
10. What do you attribute to your success as a wedding rental business? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?
I have worked very hard to develop networking relationships and have met the most amazing wedding vendors that had the same core values and customer service standards that we do. They believed in me, mentored me and helped me to grow my business by referring us to those looking for a product like ours. Building a core of vendors, we trust to refer business to and likewise in return.
Our product is unique, it’s not mass produced in a manufacturing plant or brought in from overseas. We are locally owned and operated. We hand craft each table from top to frame, cutting, sanding, staining and painstaking applying the final clear coat. We pay attention to every detail of every table we build. We have a product that is in demand due to its ease of use, beauty and functionality.
A table is the foundation piece of events and our tables are not a fad, but a timeless piece of art that will forever be a part of family gatherings and memories.
11. At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
Couples should think about booking us at least 9 months before their event and even earlier for those popular dates. Tables with linens can almost always be booked at the last minute but our tables are unique, and we do one wedding per day, so if we are booked, they will have to find another vendor for our particular style of wood tables.
12. Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
I watch styles on Pinterest and upcoming trends from the South and East Coast. I look for new table layout styles and current trends in colors from linens to center pieces and try to showcase our tables in those trends. The tables themselves are what I consider a classic look and I hope for them to be around for a long time, not a trend that will fade away but rather a tool that will complement a current trend.
13. What is the most important thing that couples should ask someone in your profession before hiring them?
How many guests can we seat at the tables? People have different seating styles and different ideas of where they want their budget to go. Our tables can comfortably seat 8 guests per table family style or traditional. If a bride really wants to get a little more seating she could put 10 guests to a table but that only works when they are seated Family Style, end to end. I work hard to help brides get the most of what they want when ordering our tables. I always say start off conservative, we can always add more tables later and that seems to work best.
14. What is your best advice for wedding clients?
You don’t get a do-over. Make this once in a lifetime event what you want it to be.
15. Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?
I always make a point to meet the person(s) that rented our tables at every event we drop our tables off at. This is the person our tables will be making memories for, this is the person that picked us for our tables and this is the person I want to know if only for a moment. When all is said and done people gather around tables to share moments and create lifetime memories. We’re not just renting tables, we are helping create lifetime memories with a table that was hand crafted by us for their occasion.
16. What other local wedding professional (s) are currently inspiring you?
Clark County Professional Wedding Vendors, a group that meets the first Monday of every month. It’s a free group of amazing wedding vendors here in Vancouver and the Portland area founded on the need for referrals to trusted vendors in the industry. They meet at one of the vendors location weather a venue or business and always have a topic with a speaker.
Over the last year I’ve been involved with 6 styled photoshoots and have met some awesome vendors from planners, stylist, photographers and models who love our tables and keep us in mind when others ask about tables for photoshoots or events.