Summing up 10 years in 800 words or less is not easy. But neither is riding the waves of small business for this long, so I’ll give it a shot.
In October 2010, Anna was planning her wedding in Austin and I was a recently converted stay-at-home mom doing all the things with two toddlers in tow while living in Fort Worth. Somewhere between the lines, Anna and I were connecting on a deeper level as friends and sisters-in-law finding passion in similar shared loves like the history of vintage items and shopping estate sales. We joined forces to collect items that she couldn’t find in traditional rental companies and started accumulating all the vintage flatware, glassware, plates and decor she visualized for her speakeasy style wedding. At the end of the day we would get locked into long discussions spurred on by questions such as what’s married life like? What do we want to do with our lives moving forward? What are we going to do with all of these treasures after the wedding?
Later in our story, in a car ride together, I brought up that I’ve come up with an idea for all the items we’d been collecting. Anna finished my thought by saying, “We should rent it!” Days later, I wake from a dream and can’t wait to tell Anna I figured out the name, Loot, to encompass the idea that we are curating and collecting treasures. In February 2011, we filed the name with the state and the business is born.
After we posted a static splash page of a website, an Austin caterer stumbled upon us and wanted to rent from our garage storage collection. The event needed five pieces of mismatched vintage china for each of their 300 guests. We only had 75 plates at the time and needed to scramble to secure the additional 1425 pieces in about a month. Thanks to our two moms for loaning us the funds to get started on securing every piece of vintage china we could get our grubby hands on in Austin and Fort Worth and everywhere in between.
After successfully meeting our goal in a very short time span to supply all the pieces for the order, we felt so damn accomplished being able to say we were successful with our first event of many to come.
At this point, it seems what started with a spark of passion and absolutely no strong direction was turning into a bona fide business. Little did we know the universe had grand plans. Soon our phone was ringing off the hook and we were scrambling to fulfill all the orders. We continued to hire great people while we grew into bigger and bigger warehouses. For a company that started in the garage and now covers over 30K square feet across the state, I’d say we’ve made some strides. We hoped for 10 events per month to start, but ended up with 200 events to finish the year. These days we’re hovering around the 600 mark…a far cry from our humble beginnings!
Nowadays, we’re doing very adult things like projections, P&Ls and leadership meetings. We’re proud award nominees and winners, and we still get pretty geeked when we see our rental collection in national commercials, on the silver screen, and at the homes of some people we’d never imagine meeting in person. We’ve taken on home staging as an offering and are even growing our retail brand, Loot Finer Goods. We’ve traveled as close as a mile down the road to set up and as far as Santa Fe. We’ve enjoyed the journey literally and figuratively. We’ve lost people in our lives, and birthed new ones. We’ve even switched our home bases. I’m now holding down the fort in Austin and Anna is expanding the operation in Fort Worth.
We’ve seen months where we can barely catch a breath from all the work, and others where we’re sweating if we’ll make rent. But we’re scrappy, innovative, and passionate about what we do. We hope by being able to say that we’ve hit a decade shows our dedication to celebrating love; which if you think about it, is what brought us together in the first place.
Thank you to all our past clients, near and far. To our regulars and newbies. We love what we do. We love working with you. We love celebrations. I hope that with our new 10 year milestone, that is proof of our love. Here’s to another 10 years, Texas! We’re excited to continue sharing our love with you!