MEET: Lost and Found Vintage Rentals
One of the best things about the event planning industry is the amazing vendors we get to work with! These people are some of the most creative and kind people you will meet. I want to introduce you to some of these creative entrepreneurs. In this series, we will get to know a little about the businesses these entrepreneurs have created and what drives them to be successful.
In 2014, Jennifer Stanley left her corporate job in marketing and graphic design to help bring a bit of beauty and style to photographers and brides in southwest Ohio. Lost and Found Vintage Rentals offers perfectly curated rental pieces perfect for weddings and corporate events. They also offer photographers a beautiful natural light studio space with vintage props to help create the perfect setting. We caught up with Jennifer to talk a little bit about how she got started, what she loves about her job, and where she wants her business to go from here.
How did Lost and Found Vintage Rentals first get started?
About 8 years ago, I took up photography as a hobby and found myself buying vintage and antique items for my sessions. My sons were entering school age at the time and my husband and I began discussing whether or not I would go back into the corporate world once our youngest was in school full time. We decided starting a business where I had more flexibility to still be able to be home in the mornings and afternoons when they were was a better idea. I have a background in business and marketing and thought I could make something work. It was a worth a try!
Pretty soon friends started borrowing the vintage pieces I had purchased and the collection quickly outgrew my garage and a storage unit. As winter came, I decided to open a studio space where I could store some pieces and also rent out the studio space to fellow photographers to help offset the expenses. From there, Lost and Found continued to grow quickly. We went from a tiny storage closet to a 2,500 sq. foot showroom, with two studio spaces, and three additional storage spaces within just a few quick years.
The studio really grew out of necessity to help cover the cost of the storage but it meant we could offer something unique. At the time, there was no one else offering similar services. There were other rentable photography studios, and I knew of one large vintage rentals business in California, but no one else who offered the combination of a photography studio along with a collection of unique props in one location.
Coming up with a business name was something my dad prepared me for as a child. My dad is a serial entrepreneur and owned multiple businesses of varying types. When I was in elementary and middle school, he would challenge me to come up with a business idea along with concepts, floor plans, business names and logos. We would brainstorm a long list of names and I would narrow them down to get to my favorite. So I started the process the same way and I threw around a lot of ideas and this one really stuck. I actually designed the logo myself!
Is it just you on the team?
I'm the owner and handle sourcing the inventory, scheduling the studio, designing the sets, and managing the day-to-day operations of the business. I have a studio manager who helps manage the studio rentals as well as pulling inventory, rental returns, and occasional deliveries. The studio and rentals really work hand and hand. My studio manager is also a photographer, so she shoots everything for our Pop Up Prop Stop events. Although I am a photographer as well, my focus is on running the business. Every once in a while, I will get behind the camera for friends who need quick headshots.
What's your favorite part of the business? What kinds of things keep you going and motivated?
I love the design aspect of my job. I get inspiration from so many areas of my life and have even been inspired by something as small as gorgeous packaging on a bar of soap. I love getting up in the morning and being inspired, then taking those ideas to bring them to life.
I also love that our rentals are a part of so many weddings. We get to be a small part in bringing a bride and groom’s vision for their big day come to life. Seeing how clients can take pieces of inventory and use them to give guests a vision of their personality and relationship is really special. I love seeing how the pieces come together to represent them and how new inventory can be used in different ways to tell people’s stories.
When it comes to the studios, I really enjoy creating the sets and Pop Up Prop Stop events. Last year, I gambled on two unique holiday sets and one of them turned out to be our most popular!
Are rentals just for weddings or do you see them used for other events?
Rentals are open to all events but the majority of our rentals are used for weddings. Though we have had products used in larger personal events and corporate events. We work with a lot with event planners who have a vision with their clients we help to implement. We rent all over greater southwest Ohio from Columbus to Northern Kentucky.
Along the last few years what accomplishments are you most proud of?
There is no one tangible piece that I would say I am most proud of, but I am really proud of the relationships that I have built within the industry. Leaning on other business owners and being supported by them gives me a great sense of pride. I have developed many rewarding friendships within the industry and am proud to call so many a friend.
Where would you like your business to be in 3 year to 5 years?
I would love to be in my own larger building that houses both the massive amount of rental inventory I’m accumulated as well as more studio options. I would also like to grow our team and inventory. I am always striving to be growing to better serve our clients needs.
What is one tip or two you would offer someone looking at a rental?
I definitely would recommend, at the very least, having the venue selected for your event. The date and location are important details when determining the inventory’s availability as well as any possible space constraints. We consider the venue’s size and available space when recommending pieces for clients. A smaller venue may not have the capacity for larger installations. Second, I would recommend having some sort of color scheme or theme for your design concept to begin planning.
On our website, you can create a full wish list and see how much rentals will cost. We are always adding new things and couples can find those under the Inventory tab. Soon we will have the dimensions of each item on there as well.
What types of inventory do you have?
We have everything from small tabletop decor to arbors, displays and full-size sofas. As our name suggests we have some older pieces, but we have been adding a lot of newer modern pieces with classic details such as nail-head trim, velvet, and detail woodworking. And if there is something you want that we don’t have, let us know. We are open to sourcing for pieces we don’t currently have on hand.
I know you wear a lot of hats but what do you do on your days off?
We love baseball at our house! My sons play and my husband is a coach. We even have a baseball diamond on our farm. Otherwise, I like to keep it pretty low key. I enjoy going to the movies, working on home improvement projects, and hanging out with my family.
MEET LOST AND FOUND VINTAGE RENTALS
Lost and Found Vintage Rentals provides their unique collection of beautiful furniture and décor to customize your wedding or event. They also allow professional photographers to rent their natural light studio on an hourly basis. You can find them on at