Dan Hooks, CERP, head of leading party rental company Party Reflections, part of the Special Events "30 Top Party Rentals" list, takes a look at the hot party rental items that clients just keep calling for:
The Carolinas used to be at least six months to a year behind the trends, as we waited for pictures of events in New York or Miami to inspire creativity in our planners. Now I believe we actually are on the cutting edge of the trend line and even have our own "style" to some extent.
RUSTIC STILL RULES We debated as to whether the "rustic" or "vintage" trend was going away, but at least in our area, it seems to be hanging on. After overbooking our custom farm tables, we were forced to double our inventory to handle demand through the rest of this year. From there, it runs through white leather furniture, which we continue to build inventory of. Market lights have surpassed Christmas lights as the ambiance light of choice in this year's wedding and social scene. Barstools of every style imaginable are also becoming more popular with pedestal tables of different designs.
'JUST ADD IT'? Sometimes I think our customers and our salespeople try to think of things we do not have in inventory just so they can do something new. We finally decided to jump into the vintage china and colored glassware world after several major events seemed to be selecting themes that were perfect for this inventory. We have also begun sourcing new chandeliers to give customers very unique choices in lighting. Custom woodwork for bars, pedestals, tables, and hanging planter boxes are becoming even more popular as decor items. We have selected several new flatware and china patterns for our customers also.
BACK TO BASICS Chairs and tables will always be the staples of this business. We continue to build our own variations, however. This year we have built 84-inch round tables, 42-inch-wide rectangular tables, triangle pedestal tables, and 36-inch-square pedestal farm tables with two different height legs to match our regular rectangular and round farm tables. The basics will always go out and have the best ROI, but the newer items keep customers interested in renting and keeps them coming back to see what new items we have added to the inventory.
Dan Hooks, CERP, is President of Party Reflections Inc., a full-service special event rental company with locations in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., and Columbia, S.C. He is the second-generation leader of the family owned company, which has been in operation since 1958 in Charlotte.
Dan has been a member of the American Rental Association for more than 20 years and has served on the ARA Party and Events Special Interest Group, the ARA Member Risk Management Task Force, the ARA Party Certification Task Force, and the REAP Advisory Board for the organization. He is a past president of the ISES Charlotte Chapter and has been a member of the National Association of Catering Executives for many years. He also serves on the Advisory Board for Special Events magazine.
Party Reflections Inc. operates out of a 115,000-square foot warehouse with more than 100 employees near downtown Charlotte, and an additional 50,000 square feet and 75 more employees in Raleigh and Columbia combined.