The Creative Workforce
Unearthed Vintage; Making Miami Love Vintage Decor One Event at a TimeMonday, July 20, 2015
Today I'm talking to Katie Blineau, who together with her husband Jovan Blineau founded Unearthed Vintage, a vintage rental company for weddings, events, and corporate functions. Together they have converted Miami, the place where clean lines, white leather furniture, and hanging crystals are the norm, to love vintage pieces and bring rustic beauty to any event. This husband and wife team began their journey with a need to decorate their own wedding, and have built it into a successful rental business that has decorated and styled events for many including a fashion show and dinner for Stella McCartney.
Tell us about your story and how your company started.
Video by Visual Creatives
Where do you find your rental pieces?
We started out buying locally in 2011, here in South Florida. Craigslist, estate sales, thrift stores, you name it. As the months went by, we were able to make great contacts in the antique selling industry, locally and throughout the country. The most common way we currently source items for our collection is through buying trips. We began taking buying trips shortly after opening in 2012, starting in Central Florida and heading north. One of my favorite trips was actually one I did without Jovan in the summer of 2013. I drove our 26' truck ,by myself, from Miami through Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and back, hitting up a small portion of the 127 mile yard sale and lots of other great spots.
Jovan goes on buying trips of his own, with a slightly different agenda, as he sources wood from old barns and factories that are being taken down, so we have the best reclaimed wood to create all of our farmhouse tables and other custom built items. We have batches that have come from Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, and more. We also have many suppliers overseas, including contacts in Turkey, India, and Bali who help fuel my most recent textile obsession, for our boho collection, along with all of our reclaimed teak furniture.
What would you consider to be your biggest success yet?
I remember the first time I thought to myself "holy crap, we made it!" - we were hired in 2012 to provide rentals for an event for Stella McCartney, including a fashion show followed by a personal dinner she was hosting. Since then we have grown in so many ways. Our current "biggest success yet" would have to be the amazing team we have built that helps keep us going and our clients who choose to have us be part of their events. We have grown from a husband and wife duo, hoping to do 4 events a month, to now having a total of 10 employees working for us, 5 of them full time, completing over 300 events a year. Without them, our little dream of a company could not be what it is today.
What are some challenges you've experienced along the way?
As the first vintage rental company in South Florida, we had to spend a lot of time introducing the concept of vintage rentals to the market. Although the style could be seen in events in other areas of the country, we weren't sure how well the concept would do in a region where clean lines, white leather furniture, and hanging crystals were the norm. With lots of hard work, networking, photo shoots, and collaborations throughout the area, we were able to not only introduce vintage rentals, but truly make a name for Unearthed Vintage.
Some people find it difficult to work with their spouse. Why did you choose to start a business together?
We couldn't think of a better way to start our lives together. Jovan and I found this passion, for starting our business, when wedding planning, and the next step of working together just made sense. It was a pretty natural transition for us. We really balance each other out, both personally and professionally. If we hadn't both been 100% committed, not only to one another, but to the success of Unearthed Vintage, our company would not have grown as quickly as it did and we would not be where we are today. Technically we have been business partners longer than we have been married!
What are your plans for the future of your business?
We're so excited for all that our future holds. For now our immediate plans include our annual warehouse sale on August 1st, to help make room for lots of new inventory!, shooting our next catalog look book, and some fun styled photo shoots that include lots of our new inventory for our "Unearthed Vintage Meets Modern" line (yep, a touch of modern to be mixed in with all of the vintage goodies we offer!) We also have just about outgrown our current space, so we are in the process of working on the details of expanding, yet again.
If you are interested in using vintage pieces for your next event you can find all of their beautiful inventory and information on their website www.unearthedvintage.com.
Unearthed Vintage also offers additional services like custom built pieces based on the needs of our clients, as well as styling services if a client is interested in having their entire event styled by myself and hand selected team. All of their clients will receive their white glove delivery service, where the crew arrives on site at a designated time and sets up all large items for their event.
Photography by: Katie Lopez Photography