Nicole Oppelt was already a successful event planner when she bought Dovetail Vintage Rentals last March. “I rented from Dovetail all the time,” she says. When the business was up for sale, Oppelt swooped in.
Owning Dovetail “just felt right,” she says. Red Bank-based Dovetail delivers to most of New Jersey and even hipster-haven Brooklyn, where Oppelt was surprised to find a swarm of eager clients. “New York has rental companies, but they don’t have the exact pieces we have.”
That’s what makes Dovetail work and why Oppelt decided to run a second company rather than let it go under. “The idea of repurposing vintage furniture is really special to me.” But also it’s a serious opportunity for Oppelt and her event clients: Vintage furniture builds next-level character for creative at-home entertaining.
And while Dovetail does plenty of large-format business (i.e. weddings), their pricing is conducive to smaller-scale rentals. The minimum rental price is $150—enough to cover the cost of a scene-setting peach chaise lounge. Small, theme-reinforcing accents abound at Dovetail, where vintage tea tins are $5, vintage 45s and books come by the stack, and a faded, sea-blue Castaway Trunk is just $50. (Delivery minimum is $500.)
Variety is a strength of Oppelt’s inventory. “We do everything under the sun,” she says. Recent gigs include a Gatsby-syle, speakeasy-themed New Year’s Eve party; farm tables for a Google corporate event; and a travel-themed dinner party that used “a bunch of suitcases” to set the mood.
When Oppelt hits estate sales to expand her inventory (currently 268 unique items and counting), she looks for authentic vintage pieces in decent shape. “Everything has to be in sturdy condition. If the bones of a chair are good, I’ll give it a modern update,” as in the trendy, black-and-white buffalo-check pattern she recently used to reupholster a mango-wood sofa. “That has been really popular,” Oppelt says.
Oppelt anticpates customers’ interest in adding the character of vintage elements to continue. “Vintage makes it more personal, not so cookie-cutter,” she says. “We’re looking into getting a little more eclectic. There’s definitely a market for that.”Click here to leave a comment