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Women In Real Estate: Interview with a Successful Home Stager and Owner of an Event Rental Company

Meet Erin! She is a fantastically creative woman and an incredible entrepreneur. She started her business, Spark Vintage Rentals, back in 2016 and has grown it from there. Her amazing eye for vintage pieces and her unique, funky style is just what Nashville needed. She now regularly helps event planners and stylists work their magic for music festivals, weddings and photo shoots. In addition to that, she stages homes to help them sell faster and for top dollar! I was thrilled when she agreed to take some time to share with me her story and how she accomplished all this, especially in such a short timeframe. Hopefully her story is as inspiring to you as it is to me!

Photo Credit @KatieKauss

@MackofAllTradesNY: So you started your company in 2016. What made you take the leap? What were your biggest fears and how did you overcome them?

@RentSparkVintage: I’ve always been someone who has enjoyed making my own path. I have been self-employed most of my adult life and have had a couple of business ventures before this one. Before I got into rentals, I was selling vintage furniture and home decor so it was a natural progression. I took the leap because I saw a need and opportunity in Nashville. I have a lot of fears (like getting into a car accident) but business-wise, I’m pretty gutsy. I’m not afraid of failure or rejection - and my attitude toward life in general is pretty “why not give it a shot?”

Photo Credit @KatieKauss

@MackofAllTradesNY: So did your business pick up after that shoot?

@RentSparkVintage: It took about 8 months to get my first rental order, and another 6-8 months after that before rentals really began to take off. I continued selling vintage during that time to make ends meet. I honestly wasn’t sure it would work, and almost threw in the towel a few times. I’m so thankful that I hung in there!

@MackofAllTradesNY: So where does the bulk of your work come from?

@RentSparkVintage: We are primarily an event rental company and we also do real estate home staging. As far as events, we do music festivals, weddings, tours, trade shows, corporate events, dinner parties - you name it! For staging, we try to focus on smaller, historic homes where the vintage aesthetic really fits.

Photo Credit @KatieKauss

@MackofAllTradesNY: How did you get the financial backing to start your business?

@RentSparkVintage: I funded it with my previous business. Very grateful!

@MackofAllTradesNY: Have you had any mentors to help you get started? If so, how have they supported and influenced you along the way as you have continued to grow your business?

@RentSparkVintage: Last year, I worked with a local business manager named Cara Jackson. She’s amazing. Cara helped me navigate a name change and re-brand, as well as a warehouse relocation and my first employee.

Right now, I’m working with a rental business strategist out of California named Lane Richards. Lane had a specialty rental company, grew it and sold it a couple of years ago and now helps others grow their businesses. She’s a badass!

@MackofAllTradesNY: As your business has grown, what is/are the projects that you look back on and are most proud of?

@RentSparkVintage: I love doing music festivals and am very proud and honored to be able to do them. They let me get creative and come with a unique set of challenges.

Photo Credit @KatieKauss

@MackofAllTradesNY: What is a project that you really found challenging? That really pushed you to grow?

@RentSparkVintage: Last year, I took on a design client. I designed their entire first floor. It was definitely not in the scope of services we normally provide but really challenged and stretched me in some great ways!

Photo Credit @KatieKauss

Photo Credit @SamanthaNelson

@MackofAllTradesNY: It’s interesting that you don’t consider yourself a designer. You have to have a good eye to pick out awesome vintage pieces. Why wouldn’t you consider yourself a designer?

@RentSparkVintage: I love curating our rental collection. Finding and buying for the inventory is something one definitely needs an “eye” for, but home interior design is a whole different animal. It’s one thing to be able to say, “That’s a cool chair and it would look great with this sofa and rug.” It’s another to be able to say, “This room should be arranged this way and this color on the walls and this art and this furniture, etc.” - it’s not easy! You also have to consider the client's living style and comfort. There’s just so much that goes into it. God bless interior designers!

Photo Credit @SamanthaNelson

@MackofAllTradesNY: So tell me a bit about your shopping process. Where do you go to find your pieces and, hopefully, your bargains?

@RentSparkVintage: Some places I like to shop? I recently had an opportunity to go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in LA - it was amazing. Top notch flea market for sure.

I also try to go to Springfield, Ohio, once or twice a year for what they call the “extravaganza” or the Springfield Antique Show and Flea Market.

Locally? Well there is the Nashville Flea Market once a month. I usually try to hit that up. Also there is the Gaslamp Antique Mall. They usually have some great stuff. But honestly, I’m just always looking!

Photo Credit @KatieKauss

@MackofAllTradesNY: What do you look for when you are buying pieces?

@RentSparkVintage: I look for pairs of chairs or sofas in solid colors in great shape. Coffee tables, side tables and rugs in excellent vintage condition. I look for versatility and pieces that will fit in with what we already have.

Photo Credit @KatieKauss

@MackofAllTradesNY: What is the most challenging part of your business?

@RentSparkVintage: Deliveries. It’s a service we have to provide but the logistics can be challenging. Most venues require events to be out same night - that means 11pm pickups - and one person can’t put a sofa in a truck. We always figure it out but we have to get creative sometimes. You haven’t lived until you’ve asked a stranger on the street if he’d help you carry a sofa for $20.

@MackofAllTradesNY: What advice would you give a young person who is starting out and might like to do something similar?

@RentSparkVintage: Start collecting! Keep costs low and just start! Get a storage unit, create a website, you got this!

Photo Credit @KatieKauss

@MackofAllTradesNY: If you had to sum up your style, what would you say yours is?

@RentSparkVintage: Quirky...eclectic…. soulful. I’m like 90% vintage. I’d describe it as edgy. I’m definitely not afraid to mix stuff that you might not put together normally.

Photo Credit @KatieKauss

@MackofAllTradesNY: Just out of curiosity, where did your love of vintage come from?

@RentSparkVintage: I went to my first estate sale in 2013 and I was hooked. I always shopped on Craigslist and have been drawn to older things… but there was this one sofa I found at the Nashville flea. It was an amazing magenta pink color and it became my first baby. When I bought it, I realized I didn’t really want to sell it and so I started to wonder how I could justify keeping it. “Maybe I’ll just rent this one out?” I thought and the rest is history...

Photo Credit @KatieKauss

@MackofAllTradesNY: Have you experienced any sexism in the industry? If so, do you mind telling me about it?

@RentSparkVintage: Not that I’m aware of. Honestly, I think being a woman has actually worked to my advantage in this field. If someone sees me moving a sofa by myself they will offer to help me, as opposed to when my husband is moving something, people do not offer to help. I feel like everyone has treated me equally and are respectful and kind.

@MackofAllTradesNY: Where do you hope to see your business in five years?

@RentSparkVintage: In my wildest dreams, I would be opening another location in a cool town.

Erin’s evolution of her business and style is inspiring. My biggest takeaway from her is if you are inspired and have an idea, just do it! When you aren’t afraid to fail, there is no other choice but to just succeed. I love seeing how much she has achieved so far and I’m excited to watch her grow her business even more. And if you are ever in the Nashville area and have an event or need a house staged, Spark Vintage Rentals should definitely be your go-to because Erin’s work is amazing!

Thanks, Erin, for inspiring us by sharing your journey!

Forever Grateful,


Please note that this interview was conducted before the tragic tornadoes in Tennessee. I am relieved to hear Erin and her family are safe, and I want to send out light and love and healing to those affected. Tennesseans are resilient and always band together in times of need. Please go to to donate to #NashvilleStrong. Every donation helps!

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