What's New: Violet Vintage

January 11, 2012
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Welcome to What’s New Wednesday, a new feature profiling local startups—and the entrepreneurs behind them. This week, we meet Vanessa Grider, who opened Violet Vintage this fall.

Type of business: Vintage rental supplies for weddings, parties and photo shoots  

Address: 8025 Castleway Drive

Phone: 520-2929

E-mail: Vanessa@violetvintage.com

Website: violetvintage.com

Founded:  August 2011

Owner: Vanessa Grider

Owner’s background: Grider, 30, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Indianapolis. After graduating, she spent a year with Americorps in Seattle before returning to Indianapolis for get her master’s in counseling from IUPUI. She worked at Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Indiana for three years before making the “exciting and terrifying” leap to business ownership.

Vanessa Grider, Violet Vintage ownerVanessa Grider offers party rentals with a twist. (IBJ Photo/Perry Reichanadter)

Why started business: A planner by nature, Grider was wrapped up in wedding preparations in 2009 when she realized how difficult it was to find unusual—and affordable—décor for the big day.

She didn’t want to buy hundreds of Chinese-made vases that eventually would end up in a garage sale, for example, and the rental companies she checked all offered very similar stock.

“The more I looked, the more I realized there was a need for something else. That was the biggest pull,” she said. “I didn’t always want to start my own business.”

But once she got the itch, she was determined to scratch it. She and her fiancé had a simple ceremony and spent their savings on the business instead. If it works, great. If not, Grider has her education to fall back on.

“What better time to do it?” she asked.

Competitive advantage: Don’t expect to find the ubiquitous fishbowl centerpieces at Violet Vintage. As the name implies, Grider’s company specializes in time-tested classics: real china, silver serving trays, crystal decanters.

The 1,200-square-foot Castleton warehouse is more utilitarian than decorative, but Grider is planning to set up a display area to help potential clients envision the possibilities of props like a white damask sofa or metal-and-wood trunk.

And the blue Ball jars she struggled to find for her own reception tables? She has more than 600 available to rent.

“This is a unique niche,” she said.

Grider also is proud that Violet Vintage is finding ways to use—and re-use—products that otherwise might be discarded or forgotten.

Startup cost: $30,000

Funding source: personal savings

Potential problem and contingency plan: “Not everyone is going to want this,” Grider admitted. But that’s the idea behind offering something unusual: Rather than serve the masses, she wants to provide alternatives for folks like her who want to be different.   

She has started meeting with event planners and photographers—and several brides-to-be—and is optimistic about the prospects.

“So far the reception has been warm,” Grider said.

Still, she knows it will take time to get revenue flowing. Since most couples spend six to 12 months planning their wedding, she doesn’t expect the firm’s first event until April.

First-year goal: Grider would be happy to average two events a month. And by mid-year, she’d like to have bookings in place for the first half of 2013.

“We’ll see where it goes,” she said.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. What became of this project? Anyone know?

  2. Scott, could you post an enlarged photo of the exterior of the building? This will be a great addition to Walnut Street. This area will only continue to develop with additions like this. Also, please give us more updates on the "Cultural Trail light" expansion. Also a great move for the city, as long as there is maintenance money set aside.

  3. Great story IBJ! Citizens don't have a real sense of the financial magnitude of supporting Indy's sports and tourism sector. The CIB was a brilliant idea for creating a highly integrated public-private partnership to support this sector from the economic activity it generates. Unfortunately, most folks think the benefits of that economic activity accrue directly to the City budget, and it doesn't. So though the CIB is facing lean times (covering its costs while maintaining minimally acceptable reserves), the City is operating with deficit - less tax revenue than expenses each year - with a very fragile reserve balance. That's why it's so challenging for the City to fund basic needs or new intitatives (e.g. pre-k education; new jail), and some credit rating agencies have downgraded Indy from it's past stellar AAA status. More reporting on City finances would be welcomed.

  4. Sure, I'll admit that it bugs me to see that the IBJ.COM censors it's blog posts almost as much as the D of I does when someone points out the falsehoods and fabrications. _____But I think it bothers me almost as much that Captain/Defender/Disciple get his yanked too. You see, those of us with a sense of integrity, humanity, compassion, and a need for fact based opinion WANT to see all of his screeds posted. It makes our point so much better than we can do it ourselves.

  5. We're conflating two very different topics. Voter fraud is a myth and excessive gun violence is all too real. I just hope rational gunowners decide to stop being shouted down by the, well, let's call them "less rational" ones.

ADVERTISEMENT