Post by Party Kit Network member Joanne, who set up Elsie-Rose Vintage Crockery Hire in Bishop's Stortford.
Joanne joined the Party Kit Network UK in March 2020. She has turned her passion for vintage crockery into a business, hiring tea sets for celebrations helping to make parties both greener and a bit more glamorous!
I am so delighted that the Party Kit Network includes vintage crockery; it really fits perfectly with the network’s mission to promote reuse.
Luxury and glamour aren’t always associated with eco-friendly options, however when it comes to vintage crockery hire that’s exactly what you get.
Quality items cared for by generations of people were commonplace not so long ago. We are now realising that the make do and mend mentality of a bygone era was in fact a much better way to live for our planet.
I love that my vintage crockery collection can still be used many many times avoiding waste from single-use disposables at parties, an alternative to our damaging throwaway culture.
My love for vintage crockery
My vintage crockery story began when I found a couple of vintage cups in an antique shop while visiting my husband’s family in Yorkshire - from then on I was hooked.
I loved that the cups were both practical yet quality and just items of beauty in their own right.
Many homes would have kept the best china in the cupboard for years and years, just bringing it out for special occasions. I appreciate the secret stories that the crockery may keep; the celebrations they have been a part of and the gossip they have heard - I currently envisage Bridgerton-style gossip!
I love that even when a tea service is no longer a full set, it can compliment another incomplete set and take on a new lease of life.
It’s hard to pick a favourite piece from my collection but if I had to it would be this pretty little pink Sadler teapot. This was the first teapot I bought at an antique fair whilst up in Norfolk visiting my parents a few years ago. It would be the last item I would part with.
Launching Elsie-Rose Vintage Crockery Hire
It took me sometime to build up enough of a collection to cater for a large number of people, but I eventually had enough cups, saucers, tea pots and cake stands to launch my hire business.
I launched 'Elsie-Rose Vintage Crockery Hire’ in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire in 2020. The name ‘Elsie-Rose’ is in memory of my two very special nans, Elsie and Rose. They both loved a cup of tea, slice of cake and a good natter so it fits perfectly!
Offering vintage crockery for hire
Starting a vintage crockery business is a much larger outlay than your standard party kit. For those of us who run a vintage crockery hire service it really is a labour of love and finding those special pieces really is all part of the fun.
My carefully curated collection of vintage crockery is perfect for tea parties, baby showers, christenings, weddings and special birthday celebrations.
It is much better to hire than to buy, as by sharing what we have we can protect the planet’s resources and save money - it’s really a win-win.
The hire works much the same way as a regular party kit, people will enquire and you will discuss dates and prices then once agreement has been made they can book. With crockery it is always a good idea to have clear terms and conditions including clear breakages charges. I also ask for a deposit to secure a date. Crockery can be delivered or collected and you can offer additional set up packages if you like.
If you are thinking of setting up a vintage crockery hire company for your community here are a few things to consider:
You will need to work out how many people you want to cater for, are you thinking about events, weddings or both? This will affect where you are best to advertise.
You will also need to think about your terms and conditions and your deposit amounts. Make sure your deposit will be enough - there needs to be trust with your clients but you equally don’t want to have to chase people for money if there are any accidents.
Decide where you are willing to deliver too, how far your reach will be and make this clear at booking.
We are all a friendly bunch; so make friends with fellow vintage crockery hire people if you can. You never know when you may need extra items or have a request for a particular colour scheme, it's nice to know people, so you can help each other out.
You can find our more about setting up a party kit in the downloadable guide here.
Looking forward to beautiful parties again
I relish having a reason to rescue these beautiful items that have been tucked away and forgotten, bringing them into the light to be enjoyed again by so many people.
While the COVID pandemic has impacted our parties, I cannot wait for the days when we can all have a good old party again. I hope it will be akin to the type of joyous celebrations they had after the war and that would be just fitting for my vintage crockery once more.
All images are copyright of Joanne Higgs and used with permission.