"Vintage For Hire"
The story of Calgary's favourite vintage rentals company, Orange Trunk, begins with a cake tin. A vintage treasure that planted the seed for what would be the life force of owner and curator Heather Johnston. That simple piece of 60-year-old metal sparked in her an affinity for all-things-vintage and a passion for collecting.
Four years ago, a teacher and friend at Heather’s boys’ school who happened to share her enthusiasm for vintage pieces and event styling, suggested pursuing rentals as a hobby. When it quickly catapulted, Orange Trunk became not only a true passion, but a thriving business as well.
Today, the rental inventory boasts a jaw-dropping collection of pretty things, from wine barrels and suitcases to tea cups and goblets. I’ve had the pleasure to comb through some of the gems and marvel at plush velvet sofas, fit-for-a-queen armchairs and the sweetest little side tables. It was almost as if I had stumbled into the prop room of a movie set in old Hollywood. And just when I thought the little vintage rental company couldn’t possibly be any more awe-inspiring, Heather introduces me to the coolest thing on wheels – Orange Trunk’s shiny red vintage Ford Truck.
But vintage rentals isn’t all they specialize in. Heather’s knack for tailoring table settings and photo backdrops keeps her busy styling weddings, showers, birthdays and corporate events. And somehow, the mother of four boys (yes, four!) still has time to work on conquering the rest of the world.
The Gab Sesh
Q: Which one piece would you recommend to incorporate a touch of vintage into a wedding?
A: The Rosalyn sofa! It’s not only the perfect focal point, but a beautiful photo backdrop, and it really brings an upscale vintage feel.
Q: Do you deliver your items or can pick up be arranged?
A: Yes to both! We pride ourselves on providing full service on all of our pieces. We can arrange not only delivery, but set up, design and tear-down as well.
Q: What’s your standard rental period?
A: Our typical rental is three days, but we can usually accommodate an extra day or two if need be.
Q: Is your inventory available for viewing in-person?
Yes! We take appointments throughout the week and try to accommodate weekend and evening requests whenever possible.
Q: Let’s say a bride has an idea of the look she’d like to create, but has no idea how to execute it. Can you help?
A: We absolutely love to help with design and concept. Whether it’s a vintage vignette or elaborate dessert table, we can work with the venue, photographer and planner to make sure it’s all picture-perfect.
Q: Are all of your pieces vintage?
A: For the most part, yes. We have a handful of things like chalkboard table signs, for example, that aren’t. But the vast majority of our collection is true vintage. We even have a china set that once belonged to my grandmother.
Q: Who are the key players in your business and personal life?
A: My four boys and my husband are major supporters of Orange Trunk. They all help with moving, delivering and prepping pieces for delivery and pickup. They sometimes buy pieces of their own, and my son Ryder tells me he’s going to take over the business when he’s old enough. Orange Trunk is truly a family affair!
Q: If you could have any five people for dinner, who would you invite?
A: There are way too many people whom I would love to have for dinner, but I do know that I would set the table with our vintage china and goblets!
Q: What is the one thing the makes you the happiest?
A: Seeing my boys at the end of the day with smiles on their faces. The joy when they get a birthday party invitation or a compliment from their teacher is a reminder of the simple things in life. I think we can all learn a thing or two from that.
Q: Disney Land or Las Vegas?
A: Vegas, baby!
Q: In five years from now, where do you see yourself?
A: Still having this creative outlet in my life. Still collecting, designing, styling, consulting with brides, playing a part in weddings. I just love it all!