How would you describe your business?
We mostly make props and furniture out of various things including lots recycled and reclaimed materials. My business is my thought-child. The props on the shelves were once distant musings in my mind then with a small team of prop makers we made them in to real things! I find it hard to think of one single word that sums up everything we hire as it isn’t just props. Our range covers items like giant deckchairs, fairground games, vintage furniture, rustic tables and chairs to a light up and topiary alphabet. I tend to just refer to it as “stuff” as our most common comment is “you have SO much stuff”. The word awesome get used quite a lot too, so I would say to describe our business…. ‘we make awesome stuff to hire’ For 2018 we are going to concentrate mostly on making things for weddings and styling props.
What is your favourite thing about being involved in the wedding industry?
I think it is the wealth of creativity out there. I am so inspired all the time. I look everyday on blogs, social media feeds, in magazines, and talk to people about their weddings. I love styled shoots, that has to be my favourite thing to do. And designing props too, Thinking of an idea that hasn’t been seen in weddings before is hard work as you draw inspiration from what you know already. It is a real challenge to find a new idea that people will LOVE. I have some for 2018 in terms of products – all will be revealed!
Can you describe Coombe Trenchard in three words?
Inviting, versatile and prrrrrretty
What advice would you give to bridal couples wondering how to style their wedding with your props/furniture?
Some people seem to home in on exactly what they want and pick items with a predetermined agenda. Others we find can be a little overwhelmed, and they as to what to choose and what goes with what. If you are looking for inspiration I would say check out our Instagram and Facebook where we feature lots of styled shoots and real weddings. If you find am image you like then use it as a starting point. Just pick what you love! And if you’re stuck I will send ideas, resources and images to help. We have a full-time stylist too, Carys, so you can pop in for a visit and talk to her, she is super creative and very lovely. We’ll make you a cup of tea as well. Just a note, bring a coat in the winter as the warehouse is quite big and doesn’t have heating – our warehouse staff wear ski suits in the winter!
What are your favourite props to deliver to an excited bridal couple?
New props! It is always very special when a new prop first goes out. We used to make all our props on request but it got quite stressful so now we use all our experience and knowledge to guess what people might like to hire for their wedding. When someone hires something for the first time it is like the seal of approval. Our new, un-hired props at the moment are a big gold arch, flower wall, carousel horse sweet stand, rustic arch and lots of little styling bits.
Why do you think props are important for a wedding?
They add personality! No two orders are the same for weddings – we have enough “stuff” so this is true. Each couple compiles an order that reflects their tastes and ideas. They add many different dimensions to their wedding from fun and games, to photo opportunities, unique areas of interest and experiences you’ll remember. A bride and groom sitting in a giant deckchair each sticks our for me! Like tiny little people all dressed up.
What drew you to the world of props?
It was a happy accident. The Prop Factory started as a university project while I was selling cake stands at a pannier market. A couple asked to hire 10 rather than buy them, and so my collection grew. I am now a prop fanatic. Always looking for unique finds, new ways things can be used, never seen before ideas. I am pretty sure I can safely claim two wedding trends I started. The first is ‘hook a duck’ and the second is flowers in Gramophones. About 5 years ago I got asked for a coconut shy for a wedding, which was very novel at the time. So I made one and hired it out. I started to look round for ideas of new manageable fairground games that could be played at weddings. I thought of a few including hook a duck. I was not influenced by pinterest or any wedding image containing hook a duck or similar, only vintage fairground imagery. I remember uploading a picture to Facebook announcing the new hire item and wasn’t met with the reaction I expected. Most of the comments were negative, people saw it and silly and that nobody would want that at a wedding… I ended up deleting the post as I had made me question if I was barking up the wrong tree. I am very glad I decided to keep it, as we now have 6 hook and ducks and a whole range of fairground items – they are very popular!
The flowers and gramophone ideas – which I see all over now, stated by accident. I took a bride and her florist to my storage unit. We basically had nothing that a florist could really use for flowers so I was a bit worried I might disappoint, so I literally suggest random things, anything with a hole, they must of thought I was a bit odd. The florist liked the gramophone idea and came up with an arrangement and it worked, thankfully. The florist did think I was mad, but now we are really close friends and she is a bit mad too.
Finally, what excites you about your job?
My favourite things are buying and making new things, when we get given or find awesome stuff to upcycle or use to make props, and when a style shoot goes to plan! Also our community spirit at work. We have a really connected team who all share a very similar view on life. We are big recyclers, love our community and love home cooked food…and tea. Without our amazing, talented team we wouldn’t be here. Check out our staff IG to see what we get up to @thepropfactory_staff
We just adore the colourful, exciting creations from The Prop Factory and high recommend their fantastic service and easy booking procedure. Why not enjoy a browse of these fantastically fun props on the website.