Sarah Mullins is the owner of A LA CRATE Rentals and A LA MADE goods. Through her passion for people and products with meaning, Sarah is challenging the way people think about the event rental industry. She is a sincere Midwest girl who lives for meeting strangers, making “something from nothing” and rummage sales.
What accomplishments would you like to share?
• Collaborations. As an artist there is nothing I love more than supporting other artists. Some of our most recent rental collaborations include work with J.D. Wolfe Pottery (https://www.etsy.com/shop/jdwolfepottery), Cire Alexandria (https://www.cirealexandria.com/) and Jon Alling of Human | Crafted (https://www.humancraftd.com/). I’m so proud of the quality products we are able to offer our rental customers. I’m also proud that we are going the extra mile. We could easily decide to buy a vase from a large retailer. Instead we choose to have ceramic vases locally thrown with a custom stamp on the bottom of each highlighting the maker (J.D. Wolfe Pottery in this case) and A LA CRATE Rentals.
• GMCVB (Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau) Partnership Committee: I was asked earlier in the year to be on the GMCVB partnership committee and was a judge for the 2018 Spirit of Hospitality Award (https://www.visitmadison.com/partners/events/awards-celebration/spirit-of-hospitality-awards/). I love looking for ways I can bring more businesses together to better every visitor’s experience of our proud community.
• Voted WI Bride Best Rental + Decor five years in a row. I like to think we continue to be the recipients of this award because we are taking the traditional rental experience and turning it on its head. From the moment we first meet our customer we are making the rental process personal (see the last question about what makes us “weird”). http://wibride.com/wisconsin-brides-best-2018-winners"
If you could tell your younger self something you’ve learned along the way, what would you say?
Having lost my mom at the age of 18, I found myself searching for my identity for years. Little did I know, I only had to "let go" and embrace my roots to find myself. I would tell my younger self to “Let go of the shoreline.” In life, it’s often tempting to hold on tightly to what we know (in this analogy… the shoreline). We can see our surroundings. It’s safe. We know the pro’s and con’s of our location inside and out. However, when we have a dream, it’s hard to see how to get there. You can’t see what’s around that bend in the river? I would tell my younger self to “let go”. Let the water (aka: life) guide you. Plan on running into branches and cobwebs. The process will not be smooth. Life is messy. But also know that you won’t get anywhere unless you take a chance and let go. It’s so exciting to think about what is around the bend and you’ll never get there unless you take a deep breath and float.
What inspired you to become an event professional?
Like many small businesses, our rental company was born out of necessity. As an artist and designer I thought I was going to love designing our wedding with my husband. Our experience, however, was quite the opposite. Wedding rentals in the midwest at that time (2010) were quite generic. We wanted our big day to strongly reflect Jeff and I as a couple. We made and found the majority of our decor items and in the end still didn’t find quite as many pieces as we envisioned. After our wedding we went to sell the decor and met many other couples in a similar boat. Someone should really SHARE these one-of-a-kind pieces! That is how the idea was born and we couldn’t have asked for a more supportive community than Madison, Wisconsin.