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Vendor Spotlight: Hazlitt Vintage Rental October 26, 2010

Over the past few years, many wedding and event planners have opted for a vintage, rustic feel for their special events, and this trend continues to grow in popularity, but it is often difficult to source the rugged, iconic pieces necessary to achieve an authentic look and feel.   That is, until now.  Look out Ontario brides, wedding planners and photographers!  The province has a brand new prop shop that offers unique options for special events and photo shoots.

Selena Hazlitt grew up surrounded by vintage items and spent many days browsing antique shops and going to auctions with her parents.  Thus, Hazlitt Vintage Rental was born earlier this month. Selena’s new business offers one-of-a-kind decor pieces and props for brides and grooms, event planners and photographers.  An extensive collection of furniture and accessories is available for rent, including collections of vintage keys, mason jars, furniture, wooden ironing boards, picture frames, wood doors, door knobs, unique linens, quilts, radios, trunks, luggage, birch logs and much more.

You won't find these at Tiffany & Co

Vintage Furniture

Have a seat!

Frame it up

Rare find

I had the opportunity to ask Selena a bit about her new business and her passion for all things vintage.  Here is an excerpt of our chat:

Brilliant Bash: What inspired you to start your own business?

SH: I’ve always been an entrepreneur of sorts.  I am an independent soul who likes to explore new things.  I enjoy collaborating with others while knowing that I can retreat to my own space to refresh and organize my thoughts.  I am also a mom who made the choice to leave the nine to five, Monday to Friday work scene.  I really do adore hanging out with my 5 year-old son.  Starting my own business gives me the flexibility I need to love and parent my boy and also satisfies my need to have my own creative outlet.

BB: Was it difficult to get started?  Tell us a little bit about the process.

SH: This process is a little different for me.  Usually I am a very meticulous person; the type who does all the research, prepares the business plan, etc.  But that isn’t the way this journey has worked out so far.  I am enjoying the shift from my usual approach.  It took a few months for me to decide that I really wanted to manage a vintage rental business.  Once I got over that hump, everything fell into place rather quickly.

My advantage was that I already had a lot of inventory.  In order to prepare the store-front, I spent a couple of weeks in September painting and hanging out in hardware stores ordering wood and crown moulding.  My parents have been a huge support and help in preparing the space and inventory.  We have spent a lot of days cleaning jars, scrubbing furniture and squeezing in the odd shopping adventure.

I hired a local designer to create the brand and prepare some marketing tools for me.  Those things are in production and will be ready in November.  My good friend, Erin Samuell of A Simple Photograph, has been indispensable, thanks to her beautiful photos and creative ideas.

The web played a huge role in helping shape Hazlitt Vintage Rentals.  There are so many great resources available at any time of the day.  I spent a lot of time looking at industry web sites and blogs to get an idea of what was in demand.  And now Twitter is providing me with so many links to great people and ideas.

The most difficult thing is keeping my Visa card in my purse!  There are too many great pieces out there and I want to buy all of them!

BB: Why did you decide to focus on vintage rentals?

SH: There are a few reasons I decided to focus on vintage rentals.  Two people come to mind, Erin Samuell, and Deb Grasby from Cabin in the Woods Design.  Both of them helped me see the dusty collection in a new light.  For years I dreaded dealing with the boxes and furniture that my parents had gathered.  I grew up surrounded by vintage, to the point where I felt like I was living in a museum.  Conversations with Erin and Deb sparked something in me – a shift in my perspective.

There are a couple of vintage rental businesses serving the Ontario film industry, but there isn’t anything for event planners or brides and grooms.  I think there is a good opportunity to share much of the collection with people who want unique vintage touches at their event.  I see things on wedding blogs that brides are using and I think: “Hey I have that, so why not share it?”

I also enjoy a good party with fine details.  I’ve been a Martha Stewart fan for years.  I like making table arrangements and gathering things from my garden to cook up a fab meal for friends. There is so much beauty to share and so much creativity to enjoy.

BB: What are some of your favourite pieces that you currently have on offer?

SH: I have favourites for every season.  The top of my list right now is the 1950’s Car Snac Picnic Basket and thermos.  It was a birthday gift from my husband and son.  Erin used this in a shoot a few weeks ago for a fall engagement session.  For winter, I can’t wait to see someone use the ol’ red sleigh piled high with birch logs or a fresh green Christmas tree.  In the spring, I have a nice little fishing collection that would be great to feature for a river engagement shoot.  The beach chairs and croquet set are screaming for a summer lawn party.  And of course there are the classic stand-bys of blue mason jars and sap buckets.  They have so many uses and always look beautiful.

Winter's a'comin'...

BB: What are some dream pieces that you would love to add to your inventory?

SH: There is a fab furniture set at a shop not too far from my house.  I’ve mentioned it on my blog and I have yet to buy it.  It is a four-piece set of chairs.  There is one arm chair and the other three pieces can be put together to form a couch or used separately.  It is so versatile.  The cream pleather cover was okay in the ’60s but I dream of it being reupholstered in black velvet with splashes of colour from throw cushions.  It could be used in a club setting, at a tented wedding, or even at a house party where extra seating is needed.

I also want to work on an inventory set dedicated to the Great Lakes.  An anchor, some fishing nets, buoys, driftwood, beach rock, oars and a wooden dory, rope and pulleys.  Perhaps with a touch of salt water too because lobster traps are always a hit.

To view Selena’s vintage rentals, please visit

Photos by A Simple Photograph

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