By Jessica Isaacs | [email protected]
Something beautiful happens when our loved ones inspire us to follow our dreams. That’s what happened for Kelly Williams, who has turned her love for furniture, history, romance and all things vintage into a family owned and operated business — A Bushel and a Peck Vintage Rentals.
Brides, event planners and photographers are among the countless clients who turn to Kelly’s expansive inventory of charming antique, vintage and repurposed pieces to add a more personal touch to life’s most important occasions.
If you need something unique for a special project, Kelly and her family offer upholstered seating, architectural details, reclaimed barn wood furniture, china, small details and so much more. They’ll even help you style their pieces with your other details or create something custom for you.
What’s old is new again when you turn to A Bushel and a Peck, and it’s not just a business. For Kelly, her husband, Phil, and her daughter, Lily, it’s a way of life.
A Bushel and a Peck
A vintage rental service just made sense for Kelly, who has always had a passion for celebrating history and bringing old beauty back to life. She and Phil developed the idea for their business after successfully creating their own vintage-inspired wedding, and they started working to make it happen back in the winter season of 2013-2014.
The husband-and-wife team lives in the foothills with their 4-year-old daughter, Charlotte Lillian, better known as “Lily.”
“I am located in Lenoir, but I lived in the High Country for years before moving to the ‘lowlands.’ I have always loved the area, and there are some of the best venues and vendors here,” Kelly said. “I have only experienced brides, both local and from out of town, who are so excited to get married in the High Country. When you think of it, there’s beauty in every direction and at every elevation.”
The duo consulted with local vendors to see if a need existed for the services they hoped to provide, and quickly started working to collect inventory when they received a positive response.
Choosing a name for their business was a no-brainer, thanks to Kelly’s precious memories of her childhood and family.
“I remember my mom singing the song ‘A Bushel and a Peck’ to me when I was young, as well as my Grandma. As a new mother, I started singing it to my daughter,” she said. “When I went to choose a name I had a list, and the one that I kept going back to was ‘A Bushel and a Peck.’ I remember it from growing up, and it was one of the first songs my daughter sang with me.
“The song means so much to me and now I get to hear the name every day.”
Before they knew it, the Williams team had amassed an impressive collection of interesting pieces, each one surprising and alluring in its own way.
“We find most of our goodies at antique stores, although sometimes I luck out and find items at the ReStore, on Craigslist or something like that,” said Kelly. “Oh my goodness, I have so many pieces. I honestly don’t know just how many we have right now, but I am always adding new inventory.”
Today, many brides and couples each year rent pieces from the collection to add a little something special to their weddings. Kelly and Phil also work with photographers, consultants and other project leaders to style and coordinate soirées in the High Country and the foothills. They’ll even create custom details for you, like party favors or décor pieces, which fit your individualized needs.
“A Bushel and a Peck Vintage Rentals is committed to exceeding the expectations of clients, vendors and photographers by providing one-of-a-kind rentals, styling, custom items and services with extraordinary customer service and sincere thoughtfulness to each event, wedding and photography session,” Kelly said.
If you have your eye on something in their inventory, they’ll make time to show you every option, offer creative ideas and make sure you get exactly what you want.
“Some brides are very hands-on and interested in knowing all about the items, and some see our inventory styled for other set-ups and they know that’s exactly what they want,” said Kelly. “I will chat with them by phone, email or messaging, and I also send over a questionnaire to gather some more information so I can assist them to the best of my abilities.
“Some give me a color scheme and ask me to create something that works for them. No two situations are the same, so I work with each unique situation in the same manner. It all depends on what works best for that client.”
Kelly works to offer pieces tell their own stories, and she’s always interested in learning the history behind each and every one.
“I want my business to be a reflection of me. I am not squeaky clean, but I like nice things. I like rusty ‘junk,’ but I also want tufts,” she said. “I love everything antique, eclectic, old, reclaimed and vintage, and I want people to know — that’s who I am and that’s what I bring to weddings, events and photography.
“I won’t bring you a brand new white sofa, but I can bring you a vintage sofa with tufts and details that will create a whole feel to a lounge area. I won’t bring you classic chairs, but I’ll bring you various mismatched chairs in different styles and colors. I am here to add charm, whimsy, elegance and flair to your project.”
Her passion for each piece may be an important aspect of Kelly’s identity as an entrepreneur, but that still comes in second to the experience she provides for her clients, who almost always become her friends.
“To us, every client is such an important part of our life. We are a small business, so every question, inquiry, comment and ‘like’ on Facebook matters and will continue to matter to us,” she said. “Our clients deserve to feel and know that they are important. Most of them are allowing us to be a part of an event that is very special to them, and it means the world to us that they’re choosing us.”
A Bushel and a Peck is a family business through and through, and each part of the Williams clan plays an important part in its success.
“My family plays a huge role, literally and figuratively. We are a small business and we are a part of every single event, wedding or photo shoot,” said Kelly. “I like to think of myself as the brains of the operation — the purveyor, picker, stylist, email answerer, problem solver and creator.
“My husband, Phil, is the ‘brawn.’ He lifts the sofas, settees, barrels, tables and everything else with ease. I help, but a lot of the time I’m just in his way. He’s also the one who calms me down when I get discouraged. It’s very scary starting a business when you have a family, because, if it doesn’t work out, you’d fail not only yourself but them, as well. Phil gets just as excited as I do when we book a job and he keeps us from going broke with all of my vintage spending.”
The littlest crewmember may be small, but she’s mighty when it comes to encouraging, energizing and uplifting her parents. After all, she’s the reason they work as hard as they do.
“My, oh, my. My sweet little angel, Lily, inspires me every second of every day. I can honestly say that I would not be doing this if it weren’t for her,” Kelly said. “I want her to see her mother doing something that she loves, is passionate about and is proud to do. What is so amazing is that she loves it so much, too.
“Every time we go to an antique store, she is fascinated by everything we see. On a styled shoot or a wedding, she is enamored by the bride and groom — or, as she calls them, the prince and the princess. She is there every step of the way and I want her to be there as much as she can be. I want her to be a part of something that she can take pride in, too, and we have our own little slice of vintage heaven.”
After several years of successful operation in the High Country and beyond, the Williams family continues to grow their business, expand their inventory and tackle new adventures.
Most recently, they invested in a comprehensive new website that shows off most of the pieces they have to offer and explains their services in one easy-to-access, fun-to-explore location.
“I have been eager to revamp my website for more than a year, and we’ve been working on getting the images together for months. The whole process of creating the website itself has taken us about two months,” Kelly said. “It’s a great resource. Some people aren’t familiar with what a vintage rental business does, so I wanted to show pictures of my inventory, with each piece on its own and several styled ‘in action’ together.”
New and return customers are now just one click away from taking a virtual tour of every detail that the Williams team has to offer. Guests can learn more about who they are as a family, why they love what they do and how they can help make any special occasion even better.
A Bushel and a Peck Vintage Rentals is a member of the High South Event Professionals network — a community of like-minded industry pros who work together to promote the mountains of western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia as the premier special events destination in the Southeast.
Meet the Williams crew and other preferred local vendors at the High South Wedding Expo at the Boone Mall on Sunday, March 20.
Check a few more examples of the Williams family’s styling work in action: