This past fall, Mary Burchette reinvented her boutique, Serendipity, into an event rental and staging service business. After a short absence, the revamped business is back in the same spot with the same name. The concept fulfills an idea that Burchette had a desire to do for several years.
Serendipity not only rents interesting furniture and decorative elements for weddings, anniversaries and other milestone celebrations, but for other events as well. Schools and community theatre will find plenty of set design inspiration. It also offers home staging for houses on the realty market and props for photos.
“I initially opened the boutique in March 2021,” Burchette says. “I have always loved vintage, and I sold a variety of things such as bath bombs, unique cards and a bit of furniture. It was mostly a gift shop that had items no other business around sold and people couldn’t get anywhere else.”
However, another thought had been brewing. Before being in the retail business, Burchette was a preschool teacher for 16 years. About five years ago, a friend she taught with got married. Her wedding was vintage style, held in a barn. The décor was comprised of items she found on Facebook.
“At the time I thought, what a great idea. I kept it in the back of my mind. I made lifetime friends through the boutique, but as much as I enjoyed it, I still wanted to pursue the idea of renting vintage pieces for events. I reached out on Facebook and asked a lot of questions,” Burchette says.
“When I helped a friend doing florals at a wedding, I thought renting pieces for events would be a great idea. Instead of buying and then trying to resale things again on Marketplace, why not just rent? So, I closed the boutique, left the space, and started finding things,” she says.
Estate sales became Burchette’s number one go-to place for one-of-a-kind items. Furniture that she acquires must meet the criteria of being not too large, heavy or awkward to move. In addition, items must be the type of things not typically seen or easy to access. The business does not rent things like standard tables or chairs that can be found at big box party stores.
“My husband and I love to go to estate sales, and I knew I was on the right path when I came across a wonderful one last year,” Burchette says. “We ended up going two days in a row. We found disco balls, which are trendy but expensive, at a really good price. There was also pampas grass, which is big now. I used both at a wedding I did this October. It was a unique wedding; the bride had all dried flowers, and I staged the lanterns and center pieces.
Burchette also scours Facebook Marketplace and eBay. She was able to find peacock chairs from each of those retail spots. One of the chairs, which is reminiscent of seating found in posed vintage photos, was a two-hour drive away in Ohio.
One of the most interesting things Burchette found during her searches is a fireplace mantle that can stand on its own without having to lean against a wall. It can stand in the center of a room and is a great backdrop for family photos. It was yellow, but now painted white. Along with faux boxwood, this piece is the shop’s focal point.
During the time Burchette was away from her brick-and-mortar space, everything was stored in her home. The basement got very full, and it became hard to keep things organized. Plus, she wanted to showcase the items.
“I started looking for a space. Then, on the first of October I found out that the tenant that had taken the Serendipity Boutique location was leaving. I was so happy! It is a great space. Now I have the same address I had when the business was a boutique and I’ve kept the same name,” Burchette says.
“The reception for the business has been great. When we moved here in 2018, we fell in love with Tipton. It’s the all-American small town where people truly look out for each other. I knew whatever business I did, I wanted it to be in Tipton. People here love to see new things come into town and they really support small business,” Burchette says.
Serendipity in Tipton is located at 125 West Jefferson Street. You can reach them at 317-529- 2656 and on their website at serendipityintipton.com
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