With the recent launch of their home-goods collection, Loot Finer Goods, sisters-in-law Anna Crelia and Rhoda Brimberry are sprucing up the event-styling industry.
By Lauren Jones, Photos by Taylor Prinsen and Paige Newton
Anna Crelia and Rhoda Brimberry are more than just business partners. They’re also the sisters-in-law duo behind local favorite, Loot Rentals, formerly Loot Vintage Rentals, a boutique furniture-rental company. Since co-founding the business in 2011, the two have quickly become experts in the niche rentals industry.
In 2010, Crelia was planning her wedding and spent countless hours searching for items to fulfill her 1920s-speakeasy-themed vision, but was at a loss for where to rent such one-of-a-kind furniture and décor.
“There was nowhere around Austin that offered vintage rentals,” Brimberry says. “Anna enlisted her family’s help and, because I was staying home at the time with my kids, I jumped on the chance to go out and do what I loved, which was shop for vintage finds. I [searched]Dallas, where I lived at the time, and Anna [searched]Austin. The rest is history.”
Throughout the years, the two have turned to garage sales, Craigslist and even an assisted-living home’s yard sale in Georgetown—where they found a stunning French settee—to collect their diverse array of vintage items. They recently acquired 158 vintage Bertoia chairs, a once-in-a-lifetime find.
“Rhoda and I pride ourselves on finding things that no one else has and bringing them to the world of rentals,” Crelia says. “And the Bertoia chairs definitely fit the bill. Nobody has those.”
The Loot Rentals warehouse in Northeast Austin is overflowing with tufted leather loveseats, European-inspired textiles and hundreds of place settings. From gracing intimate weddings to being featured at dinner soirees for 300 people, the pieces are consistently out on rental.
Since the founding of their business, one question the duo continued to receive from renters was how they could purchase the furniture and décor.
“In the beginning, people would ask if the items were for sale, but we were never in the position to do that,” Crelia says. “Rhoda and I were busy for so long with the rental business that we didn’t want to jump into the retail side right away. It took us awhile to feel comfortable, but it was always a part of our growth plan.”
In September, Crelia and Brimberry announced the launch of Loot Finer Goods, a collection of more than 100 curated for-sale items. The items include found, refurbished and handmade goods ranging from pillows to sofas, with price points from $60 to $1,800.
Highlights of the collection include a pair of original 1970s Arne Norell leather Kontiki sofas, handmade wall hangings from Genuine & Ginger, and pillows repurposed from vintage African and Turkish textiles.
“With the rentals, we want to try to make sure that we are speaking the client’s language,” Brimberry says. “But with Loot Finer Goods, we look for things that we would love in our own homes. We believe that every item should bring joy and be something that you’d want to pass down for generations.”
Now that the duo has not one, but two businesses under their roof, the notion of work/life balance is an ebb and flow.
“I don’t really believe in constant work/life balance,” Crelia says. “As women, we give ourselves a lot of guilt over working too much, but if we adjust our mindset and know that some seasons are busier than others, I think we’ll develop a healthier outlook.”
“Anna likes to say that balance is bulls–t,” Brimberry says. “Understanding that some things will get more energy than others is just part of life, and that’s OK. This whole Wonder Woman concept of trying to do it all is unrealistic.”
Although the pair spends a good chunk of their time talking business, they prioritize their families and have built a company culture in which their employees can as well.
“Our business is built on the foundation of family,” Brimberry says. “When your family needs you or you just need a break, we understand that.”