Some of you probably know that I have a vintage mismatched china rental company called Sugarbaker & Toad. Business is going really well just by means of referrals and word of mouth. It’s really a passion of mine and even though it’s a lot of hard work, I think of it more as a hobby. It delights a different part of my brian than the hypnotherapy does, so the two jobs compliment each other well!
Fine china has always been interesting to be, my grandmother and great grandmother both collected it. I have inherited both of their collections, most of which I use in my Sugarbaker & Toad collection! My mom also collects. So it really runs in the family.
I started getting serious about collecting when Jordan and I got in engaged a couple years ago because I knew I wanted to to use mismatched china on the tables at our wedding. I lucked out starting with a pretty great collection. Putting the rest together was a challenge, and pretty pricey, but it was well worth it! I’ve since quadrupled the collection and can accommodate more than 200 people with dinner, salad, bread and dessert plates, and 110 people with teacups and saucers.
After the wedding, photos of it went up on a rather large wedding blog called StyleMePretty.com. I started getting tons of emails from other brides asking for tips on collecting, or asking if they could purchase my collection. Making a business out of it was just the next logical step. And it’s been such a ride!
My business is really unique. Since I’ve started S&T and have worked with some of Southern California’s best vendors and venues, pictures of my china has ended up on more and more sites and has gotten a lot of attention. There are even other DIY brides out there that are trying to start their own businesses as well.
I have to find it a little funny that I get at the very LEAST one email a week, sometimes multiple in a day, asking me how I started my company, how I store and transport the plates, what my business model is, etc. I’m dumbfounded by the balls on some people. :) It’s truly astounding.
I’m not concerned. It would take someone years and a lot of money to put together a collection of china close to what I have. Like I said, I was really lucky. And I don’t cut corners. I don’t use any heavy, “retro”, or modern pieces. Everything is fine china from France, England and Bavaria, mostly Haviland, Limoges, Royal Albert, Sevres, and Wedgwood. You will never see coasters used as salad or bread plates with Sugarbaker and Toad. Each plate is special and unique, and most of the collection is over 60 years old. I’ve learned a lot about styling mismatched china. Even though the shabby chic look is meant to look relaxed and un-fussy, you still can’t just slap whatever plates together and expect them to look cohesive or pretty. It is an art form.
As my business grows, it means so much to me when people are supportive. I have so much gratitude for people who repost, reblog, and tell their friends about Sugarbaker & Toad. I realize that mismatched china is not everyone’s forté. :) But if you are into it I started a new blog where I’ll start posting pictures not only of my work and collection, but of images that inspire me and just lots of pretty, pretty things. I invite you to follow that blog, too!