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Life & Work with Christina Stewart

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Stewart.

Christina, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I never in a million years thought I would do something like this… When my daughter got engaged, I was in full-on planning mode! I am a list maker and planner at heart, so this was right up my alley. When I found out about wedding rental places, I was excited about this convenient and money-saving option. I began reaching out to a couple of the local rental shops and really didn’t get much of a response back. This was frustrating to me as I am a control freak as well… Oh didn’t I mention that? So, I decided to make all of the decor and centerpieces myself. It turned out beautiful and was the perfect day. A few weeks later, my husband made the suggestion of trying this new little business. I had been working in the toy industry for 13 years and needed a change. We dove in and All About You Rentals was created! I have learned more about invoices, entities, websites, marketing, and spreadsheets than I could have imagined my brain could hold. It’s been a whirlwind full of ups and downs, crazy amounts of tears and celebrations, and through it all I have loved this adventure.

During this time, I received 2 pieces of great advice.

1 – Don’t tour another rental place. Do it your way and the way you believe this business should be run. I have never been to another rental shop and I’m so glad I haven’t. I make decisions daily about our business and how we believe our clients should be treated. I have no idea how other businesses are run and that’s the way I like it.

2 – Always have something to be excited about. Whenever I get run down and exhausted, I start a new project. I know this sounds crazy, but it works for me. I love to create, design, build, and predict what new style this area will fall in love with. Starting a new project always gets me excited and fills my bucket.

We started this little adventure in our basement. Our teenager was not amused as we consolidated his gaming and friend space. I set up a little shop with decor options. The larger items such as arches, barrels, and furniture were displayed in our garage. You know where we use to park our cars… It was an uphill battle getting clients to even know we existed. I ran tons of ads every week and hired a photographer to help make my vision come to life. This went on for a year and then we decided to build a huge shop to the side of our home. This would make the process so much easier as clients could drive right up to the shop and pick up their decor. It also gave me the space to grow our business. It made it possible to become the One Stop Shop for our clients with literally thousands of items to choose from for their special day! Talk about a crazy year, running a new business, building a shop, and remodeling our home. It was so worth it!!! A few months later Covid hit. Having our new shop has made it so that we could continue business during the pandemic. This business consumes my life. I have never worked so hard or been prouder of our accomplishments.

I have always believed that every celebration should be treated uniquely as each of us is unique. That is why I strive to create one-of-a-kind items that make each event different. We are in our 4th year and half of our clients come from word of mouth. What a beautiful gift that is. I love my clients/friends. It is a pleasure to be a part of their lives if but for a moment during their special time. We help our clients celebrate weddings, funerals, and everything in between. Each celebration is special and unique like they are.

I have been humbled by the love and kindness of others.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There have been some challenges along the way for sure as with everything in life. We started a business and then Covid hit. I have never worked so hard in my life or shed so many tears trying to learn what I needed to learn. Computers are not my bestie, nor will they ever be BUT I am learning. I am a behind the scenes kind of girl and this business is part of my opportunity to learn and grow. I am a better person because of how hard this has been. It has stretched me beyond what I thought I could ever do and yet I am doing it! Each year I learn more about myself and gain strengths I did not know I had.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I always look for what something could be and not what it currently is. I love to create, design, fix, change, and paint. When I see what something has become it makes me smile and warms my heart. Isn’t that what each of us hopes for…what we can become? I love taking something that others think has no value and then turning it into something my clients love. We took a trip to California and of course, my husband took me to a flea market (so fun!!!) I found this incredible old huge brass candlestick. It was covered in layers of old paint. It took weeks to get the paint off without damaging it and then I wanted to do something special with it. I decided to make it into a cake stand…it is gorgeous and one of my favorites! Creating is such a great outlet for me whether it’s making chandeliers out of baskets, creating treat stands out of old wood, or painting and repairing antique tables.

When a client comes into our shop, we work diligently to help them find their vision. Some arrive and know exactly what they want while others have no idea. We walk through every step starting from the beginning. I always tell them… If you were attending your own event, how would you like it to look? When you arrive what do you want your welcome/sign in area to look like? Then the client will pick out the items they would like to use for that area. We then move on to the centerpieces, cake tables, food tables, etc.

We truly try to be a one stop shop and make the decorating process easy and as stress-free as possible.

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
My happiest moments are with my family. They are my everything. They inspire me! I have the most wonderful kiddos (I claim some that aren’t even mine). They fill my bucket each day and make me want to be a better person. My husband is perfection to me. He supports my crazy…and I can tell you, there are a lot some days. He calms my storms, makes me laugh all the time, and lifts me up. He believes I can do anything and is right by my side. I have other close family and friends that make my life full and wonderful, and I can’t imagine this journey without them. They make my world go round!

Creating is huge for me. The joy it brings is hard to explain. When I have created a new piece for the shop and a client walks in, picks it up, and tells me how much she loves it! That is pretty powerful!!!

People’s stories and the bond we create when we share with each other.

I remember one of my first clients had just suffered from a great loss and then was planning a wedding. We sat on the floor and cried together for a long time. Oh, how I loved this sweet lady.

I hear stories of happiness, sadness, victory, and loneliness weekly and want to be there for each of them. Each of us has a story and our journeys are more similar than most of us realize until we trust enough to share them.

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