Jodi Acker was motivated to move her business Rustic Accents. Her family did a lot of the prodding.
“I had been running it out of my home for two and a half years, and it was bursting at the seams,” said Acker, with a laugh. “The kids wanted their family room back.”
With a new location and showroom at 104 Murray St. in downtown DeForest, Rustic Accents is place where wedding couples can go to rent unique items like arbors, lanterns, votives, wine barrels and menu boards, among a vast selection of other vintage furnishings, for their special day.
“We’re able to provide brides and grooms a way to save money and still have beautiful décor for their wedding,” said Acker. “It saves them storage. It saves them money, and they don’t have to find a way to get rid of it when they’re done with it.”
Acker said the vintage items she rents are originals, although some are newer. She explained that she gets a lot of the props at flea markets and similar venues. Another prime source for her is Ernie Szepieniec’s Sunrise Auction Company in DeForest.
Acker tries to appeal to all tastes.
“While it is called ‘Rustic Accents,’ we do have a little bit of glamor,” said Acker.
Acker meets with customers by appointment. They are asked to come armed with ideas they may have gotten from Pinterest or other places.
“Then, they go around and pull things off the shelves,” said Acker.
For instance, a couple may take a liking to a eucalyptus garland, but might not know what to do with it. Acker could advise using it as a centerpiece. Putting ideas together like that is what she does best.
“You just play around and get the look you’re hoping for,” said Acker.
Rustic Accents will pick up and drop off the items a couple chooses for its wedding. Items in the showroom are available in bulk. The new space is more accommodating for Acker’s business.
“I think it allows me to showcase more items, and it allows everything to be in one space,” said Acker.
Some of it is still in the garage, though. The 7-foot arbors are housed there. Rustic Accents also offers games, such as bean bag toss set-ups and giant Jenga.
Acker figures she does about 25 to 30 weddings per year. Every year since she started Rustic Accents, it’s gotten busier and busier, having serviced eight the first year. The next, she assisted 30. So far in 2019, she’s worked 23 or 24, with five pending and four more appointments this week. An open house for the new site and showroom is being held Tuesday, June 18 from 6-8 p.m.
Acker said she started the business after the daughter of a friend got married and rented her wedding décor. Acker has also worked as a middle school teacher in the DeForest Area School District for 17 years. She was looking for a new adventure she could do on the side.
“I worked at a bridal shop all through high school and college,” said Acker. “And I was always interested in flea markets and vintage shops.”
Some of her former students have come to her looking for help with wedding furnishings.
“This year, I’ve had four or five of my former students or just DeForest graduates,” said Acker.
Acker believes that as a small business, Rustic Accents can work to help make a wedding more affordable. There aren’t many places like Rustic Accents in the area. Acker said A La Crate in Monona is one. She said if she doesn’t have something a couple wants, she will refer them to A La Crate.
Looking ahead, Acker said she wants to stay on top of trends. Having a booth at the annual Wedding Planner and Guide Wedding Show helps get customers. This is the second year she’s had a booth there. That, along with social media and word of mouth, nets her 90 percent of her business.
Rustic Accents’ slogan is, “Rent without buying is an idea worth trying.” She hopes more wedding couples will heed that advice.