Building Your Linen Rental Inventory
Mary Larick 1018
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Building Your Linen Rental Inventory

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Every event rental business puts their own spin on their inventory to set themselves apart from the competition. Some have unique chargers, others might have a one-of-a-kind trending chair. But there is one thing that is a staple in every company’s showroom and inventory, its linens. With so many colors, textures, and sizes, it can be hard to know what types of linens to have on hand for your customer’s special events. After spending 10+ years in the industry, I’ve had the pleasure of working with leading manufacturers of linens and I have learned ways to stay trend-forward while giving event planners and clients new and exciting looks.  

Colors 

Color plays an instrumental role in building the design for any event. Linen serves as the base for building your tabletop look.  All inventory needs to start with depth on inventory in your core basics - black, white & ivory. These colors can be used for all events from social, corporate, and university.  However, as you start to build and layer in more product offerings, take inspiration from your local corporate businesses and local universities for branding colors.  

It’s also important to stay up to date with the latest trends. You can find inspiration in lots of places, from blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, and even the Pantone Color of the Year! This yearly color can be very indicative of the trends you can expect and many of your customers might use this while they look for inspiration in their upcoming events. Check out this year’s 2022 Pantone Color of the Year: Very Perry to start thinking of ways you can incorporate it in your event rental offerings. 

Fabrics & Textures 

 Most fabrics used in the rental industry are cotton and polyester, but there are specialty fabrics, like Bengaline, Dupioni, Shantung, Jacquards, Rosettes, Pallettes, and more, that are higher ticketed rental items that will give you that little “garnish on top” for any event. Bengaline, which is a type of linen with crosswise rib made from textile fibers (such as rayon, nylon, cotton, or wool), provides a slight texture and sheen and washes and keeps well, which is perfect for longevity. When expanding beyond polyester and basics, push your inventory to include a variety of fabric types so you can continue to be creative while you layer in texture and sheen. The previously mentioned fabrics are also timeless and elegant, and a great choice for occasional weddings, corporate, and university events.  

Best Practices 

Now that you know the beginning colors and textures to buy, start building your event rental inventory! Be sure to include solid colors and the core basics, then once you’ve got a solid base with lots of options for your client, you can add new fabric pieces in lace, rosettes, organic Tuscany linen, and macromer to further offer a range of options. The goal is to offer many colors in a fabric family that is popular from both a design and price standpoint.  It’s easier to layer new colors into a fabric family from the ones you already carry.   

Pro-Tip: Display is important! When displaying your linens, make your presentation as visual as possible by walking your event rental customer through your showroom. Instead of showing square samples swatches or swatch books, consider displaying full sample sizes of your linen on a table so your customers can better visualize your product in their special event. 

An event can achieve more depth when the design incorporates multiple linens.  Take weddings for example. The head table or sweetheart table might offer high-end textured linen so that it stands out.  The guest tables might be in a complimenting color/texture, while the service tables in different linen and cocktail tables boast something fun and playful for the cocktail hour.  By learning your inventory and mixing colors, textures, and prints you are giving high design and maximizing your linen inventory.   

Want to stay up to date with more tips and best practices for event rental fabrics and linens? Check out our event rental-specific courses found in RentalU, our largest training platform for the event and equipment rental industry.  

Mary Larick

Mary Larick

Mary Larick

Mary Larick
Other posts by Mary Larick

Mary is a native to the South and enjoys everything that her home state of North Carolina has to offer from the mountains to the coast. She loves spending time with her family out in nature and you can usually find her on a trail or floating in the lake. Her passion for meeting and helping people led to a natural fit for a career in hospitality. She is a veteran of the rental world and has enjoyed assisting clients with their design, product, and logistical needs. She's excited to get to apply this passion to our members at the ARA.

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