Company Name: The Prop Factory
Interview with: Carys Jenkinson
Location / Coverage: Based in Exeter but cover all areas of the UK
Introduce The Prop Factory
The Prop Factory is a seven year old amazingly unique prop and furniture hire company. We hand-make beautiful items to hire for weddings and events from nearly 90% recycled, reclaimed and second hand materials. We don’t use any nasty chemicals and say “NO!” to fibreglass. Most of our items to hire are handmade from wood or fabric and a little bit of metal. We don’t sell any of our products either so you’ll only find them here.
Who works at The Prop Factory and what are your roles?
We are a small team of six working in the heart of Devon, obsessively foraging, creating, following trends, setting trends, drinking tea and being generally inspired and excited by all things pretty, weird and fun.
- Carmen: Director, Prop designer and Marketing Manager
- Adam: Director, HR and Customer service manager
- Jim: Logistics Manager
- Laura: Prop Maker
- Carys: Stylist
- Tricia: Website Creator
What’s your story? How did The Prop Factory come about and how long has the company been running?
The Prop Factory started in 2011 by 23 year old single mum Carmen Croxall, while she was at University. It has now grown into a warehouse of wonders.
Carmen started in the industry with a small vintage china hire business, and soon after had the passion and knowledge to create something amazing with prop hire. The company began as ‘The Very Vintage Hire Company’ and then changed face to ‘The Prop factory’. This is indeed an accurate description as we are a Factory making wonderful Props.
What props and furniture do you hire out for weddings?
We hire out such a variation of props and furniture to both weddings and events. We have a broad and creative range of sofas, chairs, tables, games, signs, giant objects, bunting, lampshades, light up letters, bars, backdrops and much more.
What made you decide to make the prop items rather than simply hiring out existing products?
Carmen wanted to have products that no one else would have, and the business revolves around making and creating new ones. If we were to buy new products they wouldn’t be unique to us. We also like to bring life back to old furniture and recycle as it’s much more satisfying to know nothing has gone to waste and we’ve created something gorgeous!
Where do you source materials for the props?
We save and restore a lot of pieces of furniture, and look for lovely wood details which we can take off of something old and make into something new.
How do you decide what to make? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Carmen is very creative with new prop ideas, and often one new prop idea can spur on a range of new props.
If a couple is looking for something very specific that you don’t currently have, could you make a bespoke item for them?
We have made bespoke props in the past for weddings and events, and are always open to creating new things for customers. However, we try to create props that many couples can enjoy, so nothing too bespoke that others won’t relate to it.
Your warehouse must be huge! What’s it like?
The warehouse is amazing! I recommend that everyone comes to have a look around. It’s floor to ceiling props and so much colour and creativity to look at. We have a workshop, office and styling area also packed in, so there’s a constant buzz here! A lot of people refer to it as an Aladdin’s cave.
Do you have a favourite item that The Prop Factory supplies?
We are very popular with our funfair games, especially for outdoor weddings. They are so fun and interactive, and look lovely and colourful when all set up together.
What’s the craziest item you have available for hire?
The new Mad Hatter’s Chair is the craziest item we have, which Carmen only designed last week. It has a tiny rabbit living underneath it. Keep an eye on the website for an exciting new photo of this one.
What are your top three most hired products?
Flamingo Statues, Velvet Emily Sofas and our giant daisies.
How soon in advance should couples book their props and furniture?
The sooner the better as we tend to have one-off props. We like having single items as it’s nice for couples to know they have the only one of a product at their wedding. Props get booked up quickly, often a year in advance, so if you have something in mind get it booked and then you can always add more at a later date. Couples just need to pay a deposit to secure products, and then pay the full balance 14 days before hire.
As you cover such a wide area, what are your delivery costs?
We have a handy delivery calculator on our website. It calculates the prop hire cost and postcode, and the more spent on props the lower the delivery cost is. Also, if a customer spends £300 we deliver free within a certain mile radius.
Describe The Prop Factory in three words
Creative, sustainable and FUN!
What’s your typical day like?
For me it’s a dream job and every day is different. For the last six months I have been coordinating and styling a photo shoot a week with our props to create inspiring content for our customers. Each photo shoot has had a completely different theme, with the images used on our website, social media and in publications.
Have you ever hired props for a celebrity wedding?
We have supplied to many well know celebrity events and had TV and Film bookings. Two we are very proud of are Britain’s Got Talent and The Great British Bake Off, and a lot more of our corporate clients are listed on our website.
Where can I find out more about The Prop Factory?
The Wedding Community: www.theweddingcommunity.com/14213/Suppliers/The-Prop-Factory