Indicators of success: Downers Grove get together rental enterprise making occasions ‘larger and higher’
Holidays are busy for Kirsten Swanson, whose Indicators & Love Occasion Leases now’s situated in downtown Downers Grove. Steve Metsch/Shaw Media
After three years of figuring out of her storage, Kirsten Swanson lastly has a spot to name her personal.
Swanson, 41, owns Indicators & Love Occasion Leases, a celebration rental firm that not too long ago arrange store in downtown Downers Grove at 4927 Essential St.
The Downers Grove resident began her enterprise in 2020 in the beginning of the pandemic.
Her son Drew was having his ninth birthday in April of that 12 months, shortly after the state shut down.
“We needed to cancel his celebration. … A girlfriend labored for a towing firm and stated we may have a tow truck parade in entrance of the home,” Swanson stated.
Planning that distinctive get together — together with recollections of her late fun-loving mom Leslie, who died shortly earlier than Swanson’s sixteenth birthday — led Swanson to “keep it up the custom of creating events larger and higher.”
“I acquired the loopy concept to get a yard signal (for Drew’s birthday),” she stated.
When quoted excessive costs to lease one, she as a substitute purchased a yard signal after which started renting it out “to all my mates.”
That humble begin has mushroomed into Indicators & Love.
“I did not need to cease there. I needed to do balloons and backdrops, get together decor, tables. And linens. Why not assist everybody have a good time like I do?” she stated. “We’re doing all of it now.”
She observed in the beginning, particularly in the course of the pandemic, different firms had been renting out yard indicators for as much as $150.
She thought “why not lease them out for $50 so that everybody’s little one may get up and have that very same second?”
She now rents massive indicators for $115 and smaller indicators for $75.
Swanson all the time asks prospects “what’s your imaginative and prescient for the get together” and builds from there.
“We do not look to cost gouge. We glance to get our stuff on the market and need all people to have a good time it and share it with their mates,” Swanson stated.
She was so comfortable when she discovered an area in downtown Downers Grove that supplied a showroom and loads of storage, she “cried thrice.”
“It is an incredible location,” she stated. “We aren’t a 9-to-5 retailer. So if you wish to drive up and have one thing delivered — balloons, strains, no matter — to your automobile, we are able to run it proper out. I’ve storage and a full basement.”
Swanson and her husband, Tom, have three kids: Brian, 13, Drew, 12, and Kacie, 6. The youngsters assist place indicators in yards, she stated.
Kristen Wiley of Woodridge, one in every of Swanson’s glad purchasers, stopped in Oct. 19 to plan for a celebration.
“Palms down, her customer support, the immediate return of the telephone name, return of the e-mail,” Wiley stated made Swanson’s enterprise stand out. “She makes what you are considering come to life.”
Swanson works 5 to seven events every weekend and “in all probability a few dozen indicators in the course of the week.”
Common themes are “Cheers to 50 years,” “Fifty is fabulous” and “Honk for a birthday.”
Swanson stated she will get a few of her concepts from “a silent accomplice who’s an incredible designer.” She stated she desires to assist different small companies, maybe providing her showroom to photographers to lease out for studio work in the course of the winter.
Swanson enjoys the aspect of shock, planting indicators in yards within the night time that shall be seen when the honoree awakens the following morning.
However there have been moments she’s been “caught.”
“However you would not consider how many individuals like to come back out and provide help to,” she stated. “We have had youngsters who’re 8, 9, 10, 11, who say, ‘Can we put the basketball by my identify as a result of that is my favourite sport.’ They don’t seem to be shy to inform me what they like.”
Apart from indicators, she affords sugar carts, arched favor partitions, photograph cubicles, occasion linens, champagne partitions, touring bar carts, custom-made backdrops and loads of balloons.
“I’ve by no means been approached to do a divorce signal,” Swanson stated.
However there was that memorable “Holy Sh-t, You are 40” signal with a star tastefully changing the letter “i.”
Swanson had been working as the overall supervisor of a restaurant when she began Indicators & Love.
“It is totally different. Nonetheless a whole lot of hours away from the household,” she stated. “That is why I left the restaurant enterprise. I needed to be there when my youngsters are in class. However I am unable to surrender the dream of serving to as many individuals as I can. I keep in mind being Candy 16. I keep in mind how particular I felt that day.”
To schedule an appointment, name (516) 510-3920 or go to signsandlove.com.