Today I am pumped to introduce to you Colleen Munyan of Unique Settings Rentals. She is the owner of an inventive business in the events/planning category. I found her on Instagram and fell in love with all the amazing images she creates with her beautiful place settings.
1. Please give us a little background on yourself, how you started Unique Settings (what gave you the courage to start your own business), and how it’s going for you right now.
I’m a transplant from Buffalo, NY via Atlanta, GA. I worked in advertising and marketing in Atlanta for incredibly smart, strong women. I saw just how possible real entrepreneurship was.
Unique Settings is still in it’s infancy- she’s only 3 years old, but it’s going great, and with all the support I receive from family, friends, local vendors and current/past brides, I look forward to even more growth and hopefully the possibility of franchising.
2. What exactly do you offer with Unique Settings? Can you explain this more for those who are unfamiliar with the product/services?
Unique Settings offers fine china plates, teacups and tea party setups, vintage glass goblets, dreamcatchers and several other table top décor pieces for rent for weddings, showers or special events. I come set everything up or leave it with the family or planner to get set-up and return to pick it all back up dirty, so none of my customers have to be inconvenienced with washing the rental items. The prettiness just shows up and *Poof- goes away without any of the un-pleasantries.
3. What stage would you say your business is at and how long did it take you to get to this point?
Unique Settings is still very young, only 3 ½ years old. I started Unique Settings as a tea party rental business when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, Magnolia. I was inspired by Lauren Conrad’s teacup collection in preparation of her bridal shower, and became quickly consumed with the adorable-ness of teacups and then the accouterments as well. As time passed and I saw that most of my inquires were for plates for weddings or showers, so I began to grow my plate collection and took inspiration from California wedding planners who were stacking vintage china to match color-pallets for their events. Fast-forward a few years, and my collection is now more than 1,000 plates, and hundreds of events deep.
4. How does social media & blogging play a role in your business?
Social Media has been critical to Unique Settings’ success. Since my budget for advertising was almost non-existent to begin with, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter were critical in establishing this new market segment in Knoxville and the surrounding areas. The ability to present my initial collection, highlight new additions and feature events in the beginning was all done on exclusively Social Media. I like to look back at my first posts to be able to remember just how far Unique Settings and the collections have come! I also keep a blog on my website to work towards a my SEO staying up in the Google rankings. It’s a time-sucker of a process to generate new content all the time, so it doesn’t happen nearly as often as I wish it could, but writing this is a great reminder that it’s time for me to go put up a new blog post.
5. What is your favorite part of owning your own business?
My favorite parts of owning my own business are; 1. The constant learning process (I’m a self-proclaimed learning-junkie) and, 2. Not having to ask anyone else for permission to run with an idea. I have learned how to trust my gut and feel a calm sense of confidence when trying a new idea or concept. I also enjoy knowing that my ideas may fail and that it’s okay, because afterwards I will have learned so much about why my idea failed, that it’s actually a win. The patience to go through it is the only hard part. Sitting still in uncertainty is my new favorite discipline I work on daily.
6. What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about starting a business?
The only advice I can give is that it’s not nearly as scary as you might think. Just go ahead jump in with both feet and experience the rush of knowing you might fail, but you may also prosper. And, either way it will be a wonderful growing process as a person. (And it totally feels great when you make something awesome happen all by yourself, no matter how small it is.)
7. Give us your favorite place to go for business advice books/websites/podcasts.
I pack my Facebook and Instagram feeds with POSITIVE personal and business messages from sources like; MorningCoach.com, Entrepreneur.com, Young Entrepreneur, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, MotivationMafia, SuccessDiaries, MindingherBusiness, BusinessInsider, BusinessMindset101 and Forbes.com.
I also reached out to successful women in business in both Knoxville and Atlanta and began a mentor-like relationship with them. Beth from Planet Xchange and Lesley Britt with LB Floral along with Vanessa from TheVintageEnglishTeacup.com in Atlanta have helped me to grow Unique Settings to where it is today by giving me the opportunity to discuss my current business issues with them and listen to their advice on how they tackled similar issues along the way. I am so grateful to all of them for all the time they have given to me and Unique Settings. Thanks Beth, Lesley & Vanessa!
I love Colleen’s vibe! Her positive energy rubs off on everyone around her. I think one of the most valuable gems she shared today is finding other women who can help you as mentors in your entrepreneurship journey. I love this! #womenhelpingwomen
What about Colleen’s story has inspired you today?