If you have an Instagram account and live in Dayton, I am fairly certain you’ve seen the awesomeness of this city’s newest startup, Something Old Dayton. Haven’t yet? Go follow them now @somethingolddayton. Now let me share a little about this couple who I fell in love with over plush vintage furniture and fabulous antique finds.
Originally from Springfield, Virginia and Virginia Beach, Mari + Kyle met while attending college in Richmond. From Virginia, the couple moved to D.C. before making their final stop here in Dayton just two years ago. Kyle continues to work for the government as a computer engineer contractor, but his entrepreneurial spirit, Mari’s artistic eye and both of their love of vintage treasures would inevitably fuse to create something magical.
A year and a half ago, Mari was reading an article online about a company that offered vintage furniture rentals. Having a degree in Craft and Material studies from Virginia Commonwealth University, experience as a Visual Display intern at Anthropologie, a life-time’s worth of experience crafting and art-making, a love of vintage furniture and assisting behind-the scenes at the weddings of friends, Mari always wanted to find a way to use her skills professionally. It was after reading that article that she realized that maybe, just maybe, she could finally evolve a long-time hobby into a business.
The Fosters, like many, have always dreamed of a “family business.” Something unique to them that would grow along with their family. When Mari shared the idea with Kyle, his logistical mind went into high gear, planning and moving forward. Mari laughed as she told me she immediately had regrets, being pregnant with their second child and in no position to start a business. It wasn’t until a spontaneous request to style a vow renewal reception that these two, on a complete whim, were to plan essentially a whole wedding in a week. Well, they did it. It was amazing and as Mari adorably said, “I dug it!” You would never know there were doubts when you see what they have created, and the community they are building around what they do. I dig it too, Mari.
In the infancy of their business, Mari and Kyle ran the operation out of their basement but with wedding and photographer clients growing rapidly the small vintage rental business quickly out grew their home. They looked for a while at spaces for storage, and though toured several nothing seemed to work with their style / brand and few were in their budget. It wasn’t until a call to the Davis Linden building that the pieces fell into place. It was perfect, and just like that Something Old Dayton had a new home on Linden Ave. An opportunity for a full photography studio with vintage furniture, antique treasures and Mari’s styling expertise, Something Old Dayton has quickly become a destination for photographers, wedding planners and Dayton’s biggest brands for commercial shoots and events.
Like many business owners in Dayton, Kyle and Mari definitely know and value the importance of community and working together in this city. Their marketing efforts consist of a mix of cold calls and emails, but social media and engaging online with photographers, wedding planners, florists and more is really driving their business. They work hard to add unique and hard to find items to their inventory for their clients, whether by hunting for or making them from scratch, like their collection of handmade wooden farm tables.
As members of the Rising Tide Society and the Dayton Tuesdays Together group, both said it is key to have a support system of like minded business owners supporting each other. Creating connections and building long term relationships is a major part of their growth strategy as they continue to evolve their business. The Fosters are Linden Heights residents and LOVE Dayton. When I asked if they were here to stay both smiled and said, “Yes, this is home.” We talked candidly about Dayton, “I see a city on the rise, driven by artistic endeavors” said Mari. She talked about how much Dayton reminded her of Richmond and how creatives reshaped that city and the same is happening here. From giving purpose to old structures, to food and art culture Dayton continue to grow breathing new life into the region. So, it’s Dayton to stay. Dayton to stay.
I enjoyed our conversation so much, and as a client I have to say they are amazing to work with as well and I look forward to many more collaborations this and next year. As a self proclaimed “junker” I also had to ask where they find all of their amazing rentals. Mari graciously offered up her secret. “Craigslist, flea markets, estate sales, personal connections, FB Buy Sell Trade groups, Goodwill, pretty much anywhere and I’m always looking!” she laughed. If you’re a photographer, wedding planner, or company that wants to host a unique event in a creative and stylized space, check out Something Old Dayton. Curious about them? Attend their open house on September 30th to meet these two and tour their space. Also, be prepared for their two little cuties to be crawling around. It’s kind of a perk of working with them. Welcome to Dayton Kyle + Mari, I personally am super excited to watch your business and family grow!