Interview With Something Borrowed
Lane' Bigsby Wants to Make Your Wedding More Sustainable
Lane' Bigsby launched the wedding goods and decor library Something Borrowed a year ago with a clear mission in mind: to make weddings more affordable and sustainable for every woman. Professionally specializing in events coordination and management, Bigsby is passionate about sustainabi 2000 lity and green living. She is also a certified master recycler and volunteers for master recycling outreach, sharing her knowledge about recycling, waste prevention and thoughtful consumption. Reduce, reuse, and recycle is her mantra and the principle on which Something Borrowed stands.
Bigsby was raised in a small town of Nome in Alaska, where she learned the value and spirit of sharing. "In Alaska if you need something, you don't buy it. You ask your neighbors if they have it, because firstly it may not be available, and secondly it’s very expensive," she recalls, "And if you are going to use it only once, why not borrow it. It brings the whole community together." Her grandmother who loved collecting and sharing things was also a huge influence on her as well.
After her own wedding in the summer of 2011, Bigsby was deeply struck by the cost of weddings in terms of both money and environment. "The average cost of a wedding is about $27,000, and it’s a huge waste," says Bigsby, "Things are used once, then they either end up in landfills, or couples have to try to resell them." Inspired by the Burning Man festival where she went for her honeymoon, she started a lending library at the basement of her house in St. Johns. At Something Borrowed, people don't have to spend as much money to find the unique personalized items that they want for their weddings, or worry about disposing the items once the wedding is over.
Something Borrowed now has an extensive collection of vintage and rustic items from milk glass vases to vintage suitcases in its showroom where people can browse and pick. "We are very specialized in that we don't compete with the major rental business because we don't carry the 'cookie cutter' type of items," says Bigsby, "We are more specific or more personalized. While we are for-profit, our heart is in providing that community service and working with people."
With the rentals, Bigsby believes in providing individualized support to her clients. "When someone wants help with rentals, I usually meet with them to get a feel of what are they are going for," she explains, "Do they have a color scheme? Do they have a theme in mind? Where is that theme coming from? By getting together with someone you are able to dig a little bit deeper and ask more questions." She recalls she had pinwheels for her wedding because they were significant for her grandparents. Bigsby believes that every couple should have a special wedding, and Something Borrowed has exactly what they would need, at a lower cost.
According to Bigsby, what is really unique about Something Borrowed is its sliding fee scale. "Based on their financial needs, people can go up to 75% of their rental, with a maximum of a $100 discount," she reveals. "The aim is to provide brides-to-be of all income levels the opportunity to have the wedding of their dreams while staying within their means."
In addition to rental services, Bigsby has also begun to offer event coordination service through Something Borrowed. "It's a new service for us," she says, "We can do fundraisers, anniversary parties, corporate meetings, because we have our huge inventory to rely on. But we are not setting stones as far as what we will and won't do, because we want to be flexible. Every couple has individual needs. So we want to offer more range of options that people can pick."
Working with her business partner Kelly Guess, whom she met at Trash-To-Treasure, more than a year ago, Bigsby is in the process of building an inventory for larger furniture pieces along with vintage and antique items. "We are slowly getting into that right now, since we have a larger space to work in," she says referring to the new 600 sq. ft. studio at the Cathedral Park Place in St. Johns.
The inventory, which can also be browsed online, is filled with items that are either purchased or donated. To keep the inventory fresh, she remains up to date to the trends and demands. "I read a lot of blogs," she tells me. "It also involves a lot of watching what other people are using at their weddings, and paying attention to what people ask for that we may not have." A big part of her work is also to come up with creative ways to reuse items that are given away as junk. "A good example is I have a metal mattress frame, and it's just the springs. People would ask what would I use this for. I would say you can use it for photo shoots, or escort cars. There are a lot of different things. It's all about looking at junk more creatively."
In the near future, Bigsby plans to offer workshops for wedding planners, individuals, or corporate offices and non-profits that want to host their own sustainable events looking for tips and feedback. "That is something that we will start planning for in the Fall," she says, "It's a kind of an eco-awareness, and eco-education project. There is a lot that people can do. There are things that are misleading. Many people don't realize that there are sustainable options that they can do. The whole basis of this business to help people to make sure that things don't end up in a landfill."
Working a day job at an energy efficiency consulting company, Bigsby holds that her true love is Something Borrowed. She is thrilled to be running the first kind of rental business in Portland that has a sliding fee scale and a full dedication to sustainability and affordability. She wants to create a model that can be duplicated elsewhere. "There are definitely other places in United States that are similar, but they may not have the same resources or understanding as much as we have here in Portland," she says, "We want to make sure that if someone calls us and wants to do something similar, we can direct that."
For more information on rental and other services visit the website SomethingBorrowedpdx.com or its location at Cathedral Park Place, 6700 N. New York Avenue, Suite 218.