8 questions with Loot Rentals founder Rhoda Brimberry 🥂

For Rhoda, balancing a business and household is an ongoing journey. | Graphic by ATXtoday, Photo provided by Trainual

We’re partnering with Trainual, an onboarding and training software for small businesses, to highlight a local female entrepreneur who has found success using the platform. See how Trainual is changing the game when it comes to leveling up the people and the processes that keep these businesses running smoothly every single day. 

Profile: After seeing a void in the offerings from other wedding rental companies, Rhoda Brimberry teamed up with sister-in-law Anna Crelia to create Loot Rentals. The boutique rental company features vintage, high-quality rental options for various occasions including weddings and corporate events. 

We asked Rhoda what advice she has for other entrepreneurs, what makes the Austin business community special + what she thinks a perfect day in Austin looks like.   

Q: What makes Austin’s business community special? 

A: There are so many creative minds in this town. I absolutely relish the young visionaries who are looking to expand on technologies we have and create new advances. I think the spirit of the business community is very collaborative and encouraging. There’s a buzz in Austin and I am excited to see how we grow.

Q: What are some of the most important characteristics a leader can have? 

A: Vulnerability, humble attitude, moxie 

Q: Who are the local movers + shakers you’re watching? 

A: 

  • Kari Crowe Seher (Melt Ice Cream): I love her story of how she started her ice cream empire, and how she approaches life in general. 
  • Elon Musk: I guess he’s local now so I’m watching him and how he disrupts the market and, potentially, the culture of Austin.
  • Brené Brown: She’s local to Texas, so I consider her local and definitely a mover/shaker. I love love her approach to leadership. Encouraging leaders to be vulnerable. 
  • Delores Crum (Premiere Event Group): She’s a veteran in our industry and I appreciate her no-nonsense approach to what we do. Plus she’s very approachable. 
  • Carolyn Lowe (ROI Swift): She’s a friend and a great leader. I appreciate how she approaches her business. 

Q: What got you interested in the entrepreneurial journey and starting your own business?

A: For me, I had given up my career when I had children. It was hard for me to justify working and my entire paycheck going to someone else who got the privilege of raising my kids. Plus, conditions on a whole for working mothers who nursed their children were not favorable to me. Yet, when my kids became toddlers, I started to get restless. I was looking for a creative outlet. I have always daydreamed creatively about filling holes in the market while doing good for the world. I had never considered myself an entrepreneur before, I just enjoyed creating things, vintage shopping, and interiors while figuring out how I could use my passions to serve others. 

When Anna (Crelia), co-owner, founder, and chief creative officer, decided to get married in 2010, she had a unique vision for her wedding theme that rental companies didn’t carry at the time. It included lots of vintage and one-of-a-kind items to fit her speakeasy vibe. She enlisted me to help her source all the vintage china, linens, and tabletop items, which was super fun and right up my alley. 

We started to notice in our collection that there was a lot of time, money, and space needed for this one-time event. Then what? I remember dreaming up the idea of maybe keeping these items and offering them as rentals after her event. In my research on Craigslist at the time, I was finding people with similar ideas to collect items for their event, but then would just sell it off when they were done with it. I thought, why not continue to offer these up to the community and make a little business out of it? I went to Anna with my thoughts, but it turned out she was thinking the same thing I was. That’s when Loot was born.

Q: Describe your perfect day in Austin. 

A: I love to visit Barton Springs and Zilker Park in the morning with my pups, who can run off-leash before it is full of people, and the temps are cooler than mid-day. After our morning walk/swim, I visit ThoroughBread Bakery in the Zilker neighborhood for a Burridough, fresh-baked bread, and stuffed cookies for later. 

In the afternoon, I love to visit bookstores like BookPeople or Half Price Books to grab some good reading whether it is fiction, business-related, or crafting-related.

In the evening, I love a good meal with family while listening to great music at Meanwhile Brewing Company, where the kids can run around and dogs can hang out as well. And if there’s an art opening at Flatbed, we always try to attend. 

To cap off the evening, riding bikes back down to the springs to cool off in the healing waters before bed is always in order. 

Q: What’s your go-to coffee or drink order?

A: I enjoy unsweet tea with a splash of sweet….or every now and then a taro boba tea with less sugar and extra boba.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? What advice would you give to women looking to start their own business?

A: The best business advice I’ve ever received is to know your audience and make sure you speak to their needs. Trying to start a business with the idea to serve everyone will be to your disadvantage. For women looking to start their own business, I would suggest creating a strong brand visual with a solid website and to not skimp on this. Branding is vital to entering the market. It allows folks to know you’re professional and serious about what you have to offer.

Q: What is your biggest challenge? Reward? 

A: My biggest challenge is balancing all the things. I learned long ago that balance is not a destination, it is a journey. It is not a noun, it is a verb. Action. Some days leading a household and also a business is a beat down, but I love teaching my children it is possible. My family is loved and cared for and they are all thriving in their own ways. Same with our employees. All these people mixed are the greatest reward.

Question:

What is the best piece of business advice you’ve received? Let us know here.*