Hampton Event Hire officially turns 10 this month – and what a journey it’s been so far. From very humble beginnings (working from our kitchen table with a tiny storage shed!), we now employ nearly 30 team members across 3 departments and service over 1000+ events each year.
To celebrate our 10th birthday, we wanted to look back on some of our key milestones and share a little bit of our HEH story with you. Whether you’re a past customer, industry friend or future client – we hope this gives you some insight into who we are and what we’re all about! We seriously love what we do and feel so very lucky to play a part in your special moments.
Our long-time followers and industry friends may remember Hampton Event Hire actually started as Little Gray Station way back in 2011. It all began when our founder Judi was planning her own wedding and became the ultimate DIY bride, styling every last detail from scratch. She was later approached to put together a vintage-themed shoot (vintage was the ultimate wedding trend at the time) but couldn’t find any vintage props or furniture to hire. So with a $500 investment, she decided to purchase her own!
Our very first hire item was a pink patina workbench found in Bangalow. Jude continued to purchase and restore more vintage pieces from second-hand stores as our hire collection slowly began to grow.
After marketing ourselves on Facebook and through word of mouth, the beginning of 2012 saw more enquiries coming our way for both furniture hire and wedding styling. With an expanding inventory, we moved our stock to a 3m x 3m storage shed in Kingscliff – only to outgrow it within a few months, moving again to a 6m x 6m space.
With Judi now juggling styling clients and hire bookings with a toddler and a newborn, her husband Kris decided to join the LGS team in August, bringing his skills in marketing and sales. This year, we participated in our very first wedding fair, were featured in Queensland Brides magazine, and hired our first employee. The 3 of us worked from our kitchen table and spent our weekends driving up and down the South East Coast, styling weddings and delivering furniture from the Sunshine Coast to Byron Bay. Believe us when we say there were many, many late nights and early mornings during this time!
Little Gray Station had become renowned for our distinct vintage style – our most popular items were our mismatched dining chairs, velvet Chesterfield lounges and vintage tableware.
With the Little Gray Station brand growing and growing with no sign of slowing down, it was time for our very first warehouse! Along with a bigger space, we also imported our first container of furniture, introducing white and walnut Tiffany chairs to our range. We built a small mezzanine and converted the office into a showroom for meetings and consultations, while the 3 of us worked from a very dark, narrow and unglamorous hallway (later nicknamed “the dungeon”).
August of 2013 also brought a very exciting addition to the team – our first truck, Alfie! Up until this point, we were borrowing utes from friends, hiring trucks, and even strapping furniture to the roof of Judi’s Honda. Our range was evolving to more of a classic, romantic vibe as we introduced our popular French linen sofa furniture, timber dining tables, wine barrels and market umbrellas.
After outgrowing our first warehouse, 2014 saw us relocating to a new, bigger space – almost double the size! At this stage, we were still offering both furniture hire and styling services, with Judi working every weekend onsite setting up weddings.
Another big change happened this year as we realised we had outgrown our vintage roots. It was time for a rebrand to reflect our new direction! We officially rebranded as Hampton Event Hire in May, while Little Gray Station remained as the styling arm of the business. We worked hard to build the Hampton Event Hire brand from the ground up – launching a new website, creating new social platforms, and spreading the word amongst the industry.
2014 was also the year we hired our very first casual delivery drivers (after 3 years on the trucks, Judi describes this as one of the best days of her life). We had our first real taste of “wedding season”, experiencing our busiest months yet in September and October.
2015 – 2016
In 2015, the hire side of the business continued to grow as the Hampton Event Hire brand gained momentum. With new furniture arrivals and casual delivery drivers, we now had the capacity to take on more bookings. Kris and Judi decided it was time to close down Little Gray Station (and give Judi her weekends back!) while channelling all of their energy into Hampton Event Hire. Along with moving into a huge new 720sqm warehouse, we hired an administrator and logistics manager to maintain our growth, and invested in 2 new trucks.
2016 was also when we started to branch out into corporate events, working with some exciting brands on gala dinners and product launches. Our team also continued to expand, with new account managers and a warehouse coordinator joining the HEH family.
2017 – 2018
By the end of 2017, we had outgrown our warehouse (yet again!) and decided to relocate into a much larger space – a process that took nearly 2 months and 60 truckloads of furniture. Check out our 2018 warehouse open day wrap-up here to see this space in action!
We also added 2 more trucks to our fleet along with more sales team members, allowing us to service more weddings and events. Our furniture inventory was evolving with some exciting new collections being added to the range. Our Velvet, Indie and Dune ranges were massively popular with our clients, handpicked and designed by Judi and Kris. The HEH team also jetted down to Sydney for a memorable Christmas party to celebrate the end of a huge year.
2019 was another whirlwind year, with a full calendar packed with weddings and events. We welcomed our very own graphic designer and operations coordinator to the team to assist with our ongoing growth. We also now have 6 trucks – Lightning, Gray, Storm, Stardust, Frank and Thunder (named by Kris and Judi’s 2 kids!).
This year, we expanded our services to offer custom builds, and started designing our new Havana collection. Did you know we design and develop all of our furniture in-house? We’ve travelled to all of our manufacturing locations to check and maintain quality.
We rounded off the year with an epic Havana-themed staff Christmas party at Fins at Plantation House, complete with live music and margaritas.
2020 started with a bang, as we launched our brand new Havana Collection at The Joinery. It was an incredible night mingling with industry friends and showcasing our new arrivals. We were forecasting this year to be our biggest and best yet!
And then… COVID-19 happened.
The wedding and events industry was immediately hit hard by the pandemic. Cancellations and postponements started rolling in. We stopped receiving new enquiries. In a matter of weeks, we had gone from a thriving business at the peak of success, to closing our office and standing staff down because we no longer had work coming in.
2020 was by far the most challenging year for our business – but, we tried to adapt to the changing circumstances as best we could. With our entire industry out of work, we decided to open up our warehouse and invite wedding suppliers to work together on styled shoots (with full access to our inventory) as a way to continue creating new content during this time. The response was amazing!
Thankfully, as restrictions began to ease towards the end of the year, we slowly started to return to doing what we love most – creating beautiful weddings and events.
2021 has brought its own set of challenges, thanks to changing COVID restrictions, snap lockdowns and border closures. But, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel – and we’ve also hit some exciting milestones this year, too.
We’ve recently introduced our beautiful blush, white and gold Milan collection (stay tuned for the official launch), along with an amazing new range of cutlery. Over the last couple of months, we’ve also been busy moving warehouse… again!
We said goodbye to our Tweed Heads location, and hello to our brand new space at Arundel. Moving warehouses during a pandemic has been no easy feat (especially with the borders slamming shut just 2 weeks before the move) but somehow, it’s all coming together.
Racking is currently being assembled, shelving is being installed and furniture is being put into place. Our amazing team is working hard to ensure deliveries and pickups are still running smoothly as we transition into our new home. We now have a dedicated showroom and can’t wait to throw a welcome soiree once everything is complete!
We hope this has given you a little bit of insight into our journey here at Hampton Event Hire as we celebrate our 10th birthday. We are incredibly proud of our team, the work that we do, and the moments we help to create.
Currently planning your wedding or event? We would love to hear from you. Get in touch with our friendly team here for a copy of our latest catalogue!