“Forgive us, wedding season kicks off this weekend,” explained Perkins Morgan, as she guided me down the hallway to the Paisley and Jade showroom. She and Morgan Montgomery were in jeans and rolled-up sleeves. The smell of fresh paint lingered in the air. They’d been laboring all day to get lined-up for the onslaught.
The doors opened and I was led to an industrial-style showroom. Even in the late afternoon, light flooded in and illuminated shelves filled with antique glass bottles, tchotchkes, crystal chandeliers and old books. The floors were lined with a curated collection of sofas, from ornate Chippendale styles to low-slung, mid-century modern pieces. It felt like I was standing in an Anthropologie warehouse. I felt like shopping.
Alas, nothing was for sale. Paisley and Jade is a vintage and eclectic rental company, and its new space is in the heart of Scott’s Addition. While the bulk of the business is dedicated to helping design weddings, Morgan and Montgomery have contributed pieces to commercial shoots, special events and more. I felt pride in the fact that Richmond had a market to support such a niche business.
“We started off in catering,” explained Morgan, “but the focus kept shifting more and more to how the food was going to be presented. Clients focused on serving ware and lighting options. But wine barrels—that was the big thing. People started wanting wine barrels for décor, and those aren’t easy to find. I’d have to eat the cost and drive out to Nelson County just to find something.”
Morgan and Montgomery decided to branch out on their own after a night of wine drinking. Montgomery said, “We’re wine buddies. We were super-close when working in the catering business – thrown together in a 10’x10’ room all day.” Knowing their backgrounds, it’s no surprise that the duo decided to create their specialty business. Perkins Morgan grew up on an event rental site – an old plantation outside Charlottesville that featured a Victorian house, rustic cabin and barn. She was always surrounded by a swarm of activity, from caterers to florists. Morgan Montgomery hails from Massachusetts and has a background in scenic design and stage management.
Both girls have an easy, all-American vibe, and are settling comfortably into Richmond, their new home. They even plan for the long-term life of this business.”Vintage style has been in for some time, and we don’t see it going away anytime soon. But we didn’t want to limit ourselves either,” explained Montgomery. “Aside from vintage, we have an eclectic style in general, and can work with different themes.”
They led me into their second showroom, and it looked like a place where hardcore Pinterest users go to die. There were fresh floral arrangements, chalkboard menus, vintage signs and an entire room stacked with mismatched but distinctive chairs. True to their talent, they even managed to make their showrooms cozy in a large, airy space.
They lit up when I asked why they chose to open in Scott’s Addition. “I give it two years,” Morgan predicted. “Two years and this neighborhood will really open up. It will become the newest revitalized part of the city—connected right to the Museum District.” Aside from the neighborhood’s proximity to highways, they’re thrilled about the neighborhood’s changes. Ardent Craft Ales is opening across the street. Urban Farmhouse is set to open down the road, and they are devotees of Lamplighter Coffee, already in Scott’s Addition.
Once a neglected industrial district that became desolate after dark, apartment lofts are now being built in the airy warehouse spaces and businesses are moving in, giving the neighborhood increased walkability. “Even at night?” I ask. Montgomery laughed. “Just the other night, Perkins called and was so excited because someone in the neighborhood was throwing a rooftop party, stringed lights and all.” I had to laugh at her casual reference to the party’s décor, seen from a moving vehicle.