(First published in the October 11, 2018 issue of City Pages)
Sandi Dahlke helps pull together all the odds and ends for a barn party
Sandi Dahlke started her rustic/vintage rental business to give people an easier way to plan rustic weddings
After attending a barn wedding a few years ago, Sandi Dahlke found the inspiration to start a business renting the decor for them. Knowing that finding all the pieces to decorate a rustic event takes a lot of time, money and planning, she figured this type of business would make the process easier.
Rustic barn weddings are increasing in popularity, but what happens to all those decor pieces afterward? Dahlke’s business centers on the idea that folks most likely won’t ever use their decorations again and could benefit from a one-stop location to rent and return them.
As her idea took shape, Dahlke enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp at the Marathon County Entrepreneurial Education Center two years ago and officially formed her business, Journey Eleven.
Her collection is eclectic and still growing. It includes decorative birch rounds, various arbors, cake and dessert stands, backdrops, chairs and chalkboards. “We also have a s’mores bar, which a local Stevens Point artist made,” she says pointing to an intricate wooden ledge with Sterno cans. Several large whiskey barrels Dahlke acquired can be paired with a wooden door to use as photo backdrop or dessert tables. “I really enjoy taking things that aren’t their usual purpose and giving them something that is usable,” she says.
Each piece in her warehouse has a story behind it and most come from estate sales, flea markets, online sourcing, and even her husband’s family barn. “We also build a lot of things, and we are trying to connect with local artisans and source some pieces to be built,” says Dahlke. “I find more value in pieces with a history and I’m a true believer that life is a journey. I view a scratch or a dent as character.”
And the meaning behind the name Journey Eleven? In her family, the number eleven comes up a lot. “The year we started this, my husband and I had been married eleven years,” she says.
Dahlke is just finishing her first year in business and has done roughly 20 weddings to date. All Journey Eleven pieces are on their website with pricing, dimensions and use ideas. Details at JourneyEleven.com