When Kendell DeBoom and Jane Nobbe McClenahan were hosting a bridal shower, they discovered a problem – the rental company that was providing the tableware didn’t offer anything unique or charming enough to set their shower apart. So, they decided to start their own business – and the Festive Frog was born.
The Festive Frog offers unique and beautiful vintage tableware, ranging from the 1880s through the 1970s. Whether you’re searching for a set of 1960s glasses for a Mad Men-esque cocktail party or flower-print plates for a brunch with friends, DeBoom and McClenahan have you covered. Besides just supplying the tableware, the duo will also help you design and style your table, which can prove to be a difficult task.
“Setting a beautiful table is really styling a table,” McClenahan explained. “It can have different pieces, but it’s about putting it all together – and that’s really hard for some people.”
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The pair noted that one of the secrets to a great table is to not be afraid of mixing and matching styles, patterns – and even eras.
“There are no rules any more,” McClenahan explained.
DeBoom and McClenahan have been collecting pieces for the Festive Frog, which officially launched earlier this winter, for over three years. Since both have children who were involved in sports that would travel nation-wide, the duo would often travel alongside them – and use the trip as an excuse to check out the antique malls and secondhand stores across the nation.
“Collecting is the fun part,” DeBoom said. “We both love to antique – but now we have a purpose!”
Before they were entrepreneurs, DeBoom and McClenahan were exercise buddies with a passion for entertaining. DeBoom worked in advertising before moving on to study Culinary Arts at Kendall College and worked as a chef at Le Titi De Paris in Arlington Heighs. McClenahan worked as a hospital administrator and as a clinical dietician.
“Jane and I are a couple of 50 year old women just doing what we love,” DeBoom explained. “We’re putting ourselves out there!”
“It’s been a lot of blood sweat and tears,” McClenahan added. “Our motto is kind of, ‘we’re two smart women. We’ll figure it out!’”
When working with a client, the pair invite them to come see the showroom if possible (if not, they have an online photo album available.) They then hear about the event, the style and the budget, which they develop into a ‘look’. They then fine tune it, work out the details and – for an extra fee – will deliver and set up the tableware.
Although the business may have just started, they’ve already supplied the tableware for book groups, weddings, holiday parties – and were even featured in Chicago Social Brides magazine.
“Our girls have seen that you can do anything you put your mind to,” DeBoom said. “It’s been great to have both of us – neither one of us could do it by ourselves.”
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