Vendor Highlight | On Solid Ground
On Solid Ground began in 2011 and has grown tremendously over the last few years. Run by husband and wife team, Alonso and Lisa, they have a passion for making, collecting, and refurbishing objects with true character and personality. Their eclectic inventory is constantly changing and is housed in their 2,600 square foot warehouse space in Northeast Minneapolis. Both with a background in sculpture, painting, and printmaking allows them to offer a variety of custom services to create a truly personalized experience.
Read a little bit about Alonso and Lisa, and what makes your experience with On Solid Ground truly customizable!
On Solid Ground | Lisa + Alonso
Alonso and Lisa, tell me about how you came into OSG and what inspired you to take over the business?
I have always been an avid vintage collector and have a hard time passing any type of antique store, thrift store, or estate sale without at least taking a peek. Alonso and I have a friend that has worked in the event industry for several years and she suggested that we turn my passion into a business. I thought she was crazy, I had never heard of a business like OSG. About six months after she made the suggestion, Sarah (OSG’s founder) reached out to industry friends looking for a buyer. Our friend put us in contact and we eventually purchased OSG from Sarah.
Tell me a little bit about your collective creative background?
Alonso and I both have a master’s in Fine Arts. He studied sculpture and I studied painting. We have both taught art and design at local colleges for a number of years.
We love to make things and this has worked so well for our OSG experience! We have been able to work with our clients on custom pieces and props as well as design and build things for the OSG inventory. Welding, woodworking, painting, printmaking, sewing, and a few other skills have made their way into this new endeavor. I’ve even recently finished a course on re-upholstery which I hope to put to good use!
Where do you find the items in your inventory?
We definitely inherited some great pieces from Sarah when we bought the business. I think I have about doubled the inventory since then! We look for things everywhere! Vintage and thrift stores, estate sales, craigslist, even an occasional alley find has proved beneficial! We also make quite a few of the larger pieces, such as bars, backdrops, and architectural elements
Besides rentals, do you offer any other services to your clients?
We love to work with clients to make their event reflect their personal style. In addition to rentals we are able to source special items for our clients and build custom props, backdrops, and display pieces. We also have worked with several corporate clients to design themed events for fashion shows, galas, and even the superbowl!
Custom pieces - are you personally making these for clients or outsourcing them?
We make them all! This is one of my favorite parts of the job! We design and build all custom pieces and it’s very much a team effort!
When a client comes to you, what does your process look like to help them pick out pieces and put their overall aesthetic together?
The process definitely varies by client, but generally, we start with email conversations and a visit to our warehouse to see the inventory and discuss needs/options. I then put together a proposal with images so the client can see the pieces together. If the client is working on more of a theme-based event requiring custom elements, I create a virtual design for them so they can see what the concept will look like once it’s built and combined with the rest of the inventory. Many of our clients are very visual so they have a good idea of what they want when they come in, but we work to make sure every client can see their vision come to life. We even occasionally set up items in the warehouse so the client can swap things out and move things around!
What are some of your favorite pieces in your collection (you can each answer this if you would like!)
I have many favorites and they change depending on my mood! Right now, I’m loving our new blue velvet chair named Cleveland and the new wooden cake stands Alonso made. His current favorite is probably the new Maple top bar he just finished, it’s industrial-rustic cool!
What is the best part about being in the wedding/event industry?
For me, I really enjoy working with our clients. We have some really sweet wonderful people come through the door! It’s great to be able to take a client’s vision and make it come to life for them! I also love collecting, so curating the collection is great fun! Another element that I didn’t expect when we got into this was the behind the scenes view we get of so many amazing spaces in the Twin Cities. We’ve had the chance to see the secret spaces of MOA, MIA, US Bank stadium, the Convention Center, as well as so many fabulous event venues in town.
For Alonso, I think the building part is the most fun. He is so creative and talented and this really lets him show off his mad skills! (Lisa answering for Alonso 😊)
Anything else you want potential clients to know about working with On Solid Ground Rentals?
We really see you as an individual and that is reflected in our work. Each event is unique. As a company of two, we are able to remain flexible and attentive to our clients needs.
Our inventory on the website is kept current, so that’s a great place to start. We are also open by appointment and I love showing people around our warehouse!