We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Braff and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
What should our readers know about your business?
Provenance Rentals is a specialty rentals company. What that means is we are a boutique event rental company and prop house that rents beautiful, unique pieces sourced from all over the world to decorate events & weddings, film & tv productions, luxury parties, retail stores, photo shoots, bar & bat mitzvahs, and so much more for chic, design-forward clients. We aren’t your typical, standard party rental company. Clients seek us out to make a space design-forward and Pinterest-worthy. Aside from our gorgeous and unique collection, we offer styling and design services, delivery & set-up, and will call. We strive to provide clients with a memorable experience. From our first communications to our last, we want to leave you feeling full of joy and good memories. Our customers are our number one priority and we want to offer the best products and services possible.
I am so proud of many things including: being able to keep operating my business even during a pandemic; being featured in Vogue and InStyle for a Roger Vivier party; working in San Francisco for Purely Elizabeth at Create & Cultivate; providing a peacock chair for Nick Cannon and Brittany Bell’s baby shower (thanks to Ava Mae, an awesome client!); our props have been photographed with CBS television stars and executives and appeared on their Instagram; working with Fox for The Masked Singer and Disney/Time Warner for an upcoming television show, and, in addition, several music videos. One of our biggest wins was when some props and furniture were rented for a photoshoot for LeBron James’ daughter. These things were at their home!
I still have room to grow in my business. I don’t want to think I am there yet, because there is so much more I want to accomplish. I can say that I just kept trying and pushing, even when I don’t want to. It has definitely not been easy. There have been so many challenges along the way in terms of partnerships dissolving, moving, funding, scaling, and of course, the pandemic. I can only overcome these challenges in baby steps and one at a time. Perseverance, support, and money are what usually helps.
There are so many lessons I have learned, but one of the best is about boundaries. I was talking to my good friend, Victoria, whom I have known since college, and she reminded me how critical boundaries are to my health, sanity, and well-being of myself, family, and business. I appreciate having a good friend walk along with me and remind me of the lessons I need to learn.
I want the world to know that my brand and story is that it means quality, trust, and everything that is unique. In times where we are seeing businesses shutter, especially unique, special, one-of-a-kind companies, we need that more than ever in our lives. This is what makes you special, life special, and your memories special. We are more than a brand; we are an identity. People seek us out because we find and curate special moments. We remind them of warm memories of the past. We create good design and transform spaces and experiences so you can look back on life and say that made me happy.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Assuming there was no pandemic, we would definitely eat our way through Los Angeles. I love tiny holes-in-the-wall all the way to fine dining. Experiencing culture is a tour through food. I always relied on recommendations from the late Jonathan Gold. He was such an amazing food story teller, and he would help businesses by writing genuinely praiseworthy reviews. I held his opinion in high regard.
To kick the week off, I would start with breakfast. I love Manhattan Beach Post. We would definitely order the sinful bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits with whipped maple butter. After the high-calorie intake, we need a little exercise. We take a stroll along the Strand, absorb that ocean air, and hopefully catch dolphins playing in the water. On another day, we opt to ride bikes instead of walking. Another great breakfast staple in the South Bay is Martha’s in Hermosa Beach. They offer amazing breakfast items like stuffed French toast, when you want to be particularly decadent.
Some lunch places I would also stick to the beach communities. For pizza, El Segundo has two great places I cannot get enough of: Il Romanista — which is Roman-style pizza and Slice n’ Pint. Their basil Margherita pizza is to die for. While in El Segundo, we grab some pints and libations at the local breweries and distilleries. Brewport is a great watering hole where you can not only get beer and wine based on what you pour, but also yummy, non-diet friendly dishes — but worth it for the flavor.
Later in the week, we head to Santa Monica. I love Santa Monica. I’ve lived there; my husband is from there; my kids were born there. We hit up some of the following places. For one, Bay Cities Deli for sandwiches: their pastrami and their bread are perfection. One of my favorites is La Vecchia on Main Street. It is old school Italian, but packed with flavor. My friends won’t be disappointed with their pastas, entrees, and even their complimentary bread. For more upscale dining, we make reservations for Melisse. It is a Michelin-star restaurant, and you go for not only the epicurean delight, but the experience. I also like Rustic Canyon, and we would have to hit that before leaving. We can’t forget exercise here either. I love to ride bikes along the bike path, go for walks, and I am obsessed with beach volleyball. I would make sure to organize a group of friends for that either here, or back in South Bay.
I also want to show my friends the Annenberg Community Beach House. Such a cool spot open to the public. During the week, we would go to the Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and buy some fresh goodies. If we had a moment, we would find one of the food stands on the bike path in Venice and get a fried Oreo. In the evening, we would enjoy drinks at High Rooftop Lounge. Before leaving Santa Monica and Venice, we would have to visit Santa Monica Seafood and get some coffee and treats at Huckleberry Cafe & Bakery.
Again, if life was back to normal, we would also hit a show at the Pantages. I always wanted to see Hamilton and Book of Mormon in person; those would be on the list. We then explore downtown LA and Grand Central Market. So many yummy food stalls to sample. A must visit is Bottega Louie and pick up some things they sell in their market, and enjoy some delightful French macarons. Speaking of macarons, we visit La Duree in Beverly Hills, or at The Grove. My favorite place in Paris, and now they made their way here.
Another restaurant I love that I haven’t been able to go to in so long is Animal near Melrose. Their menu changes, and it is some of the best food. Dear John’s created a pop-up by the chef from Melisse. The menu is delicious, and there are some quirky things about the place like the waiters’ attire. Also, going back to Jonathan Gold, I used to love going to Sapp Coffee Shop. Don’t be fooled, it isn’t a coffee shop, but some amazing, authentic Thai food. Kind of a hole-in-the-wall, but so good. We also head back to the beach cities and South Bay for some other dishes, because ASAP Phorage has some great banh mi. I also love Playa Provisions and can’t get enough of their seafood dishes, especially their lobster roll. Mariscos Guillen in Hawthorne serves up the best chicarron burritos.
There are so many more things to do and not enough time. If you want to check out some art, I love seeing smaller galleries, and I also love exhibits on Museum Row as well as The Skirball. I have taken my kids to many of these things. If it is summer, we catch a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. That is another fun thing I miss with the pandemic halting everything. Visitors need to experience even one concert there. Don’t forget comedy. I love really funny stand-up. You can always find a good comic performing in LA at one of the reputable venues.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
One thing I need and believe in is community. Community can range from your family to the larger community. First, I would like to thank my husband for his steady support through my business, even at times I wanted to throw in the towel. In addition, my two kids have been patient with me in every way imaginable. They may not always want to deal with my business, but they stick by me and support me. Next, my mom and sister have helped me and listened to me for endless hours determining how to navigate difficult situations. My mom even told me to take a project with a large healthy snack food company, Purely Elizabeth. I have worked with them a few times since. If it wasn’t for her encouragement, I don’t know that I would’ve had certain successes.
My amazing bookkeeper and friend, Laine Gimbi, has stuck by me through thick and thin and with patience and grace. She’s also a talented baker. Denise, of DL Art Photo, has been a close friend, confidant, and not only that, my amazing graphic designer. I also need to acknowledge the team that helps me with my events: Reyes, Christian, and Carlos — without them none of this is ever possible. I also need to acknowledge my invoicing company, Goodshuffle. Their software not only helps me, but I get to write for their blog, too! Another gem, who has also acted as a mentor and friend in the industry, is Jenn at Rustic Events. She is next level supportive and I am eternally grateful. She truly practices community over competition. I also have to acknowledge my peer Nick at Lux Event Rentals up in Northern California. We have spent many times discussing the business.
Next, there have been so many wonderful photographers that have delivered so many beautiful photos. To name a few: Shanna Castro Photography, Peterson Design & Photography, Lisa Marie Photographie, Christine Donee, Amy Haberland Photography, Katie Jane Photo, Steph Fowler Photography, Anokiart Photography, and so many more. Another group of people are event planners and who have put me in front of their clients like: PS & Associates, XO Kate Events, XOXO Weddings, SoCal Wedding Consultant, Wildly Collective, Katie’s Kreations Events, Pink Bliss Events, Amanda B. Events, Cause We Can Events, Gabriela Pilar Events, Moxy Bright Events, H & L Lovely Events, Yellow Bird Events, Skybox Event Productions, Meadows Events, Heartthrob Weddings & Events, and Mina Joo Events and so many other planners that want to work with us like Forever Yours Wedding and Planning with Friends when the time is right. There are also so many lovely vendors that have been supportive like calligraphers, florists, DJs, and more. To name a few: Blaque Iris Catering, Opulent Treasures, The Amani Experience, Bloom Theory Design, Rosewater Florals, Despina Scandalis Beauty, Lindsey White Studio, Nicole Bakes Cakes, Upton Grey Florals, Elizabeth Grace Florals, Honest Type, Bed of Letters, and more.
My friends along the way who have helped, supported, championed, and picked me up when I was down. Even my community where I live has cheered for me, supported me, and helped my business. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank our awesome customers along the way. If they didn’t support our business, we wouldn’t even be fortunate to pursue this little dream. From couples to vendors, to brands, influencers, stylists, photographers, production companies, artists, and even celebrities. I appreciate every single one of you!
Other: Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/provenancerentals/
Peterson Design Photo
The Katie Jane Photo
Smith House Photo
Nola Fontez Photography