Avid tea set collector launches party-rental business
Updated 4:52 pm, Friday, March 27, 2015
Living and working in London for 10 years, Jessica Hill says she grew to love England's centuries-old traditions involving tea and how it's served.
During that decade, she scoured auction houses, antique markets and charity shops in London and Paris for vintage tea sets, accumulating what gradually became a vast collection.
Now living in Westport and with nearly 500 pieces of china -- including 144 cups and saucers -- Hill has launched a party-rental business that will fit hosts and hostesses to, well, a tea.
The Dish & Spoon Vintage has enough tableware -- from colorful tea cups to cake stands -- to serve intimate gatherings or parties of up to 100 guests, Hill said.
Her collection includes side plates, cake plates, milk jugs and sugar bowls, tea pots, tea strainers and multitiered cake stands, she said.
For smaller events, she also has a range of silver cake servers, tea spoons and dessert forks.
Hill launched the business from her house in January and is promoting her tableware rentals for bridal showers, wedding anniversaries, birthday parties -- even tea-inspired cocktail parties.
"Fancy sipping a bit of fizz from a tea cup?" she asked in a news release.
In fact, a number of tea-based cocktails are listed in "The Vintage Tea Party Book," according to The Dish & Spoon's website. Among them are Wild Hibiscus Champagne, Gunfire (English breakfast tea with rum and orange) and Saffron G and Tea Shots (Earl Grey tea, gin, lemons, sugar and saffron).
Hill called the English tea party "a classic indulgence." Rental of vintage tableware for a party of 10 ranges from about $150 to $500, depending on the location, date and china patterns selected.
"This price ensures that each attendee will have everything they need to enjoy a decadent tea party," she said.
The business will deliver tableware anywhere in Fairfield County. Those hosting and attending, however, should be careful with the goods; replacement charges are assessed for breakage.
Hill has lived in London in two separate stints. She attended graduate school at the London School of Economics. Then, after getting married, she returned to London with her husband, and two of their children were born there.
Hill grew up in western Massachusetts in the Connecticut River Valley. When she and her family decided to return to New England, they settled in Westport in 2013.
While The Dish & Spoon Vintage provides the tableware, its customers have to provide the beverages and food -- at least for now.
Hill said she is exploring partnerships with several Fairfield County caterers to provide full party service.
The Dish & Spoon Vintage. Web: www.thedishandspoonvintage.com. Phone: 203-557-0598. Email: email@example.com.