The Business of Holiday Hosting
One local business, Cloth & Gold, aims to take the stress out of party planning and execution
It is Bridget Rogers’ sincere belief that an at-home dinner party can be magical – which is why her new business, Cloth & Gold, provides the perfect dinner party setting so that hosts are free to supply the magic.
“Those face-to-face conversations … that make you laugh or think or connect you to someone new – that’s what happens at dinner parties,” Rogers says.
A few years ago – undeterred by her home’s small size – Bridget gave a sit-down New Year’s Eve dinner for 35.
“The table started at my back door and went to the front door,” she says. “I rented dishes; served homey food, chicken and mashed potatoes. We wore sequined dresses, the guys wore tuxes. I even made a dance floor.”
“The next morning, I woke up so happy — but suddenly realized, the rental company was picking up everything at 9 a.m. I hated that I had to wash the dishes right then,” Rogers recalls. “I just wanted to bask in the glow of that fabulous evening.
“And then I thought, I could do better.”
EVERYTHING IN ONE BOX
Rogers envisioned a business that provided everything for the table – and removed the stress.
“No doing dishes! No pressure to return stuff right away,” she says.
She did preliminary research and read articles that described how, although everyone loved dinner parties, fewer people were hosting them.
“They didn’t know where to start,” Rogers says. “At every party I gave, someone always said, ‘I could never pull this off.’”
Rogers wanted to help, so she took the concept of rented dishes one step further and created a turnkey way to throw a dinner party.
“An already-built system that can be immediately operated straight from the box,” says Rogers, who’s as comfortable with technical lingo as she is with old-fashioned hospitality.
THE SECRET IS OUT
Next step was beta research, i.e., trying out ideas in real life. Based on feedback, Bridget structured Cloth & Gold to help with dinners for four to 40. Customers can choose from six tablescapes, each with a name and different style. Every table setting is expertly designed with complementary colors and textures to become living works of art. Each tablescape includes: starter plates, dinner plates, salad plates, formal flatware, wine glasses, cloth napkins and table runner, flower vase and two candleholders, as well as suggested menus-with-recipes and a music playlist. (To go with the “Night in Provence” blue and white tablescape, for example, music includes Edith Piaf; to complement the natural materials of “Wish I Had a River,” there’s Joni Mitchell.)
All this delivered – recipes and playlist in advance – to your door and picked up at your convenience, no need to scrub your own dishes.
Rogers loves to talk to customers. “Think of us as your little party helper,” she says. “I love to suggest additional touches to make a surprise birthday, say, more special.
With Thanksgiving coming up, Rogers has some helpful last-minute advice for the at-home host or hostess with the mostest.
“First and most importantly, have a timeline in place for the days and hours leading up to your party,” Rogers says. “If you’re running around like a crazy person when your guests arrive, they will feel stressed too, and it won’t be enjoyable for anyone.”
When it comes to tablescapes, Rogers’ prime area of expertise, she says to “incorporate seasonal scents like sprigs of rosemary and pine cones into your décor. People have strong sensory associations with the holidays and tapping into nostalgia is a great way to set a festive tone for the event.”
THE DINNER PARTY SHALL NOT DIE
Growing up in Nebraska, Rogers visited Colorado often because her family liked to ski. “I always thought, ‘Denver’s such a cool city. Someday, the secret will be out,’” she recalls.
After college, Rogers pursued marketing in New York. Soon she craved a calmer lifestyle and environment, and in 2011, moved to Denver. “By then, the secret was out,” Rogers says, “and I was happy to be part of it.”
WHY CLOTH & GOLD
“In the 1500s, the King of France and the Emperor of the Roman Empire met up and tried to outshine each other with their wealth, like gold cloths and banquets,” Rogers says. “Later that place was known as ‘The Field of the Cloth of Gold.’ I just love those words … they evoke that lush and celebratory feeling I want people to have at their dinner parties.”
In her preliminary research for the business, Bridget read an article that said the dinner party was a dying art. “So my business has really turned into a mission: not to let the dinner party die!”
“We upload memories constantly, but have forgotten how to live in the moment,” Rogers says. “Cloth & Gold exists to bring people together. The less time spent planning means more time for laughing, talking, storytelling.
Last-minute orders can be made by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org.