I would like to introduce to everyone The Khans, husband and wife, they both worked at a large party rental company for many years, its where they met and later married. After many years working together they realized how great a team they were, and they wanted to invest in their own business. Always talking to each other about how they would do things differently to improve customer satisfaction and productivity if they had their own party rental business, they decided to stop talking and take a risk. They took their life savings, their talent and invested in themselves starting a small linen rental company in the basement of their home in Queens, New York.
Kathy Khan used her background and experience in the fashion industry and applied her textile design and production talents to run the linen department at a very famous party rental company, she fondly became known as the “The Linen Lady”. In 1993 there were only a few party rental companies that competed for the higher end New York special events market and Kathy Khan worked for one those premiere rental companies. Kathy brought that fast paced-no tomorrow-must be perfect attitude with her to the party rental industry and it proved to be successful. She laughed when I asked her to describe what she felt was her biggest accomplishments or what she was most proud of. Expecting to her to tell the story of starting in her basement and now owning her own warehouse, I was surprised when she told me that developing and creating 10 colors to the Solid Tablecloth line. SAGE/CELADON, CANTALOUPE/MELON, EGGPLANT/AUBERGINE, MOCHA/CAPPUCCINO, ANTIQUE GOLD/MUSTARD, SALMON/CORAL, FRENCH BLUE/SLATE, MANGO, CHARTREUSE, and finally her only not-so-good creation AQUA. What is special about this you may ask is that all the other party rental companies to this day copy and use these colors as part of their everyday line of colors. At that time she explains that table linens were simply a selling tool and there was no real profit to be made. She had to sell and convince her boss to spend thousands of dollars on the idea that she could turn the linen department to become as profitable for him as his glassware and tables department. The reaction from the sales staff and customers was amazing, Kathy goes on to explain that the trust and faith from her Boss was as rewarding as the success of her new color line that is still used today nationwide.
Nizam Khan, has a different story to be told because his experience was not from a college education or working in a trade for several years, it is from his successful migration from South America to America as a boy, sent here alone make a home so his parents and little sister could join him after he established himself. His parents trusted him and had faith in him, they knew if anyone could make it happen he could even at the young age of 16. Nicknamed “Business Man” he explains he intended to live up to that reputation. He tells me the story of his struggle coming in to America as he calls it “the back way” and he would not let his parents have to come to this country that way.
He came with nothing but the hope that a distant family member would take him in until he could find a job. Quickly he found work doing menial jobs until he landed a great job in a children’s clothing store on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. He learned everything he could worked constantly in every aspect of the operation from window display to customer service to inventory control to garbage removal. Soon his boss became dependent on him as he was practically running the store. Still a boy in age turning to a responsible young man, deprived a childhood had a bank account, an apartment in Brooklyn and his family safe in America with a comfortable place to live. With his parents now employed, and sister enrolled in school his mission- his promise had been accomplished. Next wheels!
With his savings he quit his job and bought a car to drive car service at night and a van to do messenger service by day. Kathy and Nizam both say it was meant to be because before they met at the party rental company he picked her up when she hailed for a cab several weeks earlier! They met again when Kathy called for a messenger and Nizam came to pick up for her. Nizam studied how all the party rental companies used independent truck drivers when they had overloads for their own trucks, and knew that’s where the real money was. He quit his messenger job, he had long given up the car service job, he needed his evenings to be with Kathy, and bought a 24 foot box truck and started his own little trucking business TRANS KHAN EXPRESS. They laughed and looked at each other shaking their heads because he had never driven a truck before and Kathy had never even sat in a truck. But here they were backing into a loading dock to pick up that first load hoping their used truck would not break down and fail them- it didn’t. Taking another risk but this time the first of many a risk they would take together.
Khan knew with Kathy by his side he could do anything and he was right. One truck became 2 then 4 and 5. He was quickly servicing all the party rental companies in New York with his own crew of drivers and helpers. Customers trusted him and requested him and he was happy to observe and learn everything he could about what the customer needed and wanted and expected. Salespeople requested him to do their high end important large orders. He wanted to learn about client’s needs and expectations and how events where set up and put together, and all about the equipment. Learning about every aspect of the business. Rental owners trusted him to know their equipment and deliver it in time sensitive situations but most importantly they trusted him to know the equipment and make sure it all comes back. The owners knew that they could count on Nizam to do just that. Four years later after learning every aspect of the business, much like he did at the kids clothing store, he let go of his trucking business and convinced a very hesitant Kathy to quit her high paying, 2 week vacation, health insurance, job, explaining to her that you can never get rich by working for someone else and that together they could do it. Kathy and Nizam took another risk and started their own linen rental business. When I asked him, what was his biggest accomplishment, he proudly spread his arms wide opened and said with satisfaction its all mine, everything you see.
Customers that had confidence in their abilities, suppliers and a few hard working, experienced party rentals workers all believed in the Khans and wanted them to succeed. Outcasts to the party rental industry because of false accusations from their previous employer, and being different from the “ordinary” industry owners, they persevered. Clients were ecstatic over their customer service, the quality of inventory and innovative style, they demanded more of them. They insisted they service them with glassware and china, tables and chairs, and to become a fully serviced operation to do house parties and other small venues.
Twenty years later the Khans own and operate out of a 65,000 square foot warehouse in Irvington, New Jersey servicing New York City and the Tri State area. With the innovations of the internet they have had the opportunity to reach hundreds of new customers. They explain how they go out of their way to maintain that close comfortable relationship with new customers as well as maintain that same customer satisfaction that they served and still serve to some of the same clients for all these years. Clients who turned this little linen rental company into a premiere fully equipped party rental company.
If you want to pick up the phone and speak to a rental expert and place your order over the phone without an automated answering machine and speak to someone directly and quickly you have that option. If you want to send your order by email and don’t have time to talk you have that option as well. Their new website makes finding what you want and ordering or getting quotes fast and easy. If you want a cozy intimate cocktail party at home, or a massive fund raiser for 500 in a space in NYC, or a spectacular wedding at any premier venues in the Tri State area. The Khans at New York Party & Linen Rentals are here.