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Setting The Stage

A girl, a dream, and a teepee...

February 26, 2020

COWGIRL Magazine set the stage for this issue’s fashion photo shoot with the iconic teepees and décor from Southwest Teepee Rental.

About 20 years ago, Susie Tyler Alofs had the idea to host a teepee-themed event for the eyewear distribution company she owned in Phoenix.

She was surprised to find that the concept was completely novel and the market for teepees, shockingly barren. With the nearest available rentals hundreds of miles away in California, she did what any ambitious woman would do. She made her own.

Alofs tossed the teepees after the event, but when photos of her imaginative décor began to circulate through the city’s event-planning community, her voicemail was flooded with requests for teepee rentals and she knew she was onto something. Years passed before she revisited the concept, but it was always in the back of her mind, vying for attention amongst other business ventures and creative projects.

Susie Tyler Alofs.

Finally, in 2017, the time was ripe. The lifelong entrepreneur and busy mom of three launched Southwest Teepee Rental, turning her dream into a reality.

“I make sure that the ideas that I choose to bring to market are the ideas that don’t exist,” says Alofs. “The world wanted luxury teepees and unique structures, so here we are!”

Starting with what quickly became her signature product, the 22-foot-by-27-foot teepee, Alofs soon expanded her inventory to include a wide variety of luxury event teepees—all visually striking, beautifully proportionate, and adaptable to many uses. These exquisite structures, which accommodate up to 34 guests, can be set up indoors or outside, and are often employed for weddings and customizable luxury glamping experiences. They also make beautiful bar stations, lounge cocktail seating, and southwestern-inspired dining areas. One of Alofs’ design features is a set of grommets that run along the entire circumference of the teepee, five feet from its base. This allows the canvas to be rolled up for increased ventilation during the sultry summer months and offers an enchanting view of any surrounding teepees. The structures are embellished with breathtaking fabrics, trim, and rope lighting, all coordinated to match the client’s creative vision and included in the package rental.

Photo by Ken Amorosano.

Design categories at Southwest Teepee Rental currently include the following collections: Bohemian, Denim, Festival, Copper, Fiesta, Tribal Wicker, and an option for a corporate-branded collection. The stunning personalities of each allow clients to create a unique atmosphere at their events.

Alofs’ proudest and most innovative product, however, is her trademarked Naked Teepee, a minimalistic design constructed exclusively with exposed tent poles. Strewn with delicate white lights, these structures create a unique space that harbors both exclusivity and community while allowing guests to revel in scenic views.

“Aside from teepees, our inventory includes a wide range of custom décor items,” explains Alofs. “From luxury furniture to lighting fixtures [to] Southwestern-inspired accessories and pillows, our décor can be installed independently or alongside our teepees. Up to six sofas and an ottoman are designed to fit perfectly within a single teepee, providing a classy and intimate gathering space for guests.”

Other unique offerings include dining, communal, and accent tables; chairs; bars and barstools; and three categories of firepits—modern, rustic, and tribal.

Although Southwest Teepee Rental currently operates in the Phoenix area, Alofs has ambitious expansion plans, with her sights set on California, Colorado, Utah, Texas, and Las Vegas. Follow Southwest Teepee Rental on Facebook and Instagram to be among the first to know where this creative gal pitches her tent next. Visit southwestteepeerental.com. SLE

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