No drinking on the job.
Name: Rosina Jiménez & Jesus Jiménez
Age: 50 and 57
Occupation: Co-owners of J&R Party Rentals
City: Los Angeles, CA
Multicolored horses, panicked hotdogs sweating bullets in their buns, and a horde of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles piñatas look down at Rosina and Jesus Jiménez at the front counter of their store, J&R Party Rentals. The shop—which is in a mini-mall in the Highland Park neighborhood, sandwiched between a donut joint and a laundromat—thrives on word of mouth and a robust Instagram account showcasing the duo’s wacky paper creations. (Among the zaniest: life-sized dopplegangers.)
Jump houses, piñatas, and ubiquitous white plastic folding chairs dominate Los Angeles city parks on the weekends. For nearly nine years, Rosina and Jesus have helped make those parties possible. Jesus is the guy who shows up before the party to set everything up and sneaks in at your allotted pickup time to take it all away. Rosina handcrafts custom-made, highly ornate decor. CityLab caught up with the couple during a rare quiet moment.
How did you get started?
JJ: I worked for a big company in party rentals for 16 years. After that, I collected a few dollars and kept buying equipment—a couple chairs, a couple tables—little by little. When I had 50 chairs and some tables, I started looking for some place to have my own shop. My kids encouraged me a lot to start my own place. I was working for $10 an hour, working all day, everyday. We needed more money for my kids. They pushed me, and I said, “I can’t do it because I don’t speak English too much.” And they said, “No we’ll help you, and you can learn little by little, and you can do it.”
What’s a busy day like for you?
JJ: Sometimes it’s raining. Sometimes I have a delivery, and customers have a house on the second or third floor. I have to carry the chairs and tables on my back.
RJ: And he has to keep up his schedule, and I’m here in the shop with no help, and they’re calling that he’s a little late. In a single day, we’ve worked on 10 parties with just the rental stuff. That’s not counting the balloons or piñata orders here at the store.
What’s something you wish that people knew about this gig?
RJ: I wish they knew how hard it is to make a custom piñata. Sometimes people don’t appreciate the work and the little details. The piñatas we have, each one is very unique. And in Jesus’ job, he focuses on quality work. Clean equipment, always on time. I want to make everyone happy. When Jesus gets a rental order, he takes it so personal that it’s like, this is my party. Mostly, our customers are return customers, and that’s what’s keeping us in business.
Have you ever been invited to join the party?
JJ: Oh, yeah, most of the time. “Hey, come over to my party, I have carne asada, mariachis,” and I say, I want to go to your party, but I’m very busy.
RJ: Yeah, they offer, “Have a beer.” And I say, no beers while you’re working!