The first thing you notice when you walk in is beautiful, unique displays full of fresh flowers you may not be able to find anywhere else in the city. It feels like spring at Oak & Lily. This is a dream come true for Tatiana Penner; to open a shop that showcases unique flowers and celebrates local artists. The Spectator Tribune caught up with Tatiana Penner shortly before Oak & Lily opened its doors to the public:
In praise of independents
It is difficult for independent florists to compete with the prices at big box and online stores who order in huge quantities and sell at cost to bring customers in. But, the benefit of being a small business is that you have the chance to explore things more creatively and to really build relationships with the people you serve. We can provide personal service and products because we can listen and respond to what each person is looking for.
To be unique is a wonderful thing
I always try to keep something different or surprising in the shop that maybe most people will have never seen before. All flowers are beautiful and I don’t discriminate…carnations are still welcome! I may just use them a little differently…
I have a great selection of cards; lines from local artists Kate & Biride, who use recycled paper, wind-generated energy, and vegetable based inks to produce their hand-illustrated designs. And I carry stock from a sweet girl from Vancouver whose line, Think & Ink, has cheery and fun greetings, as well as Hartland Brooklyn who hand colours every single card. The cards come with an envelope made from recycled paper bags.
I also carry gift and home-ware by local and small-batch artisans. Prairie Girl Pottery is a local artist who does beautiful work, and Leah Duncan is a girl from Austin who makes gorgeous prints and textiles.
Friends and neighbours
I am really excited to be neighbours with Poppie. Tiffany Thomas, the owner, has great taste and style! It is a great opportunity to collaborate with another creative, young, small business owner. We hope that we can work together to serve our clients well by providing some fun events and promotions in the future!
The location is in a really great neighbourhood. There is real sense of community here. Though we do serve all of Winnipeg with city-wide delivery, we really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this community.
The floral magic
Most of my inspiration comes from the flowers themselves but there are definitely a few designers whose work I love. Even as teenager I was in love with how Martha Stewart valued flowers. Her designs have an appreciation for the natural beauty and grand diversity of one flower’s many varieties, colours, and shapes. Her March issue is always my favourite as it usually has a gorgeous garden and flower feature. Her floral designs often showcase just one type of flower allowing its unique characteristics to speak with out being drowned out by a bunch of other flowers.
I also really love designers, Erin Benzakein, of Floret Flower Farm on the U.S. west coast, and Ariella Chezar, is another lovely florist on the U.S. east coast. I’m really in love with the natural aesthetic of their designs.
Inspiration can really come from anything though! Sometimes it’s a certain vase or container or a place, like the forest in the Whiteshell (rocks, moss, branches, green!), or a summer field (grasses, seeds, wild roses, black eyed susans!), or my grandma’s garden in the spring (lilacs!).
Who is this Tatiana Penner?
I have always loved flowers, for as long as I can remember it has been my dream to have my own shop. After working in other flower shops and doing weddings and events from home for the past 15 years, I wasn’t satisfied at my “day job” in communications. Having a shop has allowed me to expand to include everyday and special-occasion floral services. I can work with event clientele as well as really be a part of the day-to-day life in a community.
Life is too short to not do what you love. When you do what you love, you are a happier person and have more to give to other people!
Oak & Lily
I wanted the name to be unique and really focus on the flowers rather than a person or location. I wanted the name to be inspiring and evoke a sense of something natural and fresh…fields of flowers and Prairie grasses, and forests of tall pine and birch trees with soft mossy paths …
Lilies are my grandma’s favourite flower and so “Lily” is to honour her. She is the one who first inspired my love for flowers. She is an avid gardener and has been featured in horticulture magazines and garden tours. As a kid I loved helping her in the garden, and I fell in love with flowers when we would pick them to make arrangements for the horticultural club shows.
“Oak” provided balance to the pretty feminine side of “Lily” and added a bit of masculine rustic-ness. Winnipeg is also full of oak trees.
My friends and I often poke fun at the saying “friendship is a sheltering tree.” We stumbled across the saying engraved in a ornamental rock when we were having pictures taken on my wedding day! We used to laugh at how cheesy it sounded. One birthday they gave me a necklace with an oak leaf charm on it, which we joked was from “the sheltering tree of friendship.” Now that we’re older, and in what seems to be a more demanding stage of life with careers and families, friendship has definitely taken on a new significance. I am really blessed to have such great friends in my life. Many of them have supported me in this dream since we were kids! On the opening weekend of the shop they gave me a painting of an oak leaf which now hangs in the shop.
Oak & Lily is located at 1724 Corydon Ave. Hours of operation are Monday – Friday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Call 204-421-6251 to place an order during business hours. Also, go to oakandlily.ca to see more of what Oak & Lily has to offer.