Since we’ve been doing these interviews for a little while now, it’s only natural that some things might change. We thought that you might be as interested as we are in knowing what’s going on with some of our past interviewees. First up, Dave and Brett over at Oxford Pennant. They have re-launched Victory Gardens over at their shop, and this time it’s bigger, better and greener than before. We popped in to check it out, and asked them some questions about the new setup. You can also check out their original interview here.
What’s new this time around?
Our original concept was pretty straightforward; a simple gift shop featuring some our favorite items. This time around, we wanted to create something that was totally unique to Buffalo. The concept celebrates the change of seasons in Western New York and the burst of color and life that makes our region so beautiful this time of year.
Why all the plants?
Retail design is often very safe; lots of wood, glass and white walls. We wanted to create something that was on the other side of the spectrum; bursting with life and depth. We’ve deliberately filled the store from floor to wall to ceiling with greenery. Some of our favorite products are hidden among the plants. We want the concept to surprise and delight our visitors. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Also, it smells fantastic.
What goes into product selection?
It’s more of an art than a science. We’ve been fortunate to work with hundreds of small businesses through Oxford Pennant. As you work with small shops and makers across the country and around the world, you learn about interesting products that are exclusive to their stores and brands. For example, our magnetic pineapple air plant holders are the most popular item in the store (so far). They’re made by a shop called Road Trip in Lake Arrowhead, California. They carry Oxford Pennant. We are two small makers on opposite sides of the country who found each another on Instagram and wouldn’t have connected if we didn’t sincerely appreciate one another’s products. In my opinion, that’s a special way to buy products for a store and support friends.
Dave’s Favorite item in the store:
We worked alongside the Historical Society to design a tote bag featuring Olmsted’s planting plans for the “Albright Art Gallery”. The product was, in essence, designed by Olmsted himself. That feels special, particularly within our current store concept.
Brett’s Favorite item in the store:
The Gold teeth. Next question.
Dave: Well, Oxford Pennant continues to grow and that company requires a lot of attention. The pop-up shops are a lot of work, but they’re a lot of fun to produce, too. If people keep coming, we’ll keep opening our doors.
Brett: For our concept stores I’m excited to create more interesting spaces, incubating new products, and inviting our friends + neighbors to participate. Oxford Pennant has been such a great outlet to test ideas and meet creative people – I’d like to continue building, and start new conversations.
Do you guys make custom pennants?
We make custom pennants and banners out of a factory on the East Side.
Tell us about the custom mural on Elmwood Avenue
Brett: Sharon from Red Siren wanted to show off her store’s personality, and create a unique background for people to take pictures with. Since they have an established icon (a mermaid) I created a postcard-like panorama with a seductive siren that calls out the famous Marv Levy quote “where else would you rather be than right here, right now?”
I enjoy how the quote can be interpreted as her asking ‘what could be better than: this store, this city, this day’ … etc.
Want to see more, here are more photos from our visit
Click to expand the images