This is the second in our Customer Spotlight series. We’d like to thank Trish Tacoma, founder of Smoking Lily for taking the time to speak with us about her company.
Tell me a little about Smoking Lily. What was the inspiration for starting it?
I started Smoking Lily about 20 years ago. I started off silk screening scarves in a spare room in my house and doing craft fairs. Within 4 months, I thought I had something good and opened our first store. Today, we have a 5,000 sq ft studio in downtown Victoria where we design and produce our line.
Every aspect of the business is done in-house, from design, to sewing, to printing.
So you’ve been in the same location for 20 years?
We’ve been in the studio for about 18 years. It was originally 1400 sq ft, but as our neighbors moved out, we’d take over the next space. We have 3 retail stores now. We have two Smoking Lily’s and one The Milkman’s Daughter, which opened about 5 years ago. The first Smoking Lily we opened on Johnson street in Victoria is the smallest store in the world. It’s only 44 sq ft.
Is it literally the smallest store in the world?
My justification on it is that CNN did a spot on the smallest store in the world, which is in New York and is 50 sq ft. Mine is 44 sq ft.
What’s the origin of the name “Smoking Lily”?
One day I’ll have to come up with a real story behind it, but it was just us goofing around with cigarettes and flowers. We thought it would be a cool name for a business, and actually came up with the name before we started the business.
What did you do prior to starting Smoking Lily?
I worked primarily in retail, from window displays, being in management, to being a buyer. I’ve done all of that. So moving into running a retail setting was easy for me.
What’s your favorite thing that you do at Smoking Lily? Is it the design, the business aspects?
It’s still being in the production room and creating, the hands on. We screen print our fabrics in house, so I’m still very involved in the day to day operations.
What did you use RopeShop’s rope for?
What new products does Smoking Lily have coming up soon?
Our new new fall line has just come out with garments inspired by Nancy Drew and Audrey Hepburn.
What brought about your recent addition of a homewares line?
A lot of the homewares are made from our off cut fabrics, all these beautiful scraps. The line grew from that. The latest product we’ve brought out are quilt kits, where a lot of the fabric is from our scraps as well.
Are your products available in any other stores?
Yes, we do sell to other stores. In Ottawa, Regina, a lot in B.C, as well as Seattle.