By Brittany Wiley
BAPA Business Liaison
On July 11, Oak & Bloom celebrated the grand opening of their boutique at 9909 S. Walden Pkwy. Step inside their captivating space to find a meticulously curated collection of vintage home décor by Angelina Schmelling accompanied by stunning stems thoughtfully arranged for you in–house by floral designer Erin Cox.
You may be familiar with Erin Cox Designs, a local staple who focused on designing floral arrangements for homes and events as well as for outdoor and seasonal plantings. Her style is based on the “free flowing design of a stem and adding in texture and novelty flowers and accents.” This process allows her offerings to stand apart from other bouquets and designs.
With a background in luxury styling, it is no wonder Cox’s customers have said “her eye for styling and design [is] unmatchable.” She has worked for top productions houses and retail stores in Chicago and the North Shore, and was commissioned to design for top event planners in Chicago, LA and even as far as Hawaii.
Cox is now back in school for a Landscape Design certificate and planning on continuing her education in sustainability in agriculture. She is taking her first shot at growing her own flowers to cut and sell in the store. Her love for texture in nature shows in her floral works of art.
Angelina Schmelling began her journey toward this collaboration working for Rachel Ashwell. She managed Ashwell’s store, Shabby Chic, in Chicago then in interim manager positions in New York, San Francisco and Malibu.
Schmelling created lasting relationships with her clients and, once she moved on from Ashwell’s company, they reached out to her for their home décor needs. A design consultation business grew from there.
Schmelling began collecting vintage pieces for her projects and created Starling Vintage & Home Décor. For the past decade, she managed a successful e-commerce website along with local home and theatrical rentals while continuing interior design.
These two women are longtime friends who have always wanted to open a store together. Their admiration for each other’s style and work ethic made that an easy decision. But why open during a global pandemic? Both said COVID redesigned their business models.
Schmelling’s design business began to take on smaller projects, which she was able to tackle through Zoom. This freed up time for her to focus on the home décor portion of her business. And Cox saw some of her biggest sales in floral deliveries during COVID. She equates this to people having a “new look into humanity” and finding ways to “make other people smile” through the difficult times.
Once a storefront became available in their desired location, they jumped on the opportunity. “This Beverly Station shopping area is an established destination thanks to the existing businesses here and on 99th and Wood, and the neighbors are so welcoming, popping in almost every day during the build out,” Schmelling said. “This whole process has been a beautiful experience and we are grateful for the positive reception we have received.”
Stop into Oak & Bloom, open Tues. through Sun., and experience their sustainable, equitable and beautiful floral and home design. Take a sneak peek into their gorgeous style and space and follow their story on Facebook at Oak & Bloom and Instagram @oakandbloomchicago.