Smoking Lily is both a lovely clothing store and a beautiful clothing brand, owned by the wonderful Trish Tacoma. All of their creations are designed, sewn, and silk-screened here in Victoria. Their goal is to be a zero fabric waste company, making use of every piece of fabric they bring in. For example, their kids’ line and many of their accessories are made entirely out of leftover bits from their other projects.
They want to create clothing that is comfortable, earth-friendly, and affordable! They use natural fabrics like bamboo and eucalyptus, as well as vintage fabrics found throughout their travels. The inks in their print room are all non-toxic and are good stewards to the Earth. You will wear the Smoking Lily collection every day!
What is your background?
“I grew up on a farm with a mother who loved to sew, tailor, macrame, spin wool, knit, crochet, embroider and anything craft fiber related. It was a great house to grow up in. I’ve always had a sewing/craft area in my home to tinker in after work and on the weekends.
I’ve worked in every aspect of retail, from the sales floor to window displays to management to buyer.”
What made you want to open your business?
“I always enjoyed working for other people but when I started screen printing at home all my years of making I had a product that other people would want. I started just selling on the weekends at craft markets and slowly it just took over my life.”
For someone who hasn’t been to Smoking Lily before, what is your business? What makes it special?
“Smoking Lily is a thoughtfully made clothing brand that strives to make people happy and be kind to the environment. All production is done in-house, we design, cut, sew print fabric, and ship worldwide from our studio in downtown Victoria, which is just a short walk from our retail shop in Chinatown. Our clothing has a sense of humour, fits well so you look great, and yet totally stands apart. Periodic Table on a dress, house flies on a scarf and Octopus on a skirt.
Smoking Lily is locally made clothing, with attitude and made with love.”
What inspires you?
“We find our inspiration from where we live and play. You will find lots of references to the ocean that surrounds us in our designs.”
“We opened up in downtown Victoria because it is a great vibrant area to do business with like-minded people and it is such a beautiful downtown. In normal times we have lots of tourists but what is so unique about Victoria, locals really support the downtown.”
What advice would you give to others who want to start a business? What would you like to have known before you opened yours?
“Do not be afraid to change your mind. Be open to new ideas. Be kind.”
How to find Smoking Lily:
Smoking Lily is located at 1713 Government Street, in the space that was formerly The Milkman’s Daughter. They can be reached by phone at 250-590-5451 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find them on their website, on Facebook, and on Instagram too!