The Oak Leaf

American Made Since 2010
Garden Winner

Ernie Lopez

New York, New York
The Oak Leaf repurposes everyday objects to create unique plant and flower arrangements for the urban indoor and outdoor space.

Tell us about your business.

THE OAK LEAF (named for my love of the Oakleaf Hydrangea) blossomed out of the "seeds" planted by childhood gardening with my grandfather, my mother the florist, my former career in fashion, and more basically -- my absolute passion for flowers. Color, texture, design, plus family traditions were all inspirations for creating THE OAK LEAF. Strong colors paired with unusual plants and flowers come together to create distinctive works of art inspired by gardening. Every one of my arrangements are carefully hand-selected and usually have some unexpected twist. I love introducing commonly overlooked everyday objects such as jelly containers, an old crock, or refinished coffee and soda cans into my designs. "Found", "reclaimed" and "repurposed" are signature words that sum up my urban cool arrangements. The next evolution for THE OAK LEAF is to grow in two ways: e-commerce and pop-up storefront strategy. With these additional outlets, THE OAK LEAF will be able to reach a wider audience.

What makes your business stand out?

There are many unique qualities which THE OAK LEAF encompasses. One unique quality is that we personalize each design for our customers in the way our arrangements are presented. I truly love exploring flea markets and vintage shops looking for interesting and unique vessels in which to display designs. For example, creating a flower arrangement in a vintage 1950's glass jar with its specific shape and/or color, adds both meaning and character to the design. By finding these rare pieces, it helps set the tone and paint a detailed picture, building personal memories individually tailored to each customer. Flowers are a part of many important life events, which is why THE OAK LEAF takes such care in helping to create those memories -- and make them even more memorable. To invite a more personal experience, THE OAK LEAF is always available to meet one-on-one with clients and help them to achieve their vision.

What's the best business advice you've received?

I always hear people suggest “Choose a career you love.” I love working with flowers and plants. Being out in the garden makes me feel like a little kid again, just spending time with my grandfather. When designing arrangements, I will often think of my mother, a floral designer herself once and an integral source of my inspiration. Flowers bring me back to my fashion roots -- working with color, style and texture. Flowers make me pause and notice their beauty; they take me away from the fast and sometimes crazy world that is Manhattan. With treasured memories of my family and inspiration stemming from fashion, THE OAK LEAF is always blooming. By loving what you do, it makes the whole process fun and exciting. And in return, I am able to share my passion for flowers and my one-of-a-kind designs with clients of THE OAK LEAF.

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