In a city where style is a matter of following popular trends and taking few risks, shopping can be a bit, well, boring. Dallas is a city mostly over run by large chain and department stores and the end result is a city of people who all look very similar. Thankfully, the situation is not as dire as it seems. The great thing about shopping in Dallas is that if you look hard enough you can find hidden gems that cater to people who are looking for unique and special pieces to define their own personal styles.
One of these shiny gems is Urban Flower Grange Hall. Over seven years ago, Rajan Patel and Jeffrey Lee, both of whom studied fashion, have done freelance design work and worked in visual merchandise, opened the doors to this store that specializes in bizarre and unusual home décor, floral, gifts, and jewelry. CBSDFW recently sat down with Patel, Lee, and Morgan Thaxton, the store manager, to discuss what makes Urban Flower Grange Hall the place Dallasites go back to again and again for all things unique and beautiful.
CBSDFW: What is the concept behind Grange Hall?
A: When conceptualizing Grange Hall over 7 years ago, the goal was to create a special haven that could fill the void we felt existed in the world of floral and home-décor. We consider the shop to be an oversized curio cabinet of sorts with a mad sense of whimsy; a laboratory of new and fresh ideas for the home. We have since expanded the vision to include not only floral and home accessories, but a highly curated selection of bizarre gifts and unusual, over the top jewelry from around the world.
CBSDFW: What was the initial reaction to the store when it first opened?
A: Leary… but very curious.
CBSDFW: Where do you find most of the pieces for the store? What specifically do you look for on buying trips?
A: Morgan – As far as the jewelry is concerned, we carry artists from across the globe. I tend to look for young artists who are just getting their start or artists that have had little exposure in the states, but always unusual lines with a distinct voice that are off the beaten path.
Jeffrey – I always add pieces to our collection that have a history or story behind them. It is very rare that we add a collection to the store that has been solicited. The stores aesthetic and inner workings are very specific and highly curated.
CBSDFW: How have you seen the response or interest in the store change since you first opened?
A: Over the years we’ve found that people have really embraced our point of view as well as the overall vision of Grange Hall. It was slow and gradual, but Dallasites have definitely warmed up to us.
CBSDFW: I think it’s fair to say you have a loyal client following in Dallas – why do you offer to these clients that keeps them coming back?
A: We think what keeps our clients coming back for more is the way in which we are able to constantly reinvent ourselves while still staying true to our underlying aesthetic. This way we keep things fresh and new yet always Grange Hall.
CBSDFW: What are your favorite pieces in the store currently?
A: Morgan – My current obsession would be the incredible lace cuffs from Aurelie Bidermann. She hand dips actual bits of lace to create these stunning pieces.
Rajan – Feathered Skulls by Parisian artist, Laurence le Constant. I love that she took an object that is normally looked up as macabre and turned it into something soft and feminine.
CBSDFW: If you had to describe Urban Flower Grange Hall in one sentence, what would you say?
A: Tim Burton goes to Versailles.
CBSDFW: What do you see for the future of the store?
A: Well, one can always hope for Grange Hall global domination in the next 5 to 10 years….
Elizabeth O’Mahony is a fashion consultant, writer, and style blogger, and mom who sees fashion as an opportunity to engage in a personal creative process. It is fun, experimental, and empowering. Her site www.bonvivantconsulting, is dedicated to inspiring others through her own personal style. Her site http://insidetheoven.tumblr.com/ explores motherhood. You can find her on twitter @elizbonvivant.