Shop Twenty Seven

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Twenty Seven Shop in Lakeland

Imagine for a moment, the perfect neighborhood shop. Design elements inspired by Wes Anderson mixed with a casual bohemian feel. At every turn you are met with colorful, positive messages that feel like a local homegrown and accessible ban.dō in your backyard. A cafe sits in the back where you can grab baked goods and teas. You can enjoy them outside in an intimate brick-lined alley, or you can cozy up in the upper mezzanine and look down at a dazzling array of original accessories. Not to mention, when you enter, you are greeted by full, warm eyes that make you feel like you belong there.

That’s how I would describe Jenna O’Brien’s new shop Twenty Seven in downtown Lakeland. Thanks to her artful eye, she’s created a space I think many will want to not just visit, but perhaps stay awhile, which makes it much more than a conventional paper goods shop. Jenna has plans to host live music, workshops and other events making it a space for the community.

Her brand Twenty Seven started just three years ago with a focus on hand-illustrated paper goods that now has allowed her to open up a brick and mortar space at 213 East Bay Street. The space is also home to Honeycomb Bread Bakers, who will run a beautiful counter in the back of this historic space.

The restored Studebaker building was once an automotive garage, a stained glass studio (search for the remnants of that when you visit), a wine bar and a BBQ joint. Now it houses two young local entrepreneurs who hope to add to the list of successful artisans rooting themselves in the hometown they love.

After getting a taste of Jenna’s art on Instagram and tracking down her mural in Lakeland, I wanted to visit the shop and start collecting prints to hang in my office. Her latest enneagram dot series went viral on Instagram, which led to her following exploding almost overnight. I was able to ask her some questions in-between shopping and taking photos of the beautiful shared space.

LT: How many other makers are currently selling goods in your shop right now?

Jenna: There are twelve local makers right now from St. Petersburg, Brandon, Lakeland and some from out of state. I do wholesale through Faire and I found some people that way, and I also posted a vendor application through Instagram. Right now I’m at capacity because it’s a lot to manage. I’ll be getting some more tables soon to get more space and add more vendors. I was selective of who applied because I wanted it to match the shop but also not overlap with other goods. I want everyone who is selling here to do well. I feel genuinely excited when their items sell, especially since I’ve become friends with some of them.

LT: What has been the biggest adjustment from gaining so much traction online while opening a retail location?

Jenna: My brain is the most full it’s ever been. I realized I have no backup at this point, so I need to train people because if something happened to me, everything right now is just in my brain. I’ve done the same thing for three years and now all the sudden all these great things are happening at once. I don’t process positive things really well, so I’m sure it will really hit me one day.

LT: As your platform online has dramatically grown, you continue to use it as a way to speak openly and candidly about mental health. How has that been received?

Jenna: Very positively for the most part. It’s just such an honor to have a platform that people listen to, but it’s also a little scary. The goal is to talk about mental health and it’s cool there are a lot of people listening now. People come in here and feel like they know me and they tell me about how they want to be a counselor or that they are having a hard time at the moment, and it’s such an honor to have people trust and share with me. I just want to be an encouragement because I still have hard days, but you can still do your dream and have mental health issues.

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LH: What was the biggest challenge you weren’t expecting that you had to deal with while trying to open the shop?

Jenna: To be honest, my whole life I’ve had a wonderful dad, relatives, grandparents, uncles, a wonderful husband, and I’ve never felt less than because I was a woman until I tried to open the shop. Physically being here and working through issues and comments from people was so unexpected because I didn’t understand why me opening this business would be “a thing”. It’s been the biggest surprise and frustration. I was trying to figure out how much to say or how much to let slide and not just come across as an angry person. Being married has been the greatest support system because I come home and we talk about it and he’s been so sweet and encouraging and loves seeing me do my dream. There are so many supportive guys, but it made me realize how blind I was that this happens to women all the time. I didn’t have one of those stories, but now I do.

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LT: When can we expect the Grand Opening?

Jenna: Once Honeycomb Bread Bakers is open which will hopefully be in September. He’s (Benjamin) putting the finishing touches on breakfast and lunch menu items that include toasts, locally brewed coffee, and an extensive tea menu. We hope people will get into the tea scene since it fits so well here.

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If you aren’t local, you can shop Jenna’s website, Twenty Seven Creative and follow her Instagram @twentysevenlkld for lots of positive thoughts and creative eye candy. Her mural in Lakeland can be found at 110 W Highland Street. You can also follow Honeycomb’s progress at @honeycombbread. To see a video of Jenna’s shop view below.

All photos are property of LemonHearted Creative.