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In Focus | Taren Tomkinson & Brooke Cunningham

Meet Taren and Brooke. Taren was born and raised in Kelowna and Brooke has lived in Kelowna for three years. This team of momtrepreneurs are the queen of scrunchies; they own blackOAK, an accessory company that sells scrunchies!

Where are you from and how long have you lived in Kelowna?
Taren was born and raised in Kelowna, Brooke is from Prince George, but has lived in Kelowna for three years.

Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
We both consider our children our favourite people to spend time with because we're super cliché.

What is your favourite local store in Kelowna and why?
Olive & Elle, because they have such a beautiful selection of local decor and the staff are always so amazing.

Describe yourself in one word.
Driven.

If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
Any where with sunshine and a beach please!

What is your favourite activity in Kelowna?
Wine touring.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
Between the two of us there are too many to mention.

What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
We are continuously inspired by the overwhelming community support we have received during our first year in business.

Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
Taren: I have many favourite childhood memories, but the ones that stand out after all of these years is reading books with dad every night before bed.
Brooke: I also have lots of great childhood memories, but my time spent at the rink figure skating will always be my favourite.

Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
As individuals we have donated to multiple charities such as The Ronald McDonald House and The BC SPCA. As a company we are currently looking into charities we would like to contribute to.



If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Less garbage.

Where would you sneak away to in Kelowna to spend some time alone?
Sprout Bread Shop.

Where would you like to see positive change in Kelowna and why?
Affordable housing and more community support, because we all deserve to have a home we can afford and the support if we need it.

What do you think makes Kelowna great?
Community.

What are 3 things on your bucket list?
Sell one million scrunchies! Also we would like to go Bora Bora and design our clothing line.



Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
Our kids are born on the same day.

How do people connect with you, personally, through social media?
Instagram

What is the name of your business/organization?
blackOAK

Why did you get into/start this business?
Looking for a creative outlet in our spare time

What is the goal of your business?
To create stylish, and affordable accessories for women and children.



What has been your biggest struggle either at work or in life?
Procrastination.

If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different?
Do the same things because they led us here

What do you always find yourself saying?
It's going to be a long night...

Tell us your best piece of life advice.
Don't be afraid to try new things.

If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
Tina Fey. Mostly because she is hilarious but also relatable. She is an incredible multi-tasker with comedian, writer, and producer on her list of accomplishments, she is an amazing role model for every woman. As moms, full time employees, and now business owners we would love to opportunity to sit down and hear advice from someone so successful.

Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
Supporting local shops helps keep the local economy strong. Builds community, and helps keep products diverse.

What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Being moms.

Give someone you think that deserves it a shout out and explain why!
The Market Bags, Julia Mathers, because she has been one of the most supportive people throughout our startup journey.

My choice for the KelownaNow In Focus spotlight is:
Julia Mathers, The Market Bags

Some general comments I would like to share are:
We are so amazed at how supportive the local community has been during our first year in business. We started with the idea of just having fun and making something beautiful in our spare time. Within five months of our site going live we have been overwhelmed with love and orders, making our little hobby a thriving business. We never imagined we would be creating scrunchies full time but we are so thrilled that things have turned out the way they have!

We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us over these past few months, we are so excited to see what the future has in store for us!


We encourage you to leave your comments and words of support below and submit your own nomination by clicking HERE. You are also welcome to submit a form of your own by clicking HERE.

In Focus is our gift to the community. A way for us to help show our recognition of the people, businesses, and organizations that help make our city great. Thank you, Kelowna!



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