Oxford Exchange has been my favorite spot in Tampa since I found out about it a few years ago. The main reason why I went in the first place was to try their restaurant because I had seen the most amazing avocado toast, back before it became a phenomenon. Flash forward a couple of years, and OE has been my go-to for coffee, shopping, and food almost every time I go to Tampa, which is becoming a more frequent thing. On Wednesday night, they invited a bunch of influencers to an event showcasing everything they had to offer.
The set-up of the event was so cool. Each brand essentially had a station with some sort of activity, which was a brilliant way to interact with the brand reps/managers/owners. The big brands you might already be familiar with are Warby Parker and Aesop; I’ve been eyeing Warby Parker for a few years now (pun intended), but every time I’ve been to a brick and mortar store, I didn’t have an up to date prescription. I learned at the event on Wednesday night that they can actually update prescriptions for you as long as you bring in an old pair of glasses! The glasses at Warby Parker are chic and don’t break the bank; the only fee added on to the glasses are for high-index lenses, which are recommended for strong prescriptions like mine. The fee is $30 which is an incredible steal considering the amount of money I have to pay for new glasses with my prescription at my optometrist’s office. The station at Warby Parker was to choose an illustration done by their in-house illustrator and have it made into a button.
Across from Warby Parker is Oxford Exchange’s bookstore. While I often buy my books for the Kindle app on my iPad, I do love stopping in to see new releases and the aesthetically pleasing classics. You know, the ones with updated covers that come in every color of the rainbow. There were four incredible book offerings from publishers that sent over the books ahead of time to create some buzz in the reading world: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton, Florida: Stories by Lauren Groff, The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai, and A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza. I chose to pick up A Place for Us to read because the main character’s backstory sounds really interesting. The coolest thing about the book is that it’s published under Sarah Jessica Parker’s imprint, SJP for Hogarth, giving authors a chance to share their story who do not have the circumstances to do so otherwise.
After chatting it up at the first two ‘stations’ at Oxford Exchange, I headed straight for the food. There was an incredible charcuterie board on one side of the main room and macarons on the other. Within that same space was TeBella Tea Co. and Buddy Brew Coffee. I am actually a huge fan of Buddy Brew and have been to their multiple Tampa locations as well as their Sarasota location! I picked up the best affogato I’ve ever had (it had a horchata-style twist to it) and got to grab some coffee beans as well. Pour overs for days! I, unfortunately, didn’t have enough time to stop by TeBella (mostly because I spent too much time eating), but they had a really cool create your own tea station.
Towards the middle of the event, I got distracted by the room in the OE Restaurant with the greenhouse-style roof. You know what room I’m talking about- the room of everyone’s dreams. The room had dining tables decorated by the Oxford Design Studio and Botanica Int’l Design Studio. OE’s goal was to show everyone that not only do they host weddings/receptions, they can also do parties, and do them well! I’m already looking for an excuse to throw an over-the-top party there. The table setting reminded me a bit of Alice in Wonderland, since there were so many different prints and colors, but they all came together for a stunning visual.
Once my stomach was full, I headed to the gift shop. It lives up to its name and purpose- you can find a gift for anyone in that shop. I picked up a stationery set as my gift from the shop, but there are also some candles that smell absolutely amazing. One of my favorite stationery brands, Rifle Paper Co, is sold there. You’ll find children’s gifts, books, and more at Oxford Exchange’s gift shop. I also found out that they’re rolling out an affiliate-style partnership with local influencers, which is major for them!
And last but not least, I stopped by the newest brand to join Oxford Exchange, beauty brand Aesop. There was a hand exfoliation/moisturizing demo featuring their In Two Minds line: the In Two Minds Facial Toner, In Two Minds Hydrator, and In Two Minds Cleanser. Aesop’s formulations are of the highest quality, so I’m really excited to try the products on my face! They also had a cool art installation just for the event.
If you couldn’t tell by my pictures, the Oxford Exchange Tastemakers & Influencers event was beautiful, amazing, and incredible. I loved that there was something to do with each brand rather than awkwardly standing in front of their reps. I learned a lot more about OE and have a newfound appreciation of the place. I had forgotten how much I love going there! I am beyond grateful to have been invited, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for Oxford Exchange.