Give in to the Glitter
A bit of glitter takes absolutely anything from boring to brilliant in one shiny second. In New Orleans, this ubiquitous accoutrement is completely synonymous with our oh-so-many celebrations, parties and parades. Now, three vibrant women have created a store that proves what all New Orleanians know — all that glitters is absolutely glorious.
NOLA Craft Culture is a craft store, school and community workspace. The owners of this new New Orleans jewel of commerce are Lisette Constantin, Nori Pritchard and Virginia Saussy. The 4,200-square-foot space, which employs 10 part-time staffers, has been open for almost a month and has seen a steady stream of craft enthusiasts, armed with glue guns, coming through its doors.
“For us the idea of the store started with a love of glitter,” says Saussy. “We live in a city that enjoys a year-round celebration of unique cultural arts. It’s always brilliantly bedazzled. Why should New Orleans folk artists be purchasing their supplies outside of the city limits or from national chains?”
Freelance writer Sarah Ravits, is exactly the kind of customer the store wants to serve.
“It's just a given that when I dress up for Mardi Gras or a dance performance or any other festive event, or even a wedding if it fits the vibe (and it usually does here!) there will be glitter involved,” she says. “It's in the same way that I just automatically douse all of my food in hot sauce. It makes everything better and I have no idea why anyone would ever say, 'No, that's not for me.' Like, do you want your food to be bland? Do you want to look boring? Why the hell wouldn't you want to sparkle?”
NOLA Craft Culture carries its own branded glitter and offers three colors of biodegradable glitter and two biodegradable confetti. The company also carries feathers and bling. So much more than a retail space, the business offers a large space for people to gather together to glitter purses, shoes or whatever their hearts desire.
Saussy and Constantin regularly volunteer in the Folk Village at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival craft tent doing glitter shoe demonstrations. (They’re both members of the Krewe of Muses, whose treasured throw is a bedazzled shoe). While there, they learned skills from other craftspeople in the tent.
The store’s website recounts the genesis of the store: “At the end of one glittering afternoon Lisette proclaimed, ‘I wish I could do this all day! I wish I owned a craft store with a big community work table where you shared ideas and techniques.’”
Coincidentally, Saussy had written up a business outline for that exact idea a few years earlier. So, the two combined their ideas and added the experience of Pritchard, who writes the popular blog, “Confessions of a Glitter Addict” and five years later, NOLA Craft Culture became a shiny, sparkly reality.
“We want people to shop and then bring their supplies downstairs,” says Saussy. “All of our customers are welcome to hang out in our workspace and learn from each other.” Lockers are available to secure supplies or unfinished work.
Additionally, the company offers classes, many led by New Orleans artisans and craftspeople, where one can learn glittering skills, beading with a Mardi Gras Indian, or second line umbrella design. Saussy says look for sewing classes in the very near future.
The company also offers space for parties and corporate team building. There’s also shopping at their indoor art mart, which carries local cultural crafts.
“NOLA Craft Culture brings us all together in one glittery place and it brings us joy,” says Liz Broekman, assistant vice president with Fidelity Bank and director of the bank’s P.O.W.E.R. (Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Realized) program, which helped secure a loan for the business. “I fully support these powerful women and their love of our city and what we do. I applaud them for having the determination to take all the steps that would bring it to life. It is a gift to the people of our city and all who visit it. And like they say, ‘It's not a hobby. It's a way of life.’"
The main things this trio of women wants is to make sure that their customers have plenty of fun, feel free to create fabulous creations and never have to worry about sweeping up glitter.
“We are totally into sparkle,” says Saussy. “We’ll clean up after you because glitter doesn’t scare us at all.”
NOLA Craft Culture
127 S. Solomon