When It’s Right, There’s No Fight.
Tooth & Nail Trading Co. opened by local marketplace-based jewelry makers.
For co-owners. Krista DeJoseph and Holly Williams, treasures is the name of the game.
The partners recently opened Tooth & Nail Trading Company on Magazine Street and their store is filled with the kind of treasures that used to required hours online scouring Etsy, or constant visits to local outdoor markets in order to acquire.
The two ladies got their start making jewelry. For DeJoseph, tough metals were her material of choice, while Williams preferred natural found objects, and certain animal-based materials like porcupine quills. The two came up with the quirky tongue-in-cheek name for their store with these preferences in mind. Tooth, (a natural material) and Nail, (a hard mental.)
For those who love a vintage-inspired, handcrafted item, Walking into Tooth & Nail is absolute heaven. For the co-owners, the opening of the store was quite literally a pipe dream turned miraculous reality over night.
“We had always casually talked about how one day it would be so nice to open a store,” says DeJoseph. “Then I was just walking down the street and saw a ‘for rent’ sign and we signed the lease two days later.”
The 450-square-foot store, which opened at the end of June this year, contains dozens of original pieces of jewelry constructed by DeJoseph and Williams. It also carries a variety of other unique items made by favorite artists of the women – some local and some not so local and hard to find. Unique hand printed cards and stationary, handmade leather-bound journals, leather clothing items, chic tights made in Israel, an assortment of unique flavored jams and jellies, and even an original Bloody Mary mix are available for purchase. Even the lighting fixtures, checkout counter and display cases are handmade, and many of the items of furniture used to display products are for sale as well!
“Every single piece in here has a story,” says DeJoseph. “Nothing is bought from a store like Ikea.”
DeJoseph and Williams have strived to keep the store unique and original, which requires a bit of extra work and presents them with regular challenges.
“We want to support local artists, because we love local artists, but we also wanted to bring in some items that you couldn’t find elsewhere in New Orleans,” says DeJoseph, “I think because New Orleans is such a small city, you do tend to see the same artists’ pieces again and again in stores and we wanted to make sure we weren’t carrying the same thing that’s carried in many other shops.”
The co-owners still pay homage to the place where they got their start by selling their jewelry at outdoor markets around town, but that’s not the only way they spread the love outside of their shop.
They also teach different series of workshops for any locals who are interested in making their own adornments. They recently completed a four-week metalsmithing workshop, where participants created pendants and earrings that DeJoseph herself admitted she’d buy. They’re hoping to launch another series of classes before the holidays so jewelry lovers and creative types alike can make gifts for loved ones. The co-owners also hold period trunk shows for other local artists and are hopeful that reaching the community this way will provide them with even more business and exposure.
“The great thing about handmade is that you can’t make something by hand without putting your touch on it. I think it makes it so much more special,” DeJoseph says. “You can buy something that someone put so much time into and have it for the rest of your life. And every time you wear it you can think about, ‘oh, I got that this one time on vacation,’ and it means something. The value is so much more.”
While Tooth & Nail Trading Co. continues to work hard and enjoy their reception in the neighborhood, DeJoseph explains that the fast transition to becoming purveyors and storeowners has kept them on their toes.
“Deciding what we want to put in the store and if it’s a good thing to invest in or not has been a big challenge,” she says. “We’re learning as we go and because we opened so quickly, we didn’t come in with a business plan that we had spent months hammering out ahead of time. But I think we’ve been fortunate that so far things have been going really well.”
Check out Tooth & Nail Trading Co. 3952 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70115. Open Wednesday-Friday 12-6pm, Saturday 11am-6pm, Sunday 11am-5pm
And visit their website to learn more about upcoming workshops and classes.