The resident shop dog at Tooth & Nail Co. (3952 Magazine St., 504-373-8180; www.toothandnailtrading.com) is a mutt, but owner Holly Williams prefers to call her a "Mississippi black dog." Dottie accompanies Williams to Tooth & Nail almost every day.
"She was a rescue," Williams says. "I've had her for five years. She was a year and a half [old] when I got her. ... Some days I do the Frenchmen Art Market straight after here, so I won't bring her if it's too hot. During the summer, it's a long work day for a dog with a fur coat."
At home, Dottie shares the attention with Ringo and Rosie, two baby goats. "Dottie thinks she's their mom," Williams says. "She's just taken to them. I'll tell her, 'Dottie, where are your babies?' and she'll ... push on the door to their pen. She just runs around and licks them and plays with them all day."
Williams describes Tooth & Nail's aesthetic as earthy meets industrial. The shop carries a mix of works by local and national artists. All items are handmade, down to the store's furniture. Williams and co-owner Krista DeJoseph keep the focus on jewelry, but there is a wide variety of merchandise including hand-printed kitchen towels from Betsy Olmsted, pewter housewares from Beehive, bloody mary seasoning from Whodini Sisters and greeting cards from New Orleans' Lionheart Prints.
"A lot of stores carry the same things, so we want a fresh assortment of things that people haven't seen," Williams says.
Williams says opening a brick-and-mortar store was never a goal for her, but DeJoseph helped change her mind. The women were making the local art market circuit with their jewelry businesses — Williams owns Small Change Finery and DeJoseph owns Queens Metal — when DeJoseph approached Williams about opening a shop.
"Krista said, 'I found this space. What do you think about opening a store?'" Williams says. "I was like 'Nah.' She said, 'Well, do you want to be traveling market to market pulling bins and loading in and loading out the rest of your life?'"
Williams realized it made financial sense to open a shop. But Williams isn't planning on quitting the markets anytime soon.
"I don't think I'll ever not do markets," she says.
Shortly after she and DeJoseph opened the store, Williams bought a converted barn on 3 acres of land in Ponchatoula. "It's awesome," she says. "It's just what I needed in my downtime."
Williams has a home studio and is acquiring a second set of tools to create a full-fledged studio in the shop as well. "The nice thing about that is when I'm here, I'm forced to work," she says. "Making jewelry at your own pace can be hard, especially at home when you've got cute, fuzzy animals running around."
Williams finds the daily commute from her barn cathartic.
"It's beautiful, watching the sunset over the Causeway," she says.
Dottie seems to enjoy the ride, too.
"She sees me leaving and she's like 'Going to work?'" Williams says. "She loves the car ride. She knows when we're getting close. We get off the highway and go down the slower streets, and she'll start looking out the window and start going 'Oh, we're almost there!'"
My Favorite Things
• Playing with my "kids"
• Driving across Lake Pontchartrain
• Greeting customers at the shop
• My bandanna
• Modeling for Tooth & Nail Co.'s Facebook page