Text by Annalise DeVries
Photography by John O’Hagan and Anna Davis
Susan Davis grew up with a love for old things, particularly items of the precious and dainty variety. A pair of costume earrings from the general store, ornate buttons from the sewing basket—such things represented special treasures. So when Susan set out to start her own craft business, she turned to the many buttons that her grandmother had collected for nearly a century. She began using them to make jewelry, aptly calling the venture Grandmother’s Buttons.
“She saved everything, buttons included,” Susan recalls of the family matriarch born in Louisiana in 1889. “Most people end up with a button box, not 30, but that’s just how frugal she was.” What started in 1985 as a one-woman operation—with Susan gluing earring backs onto buttons and selling them at craft shows—has turned into a thriving costume jewelry business with storefronts in St. Francisville, Louisiana, and New Orleans.
As the company continues to grow, family remains at its heart. At the original shop in St. Francisville, a 1905 bank houses display cases of jewelry and other unique items on the ground floor, while upstairs, employees create the sparkling wares. Most of the jewelry makers have worked with Susan for at least a decade. “We’ve raised our children together,” she reflects. “It’s a small-town thing.”
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