Every year, millions of travelers head to New Orleans to discover creole cuisine, listen to vibrant local music, and experience Mardi Gras. However, an infectious creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit have been quietly brewing in New Orleans. Its startup activity is over 50% above the national average, and New Orleans is becoming widely known as the most inspiring city in the world.
POPNOD, Chelsea Thomas of Atchafalaya Trading Co., and Tiffany Mast of Together Traveler have recently launched the Good City Guide for New Orleans, the third city in the series. The guide helps local pioneers and traveling trailblazers discover the must-see innovators in New Orleans. Here are the top 11 picks of brands that represent the creative and entrepreneurial spirit in The Crescent City:
The first Defend New Orleans shirts were printed in 2003 to spread a positive voice both home and away. Their Magazine Street store opened in 2011 and it has become a showcase for their perspective on the city. Products embody the spirit of New Orleans with a portion of proceeds supporting local non-profits and community events. Store: 1101 First St., New Orleans, LA 70130
2. Flying Fox
Designer Tiffany Napper created Flying Fox with the intention of creating a line that blends a French sensibility with an American practicality. Effortless yet luxe, Flying Fox handbags are meant to accompany your life, day and night. Each bag is designed in New Orleans and entirely handcrafted with care by New York artisans with more than three decades of experience.
The GoodWood Trading Co. is a handmade goods and apparel brand with roots in New Orleans. All products are designed, sourced and handmade by local artists and craftsmen. Their goal is to showcase Southern Louisiana’s new-age artisans, and to shed light on the local maker culture.
Tchoup Industries’ bags and accessories are designed by Patti Dunn and handmade in New Orleans. Tchoup’s products are made from locally-sourced, natural and repurposed materials, with a mission to support Louisiana’s community, economy, and natural environment. Store: 1113B Saint Mary Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
5. Trashy Diva
Trashy Diva is a vintage-reproduction clothing line based in New Orleans that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Known worldwide for figure-flattering designs, quality construction and authentically vintage styles in sizes 0-24, the brand’s guiding principles are: the celebration of the female form in all its beautiful and varied iterations; making classic, enduring garments that will serve as the backbone of a chic, feminine wardrobe; and giving every customer a shopping experience that is both empowering and immensely enjoyable. Dress Stores: 537 Royal St., New Orleans , LA 70130, and 2048 Magazine Street, New Orleans , LA 70130
The Good Shop is a collaborative shop in New Orleans featuring four social good businesses: Good Cloth, Goods That Matter, Heartsleeve, and Kinfolk Collective. The Good Shop is a unique space that offers clothing, accessories, and gifts that are ethically sourced and that give back to the community. Store: 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70113
Audiowood is a New Orleans-based boutique manufacturer of high-design, handcrafted audio and AV equipment, and other home accessories. Their work combines modern styling, high performance parts and natural forms. They feature sustainably-made designs with parts and materials sourced almost exclusively from the US and Europe, and all of their packaging is recycled or biodegradable.
Girls Gone Vegan is a gluten free and vegan bakery dedicated to making delicious renditions of classic treats. As girls, they spent countless hours in the kitchen with their mother baking delicious desserts. But as they grew, their dietary needs changed, and they realized they were not the only ones searching for delicious gluten free and vegan baked goods. Inspired, they hit the kitchen to learn new, healthy ways to create their old favorites.
Lionheart Prints is a line of hand-lettered greetings and gifts made with love in New Orleans. The artist behind the brand, Liz Maute Cooke, started Lionheart Prints out of her home in 2013. It has grown in popularity, striking the balance of humor and heart with her hand-drawn slogans. They make things that are funny and empowering and sometimes a little bit of both. Their signature product is the Yeaux Leaux series– a Cajun spin on the millennial slogan YOLO, “You only live once.” Studio + shop: Opening on Oak St. in June 2016
New Orleans Boulder Lounge opened in August 2015 and is the first and only climbing gym in the city in over 10 years. An all bouldering gym, NOBL provides a climbing destination in New Orleans and a home for the local climbing community. While the local landscape contrasts typical climbing terrain, the cultural similarities between New Orleans and climbing make for an oddly beautiful pair. The tight knit community, unique and oft-misunderstood culture, and laid back vibe are identifying themes for both. Location: 1746 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130
Are you in the know in NOLA? Where would you add to this list?
Top image via Defend New Orleans