Threadz Nola Binds Three Generations of Black Women Designers

Threadz NOLA is a thriving Black woman-owned upholstery and furniture design firm. Owner Andreina Salazar Snyder has even worked with Oprah.

by Jyl Benson
August 12, 2022

Armed with Instagram and a ton of moxie, in a matter of months Andreina Salazar Snyder, 33, grew a three-generation cottage business into Threadz NOLA and EE-LOH Designs, a thriving Black woman-owned upholstery and furniture design firm with a nationwide clientele of commercial and residential customers.

The beginning of business

The business, then unnamed, started with her grandmother, Gladys Vaughn, 89, who worked independently as a seamstress New Orleans in the 1960s.

“She inspired my mother to go beyond her own success,” Snyder said. “After attending USL, my mother, Jacqueline Salazar, started Jackie Designs in 1998. Through time it evolved to offer upholstery, custom furniture, window treatments, slipcovers, and leather and wood repair and restoration. Growing up I lived in my mother’s workroom. I loved the creativity, the passion, and the independence she had as a business owner. I aspired to be just like her, and she inspired me to reach for every dream. But being a business owner is not for the faint of heart. There are highs and there are lows. Knowing this deterred me for a while.”

Adult fears had squashed her childhood ambitions.

After studying at ULL, by 2016 Snyder had fulfilled her goal of becoming the general manager of The Carriage House Hotel, a four-diamond boutique hotel in Lafayette’s River Ranch neighborhood.

“I felt accomplished but unfulfilled. I was miserable. I did not know what I wanted to do but I knew I did not want to do what I was doing, at least not where I was doing it,” she said.

She moved home to Old Gretna in 2017, went to work for Loews Hotel in downtown New Orleans and found herself miserable once again. She started working with her mother in her studio during her off hours from the hotel.

“I started to feel alive again,” she said.

By early 2018 her mother, now 65, was ready to retire and offered ownership of her business to her daughter.

“I was ecstatic, but I knew it would be an uphill battle. I was a first-time business owner inheriting a business in a dying trade.”

From Instagram to Oprah’s home

She renamed the business Threadz NOLA, invested everything she had into it and started documenting her work on Instagram with colorful and conversational posts, often directing followers to her home décor and DYI how-to blog. She started seeing results within a couple of months.

“If I posted something about, say, leather repair or restoration, I would get five or six calls about it. If I posted before and after pictures of a reupholstered sofa the phone would ring.”

Things were humming quietly along when the COVID-19 pandemic shut business down to the public in March 2020. Wanting to keep herself, her seamstress, and upholsterer employed, she moved the operation from her 1,400 square foot shop on Stumpf Boulevard to her Old Gretna home where the trio started churning out masks and selling them on Etsy.

Meanwhile, a population of homebound New Orleanians started hyper-focusing on their shabby sofas, scuffed and torn leather settees, grimy drapes, and deflated throw pillows. Bored and frustrated, they surfed Instagram, found the upholsterer and leather restorationist with movie star good looks, a megawatt smile, and impeccable design skills and determined she alone could help. With little competition and increasing visibility in her “dying” trade Snyder’s phone lit up as people pleaded for her intercession into the homes in which they were trapped but could no longer tolerate.

Pregnant with her daughter Liliana, who will turn two in October, Snyder was suddenly inundated with business. Her mother returned to work part-time to help, and her husband, Tyren Snyder, started pitching in with pickups, delivery, and small repairs. Through her collaboration with the Gretna furniture design group Doorman Designs she was soon working on furniture for Oprah Winfrey.

“She chose the most basic dusty blue linen fabric you ever did see for her Maui beach house,” Snyder said. “Not at all what I expected.”

Soon Snyder convinced her husband to leave his uninspiring job as the project manager for an engineering film to join her in growing the family business.

“Today, he is our carpenter and project manager,” Snyder said. “I knew I could grow this if he joined me and it would allow him to expand the carpentry skills he learned from his grandfather. My mother is our store manager and the second set of eyes on every design. We have grown from one seamstress, and one upholsterer to now employing three master seamstresses and three master upholsterers. We recently moved to a 4,400-sqare-foot warehouse and office in Old Gretna. Our designs are influenced by the cultures around us and inspired by classic craftsmanship.”

The upside of upholstery 

Commercial clients have called on Threadz NOLA to design, build, and upholster everything from custom sofas, booths, and wall panels for large restaurant groups, to yoni steam boxes for spas. A new workroom includes a fabric studio with hundreds of samples in a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns — many of them imbued with performance technology that resists stains and wear — where clients can engage in the design process or purchase fabrics directly for DYI projects. 

Snyder’s background in hotel management inspired her to a specialty in designing short term rental spaces to be peaceful and tranqui,l but outfitted with fabrics that will withstand time and heavy use. An online boutique accessed through the Threadz NOLA website offers upcycled décor in keeping with Snyder’s mission to run an ecologically minded business that repurposes home goods through reupholstering or restoring instead of tossing them and replacing them.

“I grab things from the side of the road all the time and breathe new life into them,” she said. “If a piece has good bones and stable construction it can be saved from a landfill.”

Threadz NOLA will begin offering upholstery and restoration workshops in the Fall.

“We create something beautiful every day. People are grateful. They are excited to get their custom piece or to see a piece of their history restored. When I was working in hospitality, I just wanted the freedom to run my own life. I am a completely different person than I was when I was working for other people. I prayed for this. It turns out it was right there in front of me the entire time.”

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Maker Nation Show
Threadz Nola
Getting there
1519 Franklin St, Gretna, LA 70053, USA
Hours
Mon Closed
Tue-Fri 10:30am–6:30pm
Sat 11am–3pm
Sun Closed
More Info

All photos courtesy Andreina Salazar Snyder

Jyl Benson began her editorial career in 1990 with The Times Picayune in New Orleans and served as a regional reporter covering the southeastern United States for both The New York Times and Time magazine. She wrote Galatoire's Cookbook: Recipes & Family History from the Time-Honored New Orleans Restaurant (Random House 2005) as well as several cultural, historical, and architectural guides to New Orleans. She served as Editor-In-Chief of Louisiana Cookin’ magazine from 2009 to 2011 and founded Louisiana Kitchen & Culture magazine in 2012. Her most recent cookbook Louisiana's Tables (Great Texas Line, 2017) explores the state's culinary culture...

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