Grandmother's Buttons

American Made Since 1985

Susan Davis

St. Francisville, Louisiana
Beautiful buttons that graced gowns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries set into jewelry that is both memorable and classic.

Tell us about your business.

In 1985 Ronald Reagan was president, Windows 1.0 was introduced and the first cell phone call was made in Great Britain. My husband and I had just built our house on my family’s farm and I had the crazy idea of turning my grandmother’s many boxes of buttons into jewelry. Fast forward through these almost 30 years, and you’ll find a company that has amazingly kept its focus on those evocative little artifacts of the past: antique and vintage buttons. We still transform thousands of buttons from the late 19th to early 20th centuries into jewelry every year, and find our customers as entranced as ever with their intricacy and subtle glamour. Our designs are currently sold on our website and in some 900 stores and boutiques worldwide. We still live on our Louisiana farm among my family, which sadly grew smaller this year when my mother, long a muse for our creations, passed away at age 94. We know she would have loved this year’s creations, and we hope you will too.

What makes your business stand out?

We have survived and even thrived for almost three decades by doing something we love: seeking out collections of antique buttons and turning the most beautiful into jewelry to be treasured by new generations. The nature of our business (repurposing an antique element) has kept us naturally small, which means we've been able to stay in our small, historic, rural community and add to its economy. We were American made before it was cool!

What's the best business advice you've received?

"Honor the button," from Chicago marketing guru Greg Bunch, who urged us to keep our focus on what drew our most ardent fans to us in the first place.

Mark Your Calendar

  • Nominations
    June 3–Aug. 29, 2014

    Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.

  • Judging
    June 23–Sept. 8, 2014

    Judges will select finalists throughout this period.

  • Online Voting
    Sept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014

    Vote for your favorite American makers.

  • Winners Announced
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

  • American Made Event
    Nov. 7–8, 2014

    Join us for our annual event in New York City.

More Nominees

  • The Potpourri Room

    Kimberly Marshall
    We specialize in handcrafted natural potpourri and home fragrance. All of our products are made in small batches in the beautiful Hudson Valley.
    Crafts, Nature Crafts
  • The Local Branch

    Mackenzie Edgerton
    The Local Branch is an artisan screenprinting and handcrafted leather goods brand. We are small batch makers, on the road in an Airstream studio.
    Style, Fashion
  • Brackish Brand

    Jeff Plotner
    Handcrafted in Charleston, SC, Brackish makes bow ties and other accessories using natural, sustainably sourced feathers.
    Style, Accessories
  • Crafts by Freddie

    Freddie Toledo Jr
    I can assure that everything is one of a kind. I think all my customers would agree you can see the love and care I put into each piece.
    Crafts, Paper Crafts