10 questions with Tay James Decor & Gifts owner Jana Wilkinson

When it comes to antique-inspired jewelry and local artwork, no one is more passionate than Tay James Decor & Gifts owner Jana Wilkinson. Although she only opened her store a little over two years ago, Wilkinson is no stranger to the world of retail. We sat down with Wilkinson to learn about next season’s trends in home decor and what Tay James has to offer.

1. What is a typical day like for you and your team? Before we open, we mostly focus on ordering merchandise, following up on special requests and home design work. However, when the doors open, we are all about our customers. Our priority is understanding our customers’ needs and helping them select the best choices.

photo-72. What is your professional background? How did you get into the retail field? I’ve been in the retail field my entire adult career. I started as an apparel buyer and then became a district and regional manager for large retailers for many years. Three years ago I decided to fulfill my dream of owning my on home decor business.

3. What are the first things customers see when they walk through the doors? Typically, when our customers first walk in the doors, they often comment that they love the way our store smells or on the beautiful jewelry. The store has an interesting atmosphere of antique furniture, mixed with contemporary displays of wonderful, local artists’ works, home accessories and great jewelry and candles.

photo-54. What sets your store apart?  I truly love what I do. I want to help our customers feel inspired to freshen up a room in their home. And I love helping them choose a special gift for someone!

5. What is one thing you think customers should know about your store that they may not be aware of? Customers may not know that I love the home design aspect of my business. It’s rewarding to help clients make their living areas something they love coming home to. I like to help my clients pick out their favorite pieces and add freshness for a new look. I also enjoy painting furniture and using a few painted pieces throughout my home designs.

photo-66. How do you keep your store’s inventory fresh and up to date? I consistently look for new sources, and most importantly, I ask and listen to what our customers want and need. I attend several different markets, but I love when I find artists within Louisiana that I can add to my merchandise selections.

7. Can you share a hint about what shoppers will see in your store next season? Shoppers will see more texture and more color, even though whites will always be important. Customers will also see chalky whites and bone white with natural and organic influences in home accessories. And I am excited to announce a Tay James custom furniture line that will arrive in March and new jewelry lines.

photo-48. What was your reason for opening the store? When did it open, and how has it grown or changed since then? Besides having a passion for beautiful rooms and accessories, I love meeting people! I always say I have the best customers. I feel very fortunate to meet and get to know so many wonderful individuals through my business. Tay James opened in 2014, and in July of 2016 we moved the store to its current location on Highland Road. My business has continued to grow, and this past December was our most successful Christmas season yet. I very much appreciate those loyal customers who consistently shop with me and the new customers who give us an opportunity to assist them.

9. What are a few must-have items this season? I personally believe there is no list when it comes to must-haves! You should purchase whatever makes you happy, comfortable and inspired. It could just be new pillows, a special vase with your favorite flowers, a new light fixture or a beautiful necklace–whatever makes you smile

10. What are some of your best-selling products? Our best-selling products are our beautiful antique-inspired jewelry, candles and home accessories!