Creatively Covered

Spruce wallpaper and fabric showroom on Magazine Street gets a makeover and looks forward to new offerings, openings

Spruce 2043 Magazine St. // sprucenola.com
facebook.com/sprucenola // @spruceshowroom


Tucked into a circa-1850s American townhouse-style building in the Lower Garden District, Spruce is a textile lovers’ wonderland. Downstairs, consumers and design industry professionals shop wallpaper, while upstairs the specialty is fabric.

Opened in 2008, Spruce is the brainchild of licensed and registered interior designer Nomita Joshi-Gupta, who studied architecture at LSU and urban planning at UNO. She counts her architect father, her native city of Bangalore, India and New Orleans among her design inspirations. Joshi-Gupta added the fabric showroom in 2020 and late 2021, and became a retailer for the high-end British line of wallpaper and paint Farrow & Ball in 2020.

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This spring, Joshi-Gupta has plans to open her design offices and gallery next door to the showroom. She recently took time out to visit with Biz New Orleans about the newly renovated textiles showroom, her business challenges and plans for the future.

What were your goals for the design and why?
Nomita Joshi-Gupta: The goal was to showcase wallpaper and fabric in a showroom setting.

What was the biggest design challenge and how was it overcome?
Space, but we designed clever bookcases and hanging systems to house our samples. I used an armoire to house my trims and low bookcases that serve as landing spots. The fabric samples hang on the walls on custom rods.

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What is the standout feature of the design?
On our fabric showroom floor, we have a kitchen that was camouflaged with a glass enclosure so that no one realizes there is an ugly kitchen behind it! In our wallpaper showroom, we wallpapered large squares to show our clients scale and repeat, which helps in visualizing our product.

How would you describe Spruce and its core clientele?
Spruce is the go-to destination for wallpaper, fabric and specialty paint. Our showroom is both to-the-trade, as well as retail. Our core demographic is 35 to 65, worldly and traveled, and have a love for color and pattern. Our trade clients purchase from us on wholesale terms. We carry 40-plus unique lines from all over the world.

How do you set yourselves apart from others doing similar work?
We are a consultancy and a one-stop-shop open only by appointment. When a client comes in for their appointment, we sit with them for an hour or two, determine what they need — paint colors, wallpaper or fabric for their space based on their pictures and design taste and budget. If needed, we have our own painters for our Farrow & Ball paint. We also install our own wallpaper, and our fabric workrooms produce drapery, bedding and upholstered goods. We even design and produce furniture pieces.

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How do you promote a positive work atmosphere for the staff?
Spruce is a joyous place to work. What we do is gratifying, and it is nice to help clients make overwhelming choices. I keep saying, ‘We are not saving lives, but we are saving your soul!’ That’s what creativity is all about, right? My staff is immensely adept at their jobs. We function like a family with an open, fair and transparent workplace. I have a review every six months to assess their individual goals and performance. I am very flexible with their requests for time off and personal needs. We also stock enough tea, coffee treats and ice cream for long, challenging days.

What are your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge is keeping up with social media marketing. I tend to be a word-of-mouth and pick-up-the-phone kind of person. Posting your product on Instagram and making it ‘fun’ is challenging, and in addition to the actual work we do, it is exhausting, and frankly I find it un-authentic. The other challenge we are facing is finding more wallpaper installers — it is a dying art and needs to be addressed with training for young adults via vocational schools like Delgado.

What goals are you looking to meet in the next 12 months?
In addition to making sales, we hope to educate our clientele on the art of wallpaper via thoughtful messaging. My goal is to introduce at least 10 more unique boutique lines to our collection.

Are you planning to expand?
I believe in slow, directed growth. After 14 years, I am finally opening my design office next door. Spruce will remain as is, and I am trying to keep my footprint as small as possible. I think businesses should take up as little space as possible and maximize impact through efficient staffing and client services.

 


Quick Look

Date of opening
2008
Size
2,000 square feet
Persons in Charge
Nomita Joshi-Gupta, proprietor, and Ericka Moreira, showroom manager
Interior Design
Nomita Joshi Studio & Gallery, Nomita Joshi-Gupta principal and Sarah Allee Walsh, senior interior designer

 


 

 

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