This local shop does the shopping, so you don’t have to
Photographer / Kerch Photography
It was a dream that was a long-time coming. Tracy Main, with a background in interior design, worked for several architectural firms in Ohio before moving to Carmel ten years ago to work with commercial furniture dealerships. When Etsy—an e-commerce website selling handmade and craft items—was launched in 2005, Main was able to find cool things from Europe and other parts of the country. Suddenly, her dream, which had been slowly percolating, seemed within reach.
“I really enjoy buying unique small-batch things that can’t be found anywhere else,” says Main, who rented a prime 1,200-sq. ft. corner spot on the interior plaza in Carmel City Center and, with the help of her husband Zach, opened nine + roxy in December 2018. She loves being in the heart of Carmel—where festivals, concerts, and the farmers market are all in her back yard, not to mention a plethora of great shops and boutiques.
“The Carmel City Center has become the place to shop small on the north side of Indianapolis,” says Main. “While shopping at nine + roxy, folks can also stop by Addendum, 14 District Weekends, Bath Junkie, and Beauty + Grace, all independently owned establishments where shopping dollars stay in the community instead of going to large corporations.”
Nine + roxy, a modern handmade artisan mercantile, is named after her two daughters.
“My 3½-year-old’s middle name is Nine, and my 13-year-old stepdaughter’s name is Ruby, though her alter ego is Roxy, which she taps into when she’s feeling spunky and confident,” says Main.
She drew inspiration for the layout and design of her store from European boutiques that offer a clean, modern, simple aesthetic. The goods she sells are all handmade, and given that she stocks just a handful of each, inventory is constantly changing.
“What’s here is here, and when it’s gone, it’s gone,” explains Main. “Customers appreciate that when they buy a necklace or pair of earrings from nine + roxy, they won’t find it at a store around the corner or even 50 miles away.”
Main notes that 98 percent of the items she carries cannot be found elsewhere.
“I’m the only one in the city—and often the only one in the state or country—who carries these items,” she says. For example, she has earrings from Denmark, ottomans from Poland, wall masks from Tel Aviv, and 3-D planters made out of wood pulp & bio plastic from France. Popular items that have been snatched up quickly include modern earrings from Ireland that are cut out of vinyl records and concrete-based candle holders with hand-poured soy candles. Knot pillows were also a hot seller.
When ordering, Main chooses things that are trending on social media, following local and regional markets, Instagram, Facebook, and Etsy. However, she’s also careful to only carry items that are classic and timeless. For instance, she recently chose a style of clutch purse she liked and bought it in three colors that are currently popular. They sold out in a day. Next time she may choose a different style or color.
Customers are happy that Main is doing the choosing so they don’t have to. In fact, many have told her that they often feel overwhelmed when trying to shop Etsy due to the huge number of vendors.
“I tell them not to sweat it,” says Main. “I find the cool, well-made items on Etsy so they don’t have to!”
When the weather warms in the spring, Main plans to host some pop-ups so that local modern artists can sell their hand-crafted goodies on the patio outside her store.
“I’d like to help support these artists so if you’re a local artist who is interested in trying out the Carmel market, get in touch with me!” says Main.
Though she is putting in plenty of hours nurturing her new venture, Main couldn’t be happier.
“The store doesn’t seem like work, honestly,” says Main. “It feels like an extension of home.”
Nine + roxy is open Mondays-Wednesdays & Saturdays from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. & Tuesdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (closed Sundays). E-mail Main at email@example.com. For information on the store and vendors, visit nineandroxy.com.