What Happens Next

Jo Christen and Emilie Boggs

IN 1973, EMILIE’S MOM WAS THE NUMBER ONE Kirby vacuum cleaner salesperson in the United States. How was she rewarded? They took her franchise away and replaced her with a man. What did she do? She started this little store for Indian jewelry.

Today, Jo and her daughter Emilie run Tin-Nee-Ann Trading Co on Cerrillos. You know, the one you always think you should stop into.

What made your mom choose Indian jewelry?

Emilie: It was a boom in the ’70s. Everybody was wearing squash blossoms, big bracelets and concho belts. Jim Morrison wore the biggest, prettiest concho belts ever. Janis Joplin was dripping in it. Everybody was wearing Indian jewelry.

Jo: In those days, the hippies were making jewelry, and the local Native people were making jewelry. There was a line drawn. We never did hippie, we only did Native American.

How’d you know what to get?

Jo: My mother has really good eyes for pretty things. And she is the ever frugal, annoyingly tight woman that could say, No, I don’t want to pay that much. I’ll pay you this much. She went to Gallup and Zuni and to all the tribes here in the area. But eventually the artists started coming here.

How can you tell the difference between good and bad, cheap and authentic?

Jo: We have to learn about rocks, stones, turquoise, and metals.

Is being white a problem?

Jo: Yes. Because we are not the artists we represent.

But it would appear that the artists trust you.

Emilie: Because we don’t do sleazy stuff like put their stuff behind the counter and then negotiate price. That was one of the old tricks from the not-so-nice traders.



Photo SFM