Yuns Online Store’s Kelly Wright Shares the Best Tools

Kelly Wright (right) founded the online, pop-up hardware store Yuns to make it easier to find good quality tools. From March 25 to 26, Yuns will have a pop-up at Playground Coffee.
Photo: Jaylen Strong

When Kelly Wright was growing up in rural South Carolina, there was no TaskRabbit or handyman to call when something needed fixing; everything was DIY. “It was like, ‘Kelly, Grandpa’s fence post has fallen. Go get your things. We have to help him fix it! kind of thing,” Wright says. Her family often stopped by her hometown hardware store, Martha’s, where she was able to learn how to fix things and explore the many tools that could get the job done. Before he left for New York, his father gave him a toolbox full of drill bits, Allen wrenches, about 400 nails and screws, and a hammer, among other things. “He said, ‘Here’s your toolbox, this is what you’ll need to get started. Just use this and you’ll find out for yourself,” she says.

Once she settled into the city, Wright noticed that few of her friends had the same confidence or basic equipment to fix things. Simple repairs or home improvement projects were daunting as they didn’t know where to start and there was no place like Martha’s to guide them as so many good local hardware stores closed due to from Amazon and big box retail. . After scouring tool forums and message boards to stock up on inventory, Wright opened Yuns, an online, pop-up hardware store, in May 2021. It’s only stocked with products she personally checked: a Japanese measuring tape that fits in your pocket, the gold- standard of hammers and a very good pair of affordable gripping gloves. Although there are a few vintage items – like a Rolykit toolbox – the shop isn’t filled with particularly valuable things. “These tools are well-designed, can stand the test of time, and can really get any job done,” says Wright.

So far, Wright has taken Yuns to design boutiques Lichen and This Corner in Philadelphia. And from March 25 to 26 it will be at Playground Coffee. Sure, an online store and pop-up isn’t quite as convenient as heading down the block for a box of nails – and the millennial DTC brand seems geared towards a certain customer – but at least you’re not traveling 3 am rabbit hole on Reddit to find out which hammer to buy.

Wright opened up her own toolbox to share some of her favorite and most essential items.

“I carry most of my tools in the canvas tool bag I sell in the shop, which will be restocked in May. It’s super sturdy, has plenty of pockets for tools, and is super cute too. Many customers tell me that they use them as a bag to go on a picnic with. And then I have the toolbox that my father gave me. It’s made of janky plastic, but I love it. I store screws, nails and all the Ikea pieces I’ve accumulated over the years in it.

Photo: Dereck Brewer

“The first thing I wanted to take into the shop was this 16 oz straight claw Estwing hammer. It’s the gold standard of hammers. The Maybach of hammers, so to speak. What I like is that it is multi-use. Straight claw hammers versus curved claw hammers will give you way more uses. Yes, you can hammer and the weight is solid, but you can use the back to split wood when camping, to dig small holes when gardening. It’s the best.”

Photo: Kelly Wright

“There is a lot of debate about the best cordless drill. I’ve had my DeWalt 20 volt Max cordless drill for years. It’s compact and lightweight, allowing me to fit it into small spaces. The LED light is ideal when drilling in a dark space. I don’t need a hardcore drill for most things I do around my apartment, but this one is powerful enough for when I need to build a garden box. Often people make the mistake of buying a cheap drill and buying a drill with a cord. Buy battery-powered even if it costs you more, even if you have to buy extra batteries. In the long run, it’s worth it, so you’re not literally paralyzed by a rope.

“I have a Stanley utility knife that I probably use every day for something, whether it’s tearing down boxes or opening things from the grocery store.”

Photo: Dereck Brewer

“The Stabila Pocket Spirit Level is small and great for doing quick checks on shelves or hanging art. It’s also magnetic on both sides. If you’re working on metal surfaces, it sticks. Lots of people sent me pictures of how they use them as fridge magnets too. It’s pretty cool that they’re on display.

Photo: Kelly Wright

“I love hilarious mom and pop inventions like the Caulking Finger. It’s literally a stick with a rubber finger on the end. There’s no better way to press putty than ‘with your finger, but you often rub your raw skin doing it.This fake finger works just as well.

Photo: Kelly Wright

“My grout pen – a marker you use on grout – is amazing. My husband and I obviously aren’t going to invest in grouting the tile in our apartment, which he’s lived in for seven years. I’m touching it up with this marker because it makes it nice and fresh.I have it in white and gray and it comes in other colors too.

“I keep a stack of what look like colorful kindergarten magnets in my toolbox. I use them to hold screws, nuts and bolts in place when I need to use them so they don’t come loose. don’t all wave on a dish or on the floor. It’s a really useful thing. I also have a magnetizer keychain. It really sucks to drop a screw when you’re on a ladder, so I’m used to magnetize my screwdriver or my drill.

“One of my favorite tools is a Leatherman multi-tool that my husband gave me as a Christmas present. Everyone needs a multi-tool of some kind. It has all the basic tools in a miniature size If I can’t take all my kit with me – like if I’m going on a trip – I will take it with me.

About Renee Williams

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