Wherever the inspiration for a new piece of jewelry begins, chances are it will end with findings – those components that turn a bit of beading into a finished and functional design. Today’s guest is Jen of the online shop Jen’s Findings, which specializes in high quality clasps, earwires, jump rings, headpins and more.
Inspirational Beading: How did you get into the business of jewelry supplies?
Jen: Beading started out as a hobby when I was in high school. When I was in college I started selling necklaces, bracelets and earrings at craft shows for some extra spending money. During this time, a bead shop opened up just a couple of blocks away from where I lived in San Mateo. I was really excited because before it opened I drove to a neighboring town to buy my beading supplies.
It turned out the bead store was started by a young man fresh out of college himself. To make the story short, we eventually got married and had a family. Over the years, my husband has gotten into other types of businesses and I've continued to bead as a hobby and sell beading supplies to supplement our family's income.
Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite material, color, or style to keep in stock?
Jen: Well, Jen's Findings is a specialty site in that we only sell jewelry findings and are currently only selling sterling silver and 14k gold filled findings. While I do love the elegant simplicity of the findings, I also love having a pretty filigree clasp at the end of a multi-strand necklace made with beautiful glass or semi-precious beads.
To me, a perfect jewelry finding is one that will complement the art that it becoming a part of. Most of the time, the finding is not the focal point, but adds some harmony to the piece, as well as serving a functional aspect of binding components together.
Inspirational Beading: What kind of criteria do you use when selecting new products to carry?
Jen: There are staples that beaders seem to always need, such as head pins or lobster claw clasps, but I like to carry with some personality of their own, like our heart clasps or an oval filigree pearl clasp.
Inspirational Beading: What makes your bead selection stand out from other craft supplies shops?
Jen: What sets Jen's Findings apart is that we only sell jewelry findings. We love beads, but we do not sell them. Instead we are striving to be the place beaders go to fulfill their needs for quality jewelry findings.
Inspirational Beading: Many beaders are familiar with the emotion that comes from selling a
finished design. How does it feel when you sell something that will become
part of a beautiful work of art?
Jen: It truly is a wonderful thing. I love that we are able to help people make art. We are a family of beaders (since my daughters and mother-in-law also make jewelry), and we get a thrill seeing our components in finished works.
Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite thing to make (or see others make) with your supplies?
Jen: I am really into making multi-string necklaces these days. I also like to do wire work and pearl knotting. I am not a talented peyote stitch person, but I do admire what people accomplish with seed beads these days--there are so many creative folks out there!
Inspirational Beading: In your opinion, what's the best thing about small supplies shops vs.
the big bead retailers?
Jen: We are nicer! Actually, I think that big retailers provide a good service, but I also think that small suppliers can be competitive to them. Also, we are real jewelry makers and know what beaders' needs are. We got started the business because we genuinely love beads and jewelry making. Also, we are small enough that we can carry limited runs of unique jewelry components made by local artists.
Inspirational Beading: Do you have any plans for new products this year?
Jen: Yes, we are going to expand our inventory to carry more unique jewelry findings, as well as many handmade items like one-of-a-kind clasps. I want to showcase beautiful and unique items. We are also planning to expand our sterling silver and gold-filled findings this year.
You can find more beautiful clasps, findings and more at Jen’s Findings, or follow along on Jen’s blog for jewelry ideas and inspirations.
Copyright 2015 Inspirational Beading and Jen's Findings
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