The curation of a bead shop selection is just as beautiful and inspiring as a carefully planned jewelry design. When all of the right elements are in place, you can’t help but feel excited about all of the possibilities. One shop that really stands out is All Things Beaded, with an amazing selection of Czech glass beads, buttons, and Hill Tribe Silver. Today shop owner, Cindy, shares her bead story.
Inspirational Beading: How did you get into the business of jewelry supplies?
Cindy:I started to unload some of my extra beads and found them to sell quickly. As a jewelry designer, I already had access to great wholesalers. It’s turned into a great business but it also allows me to buy more beads for my own designs while sharing my beads with people around the globe who also share my interests. I get a much better deal when I place larger orders and it also allows me to sell my beads at competitive prices. Sure, I am in this business to make money but it also very important to me that my customers pay fair prices. I really don’t believe in perceived value or what the market can bear. I have a pricing formula that I strictly adhere to. I’ve been told I can charge more but running an honest business yields more loyal customers in the long run.
Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite material, color, or bead style to keep in stock?
Cindy: I am absolutely smitten with Czech glass. A close second is Hill Tribe Silver. So many people sell Czech glass beads that they hardly seem unique, but they are! For starters, they have come a long way. Some are so beautifully finished that they often resemble gemstones without the inherent flaws that come with gemstones. Because Czech glass comes in such a variety of styles, shapes and colors each store that sells them brings a different variety to their customers.
Karen Hill Tribe silver is near and dear to my heart. The fact that they are made by hand by a specific group of talented people give them an organic, heartfelt appeal. It’s as if part of their soul goes into each piece. I think this is why that comes across in any design where Hill Tribe Silver is included.
Inspirational Beading: What kind of criteria do you use when selecting new products to carry?
Cindy: I try to sell what I use in my own designs. It makes the most sense. Why would I sell something that I have no interest in using? I also love to please my customers by ordering specific things they need. Often their suggestions and requests become some of my best sellers. I always listen and try my best to find what they need. I never cared for bead shops that simply say “no, we don’t carry that/those”. I can’t always find what they want but I will at least try.
Inspirational Beading: What makes your bead selection stand out from other craft supplies shops? What's your favorite thing about your products?
Cindy: I think it’s my variety and selection. How can one be unique selling beads that are so readily available? It’s like reinventing the wheel. One thing I offer are mixes from my glass cookie jar filled with beads. I’m always adding to it. I fill my scoop with a random assortment and offer them for sale. It’s a great way to sample all my different beads. I find mixes like that also spur creativity. When I have a creative block myself, I will often pour a scoop on my work surface and go from there. Some of my favorite designs have come from that random mix.
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 a beautiful work of art?
Cindy:The Spanish word for jewelry is joyeria. I think the first part of that word sums it up. Joy! To me it is one of the least utilized and underappreciated words in the dictionary. I feel joy when I receive an order of beads. Even if they are beads I’m simply restocking, I still get that feeling. I sit and ooh and ah over them every time. It never gets old. I get that same feeling of joy when I package up something a customer has purchased because I know how they are going to feel when they go to their mailbox to find my package.
I usually drop my packages off after I pick up my kids from school. My daughter hands me the packages and loves to read where they are going. To think you can send packages to all corners of the earth and bring all those people the same universal feeling of joy is truly amazing. I think I really do this for the joy it brings. The money is an added by product of what I do. I can’t remember who said this but the quote “do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” really rings true.
Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite thing to make (or see others make) with your beads?
Cindy: For me, making necklaces is my favorite. It brings me back to my childhood where I’d spend lazy summer afternoons with friends stringing beads. At that time, there was no rhyme, reason or pattern. We just strung the beads, tied a knot, and wore them until the string eventually broke. Sometimes we used sewing thread because it’s all we had. Necklaces strung on sewing thread had short lives but we had the pleasure of picking them up and making a new necklace. Every time I make a necklace, it takes me back to that time.
I like to see what others make with my Czech glass buttons. I assumed they were using them to accent a special garment or as a closure on a piece of jewelry. One of my regular customers makes earrings. It never occurred to me to make earrings with them. I decided to search on Pinterest for Czech glass buttons and the designs and pieces of jewelry made from them is nothing short of amazing. There are so many creative people in this world.
Inspirational Beading: Baggies, tubes or strands? Which is your favorite?
Cindy: It really depends. For the most part it is baggies. I keep mostly all of my bead mix strands on the string. It showcases them better. All the rest go into baggies. When I receive an order, my mother counts them and puts them into baggies. For one, it speeds up my order fulfillment time. They are counted and bagged and ready to go when a customer orders them. Secondly, bagging them up allows any chipped or broken beads to be discarded. When I buy beads to use for myself, I’m disappointed when more than 2 or three have chips or cracks. My mother and I try our best to weed out any misfits so my customers aren’t paying for something they can’t actually use.
Inspirational Beading: In your opinion, what’s the best thing about small supplies shops vs. the big bead retailers?
Cindy: I love connecting with my customers. I love the personal touch I can bring to the buying experience. Life can get crazy but I always try to ship quickly. It always amazes me how a larger company with a paid staff can take so long to get your products to you. I know my customers are excited to get what they have ordered. I know they can’t feel and touch it until it reaches them. I strive to minimize the agony of waiting.
Inspirational Beading: Do you have any plans for new products this year?
Cindy: Oh yes! I told myself at the beginning of the year that I have to go big or go home. As I complete this interview, I have a huge pile of beads and Hill Tribe silver on my desk. I have plans to expand my offerings to include more findings and chain so that my shop can become a one-stop shop for beaders and designers around the world. Of course, every new bead has to be counted, bagged, photographed and listed so it’s a time consuming process. My ultimate goal is to have thousands of items available for my lovely customers.
To see more gorgeous bead selections, visit All Things Beaded on Etsy. For exclusive insights on new products and happenings, you can also sign up for the All Things Beaded Newsletter.
Inspirational Beading readers are invited to save 20% at All Things Beaded with coupon code BEADLOVER until May 31st.
Copyright 2015 Inspirational Beading and All Things Beaded
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