Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The importance of supporting local bead shops

When I was at the Bead&Button Show this past June, one of the Kalmbach folks I was chatting with gave me a pin, which I promptly put on my Loose Bead Society tote:

Basically, Kalmbach is encouraging folks to go to their local bead shops, and they're encouraging local bead shops to hold sales, book signings, new classes, and a bunch of other things in the month of October to promote their stores.  Kalmbach has devoted a Pinterest board to it, and I'm hopeful that there will be many pins added from different stores throughout the month.  I think it's a great idea, so this little blog will promote it as well!

I know I said not too long ago that I bought all the materials for my Cobblestone Path kits online, but that's because buying in bulk in local shops is difficult....

OOH!  Speaking of Cobblestone Path, I just now got my acceptance letter from the 2014 Bead&Button Show!  I will be teaching on Friday, June 6, 5:00p-8:00p.  I know I've shown you before, but here's the bracelet again:

I'm super excited and will let you know when registration opens (sometime in January) and how the class goes.  Yay!!!

Ahem.  Back to our regularly scheduled blog.

When I design, I use materials that I find in local bead stores.  That's really the best way to match up colors and to find out what beads are popular.  Doing it online is tricky, as I've mentioned in my rants.  Colors on the computer aren't always what they look like in person, and it's especially difficult when you're looking at different sites.

Also, since I teach many of my designs at Knot Just Beads, I want to pick colors for the samples that I know my students will be able to get at that store.  During one insomnia-driven design session I came up with "Quadrille", a new bracelet design (that I'm hoping can also be a necklace and earrings).  The next time I was in Knot Just Beads, I searched out beads for two color schemes - one for the class display and one for another sample:

The other benefit to shopping local is being able to ask someone else's opinion if colors match.  After looking at a bunch of different colors for a bunch of different beads, it's nice to go up to a store employee and ask, "Does these look good together?" and have her help you find just the right color.  (Thanks for your help with the above colors, Darlene!)

Now that I've seen all those pretty beads again, I'm really looking forward to finishing the "Quadrille" design!  Not until after the Milwaukee Bead Show, though!

As a small business owner myself, I know how difficult it is to keep afloat and to grow.  Local bead shops (and yarn shops and hardware stores and book stores and....) have it a lot worse because they're "brick and mortar" stores that have to compete with online and big box stores.  They have building expenses, employees to pay, and countless other expenses I don't have.  Many, many years ago my uncle and aunt had a paint and wallpaper store.  They had a large number of wallpaper books that they let folks take home to peruse and to match with their furniture.  They started noticing that people would take the books home then purchase the wallpaper elsewhere.  They could take the information off of the back of the wallpaper sample and order from places that either didn't have wallpaper books or didn't let folks take them home.  My family lost money and had to put codes on each wallpaper sample so only they knew the ordering information.  Eventually, the store closed, and my uncle, my aunt, and my mother were out of a job.

In the last few years a number of good bead shops in the Milwaukee area closed from probably the same sort of thing - losing business to online vendors and big box stores like JoAnn's and Michaels.  You all know I love JoAnn's and Michaels as well as shopping online, but my local bead shops are my first choice, and I suggest they be your first choice, too.  If we don't support the "little guys", then they, too, will go out of business, and we'll be stuck with whatever we find online or in stores that don't specialize in beads, and classes will all but disappear.  Our beadwork will suffer, and we don't want that!

In Milwaukee and the surrounding area we have a number of great bead shops:  Knot Just Beads, Eclectica, Midwest Beads, and Planet Bead.

I have to admit that I've never been to Planet Bead.  It's downtown, and I'm never down there with free time when they're open.  We were right there going out to lunch with my mother and stepfather, possibly on a holiday, and I said, "Ooh, look!  There's Planet Bead!  Can we stop?"  Steve said, "Uh, no."  Drats!  Another day I was downtown by myself on a Monday with tons of free time, but they're closed on Mondays.  Double drats!  I have hopes that I'll make it there one day.

The other stores in the area I can say for certain are wonderful.  Each has a great supply of Delicas and other seed beads as well a vast amount of beads and findings in an unbelievable number of styles and colors.  Each store holds a number of classes each month on a wide variety of techniques.  If you're in the Milwaukee area, check them out!

If you're NOT in the Milwaukee area (or if I missed a store here), I would love if you could tell me a bit about your local bead shop or any shop you come across while traveling.  Send me the information at traci@creative-pursuits.biz.  If you have a picture or two, that would be great, but please ask before taking pictures.  I'll post about it and add it to the list on the right side of my blog (over there --->). Terry's Treasures in Virginia is listed because they carry tutorials of my designs.  :)  I'll keep this list up in its current place (near the top, right above the ad I'd like you to click on if you see something that interests you) at least through October.

Maybe in November I'll start a local yarn shop list, so keep an eye out for those as you're tooling about town or traveling.

To further support "Visit Your Local Bead Shop" October, I've changed my profile picture on Facebook to this:

Will you do the same, and will you make it a point to shop at your local bead shop in October and the rest of the year?  (You can right-click on the above picture and save it on your computer if you want to change your profile picture on Facebook.)

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