Saturday, October 29, 2016

Support Your Local Bead Store Heroes

(Beads to Live By)

There is nothing easy about opening a bead store. It takes bravery, lots of determination, knowledge, passion and the ability to create a community that will support your business.

The best bead stores offer much more than beads. They teach classes, host special events and are always finding ways to inspire their local creatives. They provide inspiration in bead form and it's quite a bit of magic!

(Trunk Show Goodies)

I live in an area that is bead store poor. To go to my favorite bead shop I have to travel 2 hours way to the other side of Michigan! Even though it's a trek for us, we do manage to go visit several times a year. I'm fortunate enough to have made friends with the bead store owner and we've paired up for a few classes and trunk shows.

The shop is Beads to Live By owned by Cassandra Spicer. Cassandra knows the value of offering classes to her students to keep them busy with new projects. She listens to her customers requests, that's how we met! Every time I've been in the store she has helped students in the design process and with their projects. She is quick to share simple techniques on the fly and offers lots of encouragement.

(Holiday Workshop)

My next trunk show at Beads to Live By will be on November 19th. It will be a holiday themed trunk show with lots of new work and I'll be teaching a fun wire class. If you are on the east side of Michigan make plans to join us!

(Andrew Thornton)

My next bead store heroes aren't a local shop for me, but if you know Andrew and William you can't help but feel like Allegory Gallery is part of our community too!

Allegory Gallery is a bead shop in a very small tourist town that brings in nationally known instructors and attracts visitors from far and wide. They also operate an online version of their store on Etsy to help supplement their off season times. Allegory Gallery is a unique bead shop and gallery space, they offer a beautifully curated collection of beads supporting artists and makers!

They are another bead store that has created a space that brings out the best in their local customers offering weekly events, classes and even a book/jewelry club! I've been able to visit and teach at Allegory Gallery twice and both times I've wanted to spend hours pouring over their treasures and visiting with the staff.

(Andrew's Ceramic Pendants)

Andrew and William are in the middle of a huge crowd-funding project to expand their inventory and they are offering lots of amazing ways to pledge support.

It's been less than a week and they have met 35% of their goal but to reach the 65% they really need our help.

Support starts at just $8 for a pendant and Andrew's ceramic pendants are some of my favorites, they are quite captivating in their coloring and subject matter. There are events, publications, jewelry and other pendants available too.

(My Allegory Gallery Haul!)

So I'm asking three things of you today to support your local bead store heroes.

1. Visit a local bead shop at least once a month - more if they are closer. Make the trek if you are able. If there are no bead stores anywhere, find a local shop online to support! Tell your local bead store owner how much you appreciate them.

2. Check out Allegory Gallery's Crowdfunding offerings and treat yo'self!!!

3. Share Allegory Gallery's Crowdfunding page on your Facebook or Twitter account today.


baymoondesign said...

Great blog Heather! I just sent Andrew some support and made a Facebook post.

Andrew Thornton said...

Thank you so much for the lovely write-up and for promoting local bead stores! And thank you for coming out to Ligonier, PA! We miss you, Heather!

We're at a point in our community where local bead stores are a dying breed and we've seen the impact of this. Magazines are closing up shop, bead societies are folding, and show attendances are dropping. Local bead stores are at the forefront of introducing this beautiful art to the community at large – educating them, training them, and growing our creative community. There's a magic in local bead stores, because they are truly a labor of love.

I cannot stress the importance of why it is so vital to show your support for the things you love. If that support isn't shown, those things do not last and go away.

bairozan said...

I visit the local bead stores quite often but I live in the capital of Bulgaria and there are several of them. Small towns do not have this luxury! However, they only sell gemstones and mass manufactured polymer clay and lampwork beads - Bulgarian bead artists prefer to make jewelry and not just sell the beads. So I made a small donation and tweeted about this fundraising project.

Mari Gold said...

I don't know how many little bead stores there are around here but I know one just down the road just closed near me. So sad!

Summer said...

The beads are so pretty ♥