Bead College 2018 (Sophomore Year) January 24, 2021 18:25

As I look back at 2018 and the pictures, I realized I accomplished so much and had a year of monumental growth. I defined a foundational color scheme and developed an original jewelry collection. This is a part-time job, it doesn't pay the bills. But I put a lot of work into it because I just love making the beads and realizing visions of beads and jewelry into existence.  

Bead & Button 2018 was my second year doing a big bead show. I paid attention to what sold the best (lamp work) and went all in on only lamp work for 2018. I retired the polymer clay. I also focused on a theme that would do well in the Florida area as well and created the foundational bead collection of Beach in four color ways (Seaside, Atlantic, Twilight, and Sand) and four shapes (Spacer, Tiny Spacer, Nugget, Tiny Nugget). Each of the swirls was supported with the three base colors.

My intention was to create repeatable beads for designers to use. While I created cohesive collections and designers apparently appreciated the concept, most of them were too creative too stick within the same color collection. The only ones that really seemed to appreciate it were the hobbyists who were dipping their toes into creating their own jewelry.

Beach Collection

Beach Collection: Seaside (Top), Atlantic, Twilight and Sand (Bottom)

I also had my shed set up and was able to work in air conditioned comfort. I had a few delays with getting the ventilation installed and my oxygen concentrator sieve beds needed to be rebuilt. But I started I think late April and early May and was able to work hard to make 7,000 beads for the 2018 show.

Studio workstation 

Work table


A bowl full of Atlantic beads to clean. 


Core color: Seaside

A professional brochure with pricing and colors 

This year I flew instead of drove to Wisconsin. I shipped the stands and brought the beads on the plane. I was really proud of my simple, organized setup. I also had a ton of compliments from my customers and shoppers, and even other vendors on the setup. I really loved the symmetry of the setup and how easy it was to manage and maintain. 


Simple, organized setup


As well as breakdown and bring home. 

Simple, organized breakdown

One of the things I learned when I started making beads for the 2019 show is that I hadn't been as completely consistent in the colors I chose for the color combos, particularly Seaside. I was a little inconsistent when I ran out of colors. For 2019, I made sure I had enough colors on hand to produce the full collection.

I also created my first jewelry collection for submission to the American Craft Council and was waitlisted (not outright accepted but not outright rejected either). I actually chose not to participate for a few reasons - my financial outlay for the show would have been competing with some other financial priorities (a big vacation to Denmark and a new car). I heard the show wasn't doing as well as it used to and there were other more lucrative venues. So I was excited to be semi-accepted, but ultimately did not attend for the above reasons.

Another happy outcome was being able to do a trunk show at Beads Gone Wild down in Palm Beach in 2018 & 2019 at Glenda's fabulous store. I learned a lot about chatting with and knowing your customers from working with her.