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ornate heartsTwo ornate 'puffy' silver heart beads, hollow in the center with holes at top and bottom for stringing. Each is about 1" wide and lightweight. Sold as a set of two. I will consider selling them separately -- so let me know if you'd like to buy only one for $19.00.

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Lapis Lazuli Gemstone BeadsThis week's post is sort of a sequel to the 'About Us' and 'Quit Your Day Job' posts. I thought I'd give you all a little private view into our efforts to build a successful online jewelry supply business, and why we want to hear more from you and meet more incredible jewelry artisans. We started this venture out of our mutual love of beads. Shannon, especially, is expert in natural stones and many aspects of gemology. I'm not so expert in those realms, but I did run a successful college with a multimillion dollar budget, so I've been hopeful I can add something in the business domain. Plus, I've rapidly become enamoured with, and somewhat more knowledgeable about, natural stones, beading, and the handmade jewelry business in general.

We both love the plethora of materials womankind has used for beading over the ages:  stone, yes, but also clay, brass, glass, paper, metal, seeds and nuts, and wood, and more! But no matter what they are made of, what moves me personally is that individually crafted bead that can be the star attraction of any type of adornment. There are many bead artists who create true works of art in the forms of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, anklets, and more – with beads of various sizes. What I most hope for as we share our bead collection with you is that you find those beads that speak to you and inspire you.

So what is our business plan, given these passions? I'll summarize it for you here:

Our slogan is: 'Bringing the World of Beauty to You'

We are a mother-daughter team who offer an internationally inspired collection of intriguing objects of beauty for artisans working with jewelry, beads, and fine crafts. Because we don't have a store-front, and also because we both enjoy the freedom of working from home and online, we only offer internet-based sales at this point. As we developed our business plan (which is still being fine-tuned – and wewelcome your input!) we identified these 'visualizations' of success:

'Over the past year, we have achieved a 100% increase in sales!'

'The holiday sales were fantastic, and Shannon hasn't needed to go back to work. She has time to be really dedicated to this business as her work.'

'Now something is selling off of our Etsy site every day, our Facebook page has many LIKES and followers, as does our Google+ site, and we have many friends to dialog with on our blog site.'

'We have found our niche, and everyone wants 'one of these'...

So what are we doing to achieve these goals? Well, I can tell you – it's been a lot of blood, sweat and tears! But it's also been fun – setting up the shop on Etsy, setting up a business page on Facebook, fine-tuning our web site, establishing a presence on Pinterest, starting to move into Twitter, using LinkedIn to connect with people of like-minded interests, and more. I'm self-taught on this social networking business, and it can be quite a labyrinth! But I've had great helpers, friends and mentors (not the least of which has been Hope Kiah of Santa Fe Web Design, my web designer extraordinaire!) – and gradually I am learning to integrate all these venues, to connect with people when and where and how they like to connect. The sales are about 3 times greater than they were when we started out in August 2012, though certainly not YET where we want them to be!


And we still hope to really get more engagement and dialog here on this blog site, so we can learn more about what beaders, jewelry designers and artisans are looking for – and what they need and want – and how we can help others to increase their success as well! Since the whole point is to inspire and assist you, our most-admired designers, we need to hear more about what you're looking for, and make sure we offer it to you in a way that is convenient and affordable. So please, please, please, post comments here at the blog (www.thebead.net) or at Linked-In (The Bead Collection), or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheBeadCollection) or Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/sortego1/boards/) or just send us convos via Etsy (http://tinyurl.com/mrpspxy)! Whatever is easy! But we really want to hear more from you – and  appreciate your business and engagement to date.

In the meantime, we continue to be humbled by the talent that's out there in every medium and style – metalsmithing, work with polymer clay and pottery beads, lampwork, paper beads, tribal and boho designs, stone, crystal, and the list goes on. In order to honor that talent, we'll continue to do Treasuries on Etsy that feature the work of these incredible artists – YOU – so let us know if you have ideas/requests on these as well. AND – don't forget to send us your e-mail if you'd like to be invited to show your lovely work on our Pinterest board/s 'Distinctive Handcrafted Jewelry' and/or 'Beads and Pendants'. All we ask is that you sign up for this free weekly newsletter and provide us with your e-mail so we can process the invitation.

Finally, we're starting to run more contests and giveaways, so you might even get something for FREE if you want to follow that activity – primarily on Facebook.

Until next time, our mighty band of two marches on – in search of just the right and most exquisite thing for your special jewelry designs. (OH, one more thing -- let us know if you'd like us to do a feature story on you and your special jewelry designs -- we'd especially love to hear from people who have bought our beads and pendants so we can feature the awesome pieces they've been made into!)

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy the previous post 'About Us'.

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