Friday, May 29, 2009

The Bead Stylist: 2009 - 2011 Color Fashion Trends

I came across this information via Facebook and although I have the Pantone colors I wanted to work with for Fall 2009 this online, downloadable color trend information is certainly much more comprehensive.

This is great because when looking for bead colors of the season and you just can't seem to describe it to your supplier then you can just send the link and you can both be on the same page - how clever!

Fashion Color Trendsetter

All Beading Aside: Social Media & Separating Yourself from The Crowd

Since I've been between fashion news events and seasons - and although there is still a lot more that I have to do - I decided to take some time to figure out yet another social media application Facebook.

The article I'm referencing here makes an excellent point which is that learning how these tools actually work, and to learn them well is a full time job - which I can attest to after trying to figure out Facebook for the past few weeks.

But if it's so frustrating why bother? In a phrase 'they work'.'

When I first heard about Twitter I though who cares about what I'm doing every step of my day. But once Twitter  started to gain momentum and popping up everywhere I had to hold true to my motto - go to where the people are, it's easier than chasing them - and so I did.

And that is the beauty, too me, of this whole social network thing. 

This article on MarketWatch (which was written as a networking tool for job seekers, but I find applies equally to anyone marketing their bead art jewelry designs or handcraft) has many excellent points and the whole article is worth a read; but the first two bullet points are oh, so true! So, before getting started with these networking tools:

  • First, pick your niche. Today, it's all about niche specialties. What's your forté? Whether it's shoes (Zappos), humor (DeGeneres), or even topics you'd think not even your mother would care about like customer service or bowling, it's all about knowing something that others will find valuable. And if you're worried your expertise won't attract others, think again. Did you ever think you'd see a cable show "At Home on the Range?"

  • Know what you want. If you're going to spend time using social media tools, then know why you're doing it in advance. Do you want to become an expert to get into the media? Do you want to generate customers for your company? Do you want to help build your product's brand? Are you looking for another job? Remember, companies -- just like you -- want to keep up with these tools. So why not turn yourself into a voice or knowledgeable expert for your company by taking what you know to the social media world? (Before going too far with this, check your company policies and with your management team to find the "win-win" for everyone.)


There's nothing like targeting a niche, and following some of these guidelines will ultimately leave you less frustrated with using these tools.  I'm finding more often than not that I am adjusting certain things based on what's been revealed in one of these social networking platforms - now you can't get any more insight into what people want than that.

My mind is always abuzz with entrepreneurial endeavors, but beads and beading are where I want to keep my focus - and even within these parameters opportunity abound.  I've had a bead business idea on the back burner for a few years now, and due to the physical limitations from my chronic pain condition, I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to realize yet another wonderful opportunity; but after understanding how powerful these social media tools can be I may be able to put my plan into action after all - who knew!

article in MarketWatch  My Facebook Pages The Bead Stylist    A1 Bead Art Jewelry Supply

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Bead Stylist: Bead & Button Beading Magazine Alternative & Free Issue Preview

BEADMAG In the interest of trying to get the most for the money - a habit I hope to last beyond the current economic conditions, I have been putting off renewing my subscription to Bead & Button magazine.

I am always inspired and amazed at the new beadwork, but due to the price, and that it's only issued six times a year - you would think for all the advertisements the magazine would be less expensive or at least issued more often.

I have been searching for a comparable publication and I quite impressed with what I found.

First the subscription level offering the best savings is the online version, called an iMag, which is around $15, and you can access all 15 issues currently available.

The Adobe Flash Flip-Book version takes a little getting used to and had a few minor glitches (or it could just be my computer), but honestly, for all that it has to offer you can't beat the price!

Second, the steps and instructions seem clearer to me, more step-by-step; with more specifics about the tools and specific beads needed for each project.

Additionally, they have very good reviews on bead stringing material, beading wire, and more, but you do have to go through each magazine.

The website also has what they call BeadTV and for $3.75 a month you can watch as many how-to instructional videos you like; probably cheaper for the yearly version.

Now maybe these videos are already on YouTube, but for this price and the time saved searching...I'll pay the $3.75.

You can try one issue out for FREE, but the videos get interrupted just as they are about to get into a technique.

Link will take you to Bead magazine and links to iMag and BeadTV.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Bead Stylist: Review of Flex-Rite Beading Wire by Bead Smith

Flex-rite-Bead-Jewelry-Wire-24k-Gold-024 I was asked about Flex-rite beading wire as an alternative to SoftFlex beading wire, or Beadalon beading wire and found that information was not easy to come by, so I got a few samples and here's my review, and a reference chart I created of colors and sizes.

I had some SoftFlex on hand and some Soft Touch, also made my SoftFlex, but much thinner for bead weaving; however, even before I got the Flex-rite I didn't like the Soft Touch for bead weaving.

What I noticed immediately was that the Flexrite is quite soft to the touch, certainly not a 'wire' like the Soft Touch, and SoftFlex.

Since I was looking for something to replace the Soft Touch for bead weaving I got the 7 Strand Clear (Stainless Steel) Micro-Wire .007" (.18mm) the thinnest diameter they had, and it was MUCH thinner than the Soft Touch .10 diameter.

I then got the 49 Strand and 21 Strand and the first noticeable difference was the softness.  Now the term 'supple' is used in most of the Flexrite descriptions and I'm not certain if this is interchangeable with 'soft' or if it means something different.

The 7 Strand and 49 Strand offer the most variety. While the 7 Strand is being compared to Tiger Tail as being more flexible and softer.

I can imagine that the subject of beading wire must be confusing for the the beginning beader and more experienced alike - I know it is for me, so I will try and compile more information over time; but for now here' is the reference chart of sizes and colors that may be of some use to you.

Pricing seems to be very competitive too. So hopefully Flexrite is a better quality beading wire without the high price of others I have purchased. 

Please post your experience about the beading wire you prefer and if you have tried the new Flex-rite wire by Bead Smith.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Bead Stylist: The True Grit Behind the Glitter in Paris (NYTimes)

When I first started blogging about items I find in The New York Times Style & Fashion, I thought the content might not connect with most readers due to either the high-fashion status the artist or designer, or some of the fashion houses mentioned; but the more articles I discover the more I realize a basic reality which is each artist, designer, entrepreneur had to start somewhere.

Featured in this article is one who started as an engineer and the other a high school drop out who ended up repairing televisions and radio's. Both feel that what they learned early on are skills of the trades they started in and helped them to become successful at designing jewelry.

Perhaps that's what appeals to me most - besides the hard work - which is that some unrelated, or seemingly unrelated part of your life experience can not only help you find your passion, but find successful.  I had no idea that I would ever end up in the world of beads and beading; the one thing I did know was that I loved research and never quite knew what I would apply it too. Not knowing anything about this new venture and having to rely on customers that knew what they wanted while at the same time finding it virtually impossible to locate we relied on each other. I knew I could find them what they wanted, and they were teaching about the beading business in return. That was over eight years ago, and there is still so much I don't know, which is fine because that's what keeps it interesting.

Here's an excerpt from the article, but again the whole article is worth a read:


Though their long-term commitment to the profession is unwavering, nothing in the respective backgrounds of either designer could have foretold a career in jewelry.

“I have a degree in engineering,” said Mr. Bäumer, the son of a German diplomat and a French porcelain painter, who attended the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in Paris, an exclusive French grande école.

“That, and surfing, helped me understand the rhythm of the elements and the importance of perfect technique.”

Coming from a more modest background, Mr. Tournaire was severely asthmatic as a child, a condition that resulted in long periods confined to his home, playing alone with stray bits of metal and wood. After dropping out of high school, he went into radio and television repair by default, a profession, he said, that helped him understand tools and gave him technical dexterity.

At 23, stirred by an urge to do something more creative, Mr. Tournaire took over the basement of his parents’ home in Saint-Germain-Laval, a village of fewer than 1,000 people in central France, and began making jewelry for friends out of kitchen utensils.

“Experimenting in that basement, I learned that I could use any unorthodox object or tool to make jewelry,” he said.

From these unconventional beginnings, both Mr. Bäumer and Mr. Tournaire have had pieces included in the permanent collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, an arm of the Louvre that is home to the museum’s furniture, fashion and jewelry collections.