What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Yes, I stay in touch with what's going on in the field by reading several jewelry design magazines. Additionally, I attend the Bead and Button Show every year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I take 4-6 classes a year. I keep my teaching skills strong by doing programs at The Bead Society of New Hampshire meetings, where I am President. I continue to write design directions and publishing them. I also take classes locally when highly-qualified teachers become available to me.
Several techniques are ones I gained through my involvement with The Bead Society of New Hampshire and through dealings with show managers.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
I do not have complicated pricing system. I look at the wholesale and retail costs of my materials, the time it takes to make a piece, and the price of comparable work.
I will not undersell my pieces, as most of them take quite a bit of time to create.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
The Internet helped me learn to bead and the Fire Mountain Gems catalogs became my reference books. Research on the Mirrix loom brought me to the two groups that I credit with helping me bloom quickly with this art and craft: The Bead Society of New Hampshire (BSNH) and the Fun With Bead-Patterns.com Yahoo Group.
At the first BSNH meeting, I saw exquisite seed bead jewelry done by several members, polymer clay beads done by artist Ann Dillon, lampworking beads by several NH artists, and a bead crochet project in progress with a woman learning the technique. I was enthralled. Discussion of an upcoming bead retreat convinced me to join the society. A bead crochet class at the retreat taught me the basics.
Once I learned more about beading, I started sharing what I knew through the Yahoo Groups and the bead society. I have taught throughout New Hampshire, and I became active in several Yahoo Groups, such BeadChat, BeadCrochet, and Beadyshenanigans. I teach techniques through programs at the Bead Society of New Hampshire, and have taught classes at Michaels in Concord, NH. Nothing compares to the happy look on a new beader's face when she or he learns a new technique and walks away with a beautiful piece of beadwork, so I thoroughly enjoy these classes.
I started Need For Beads because I could not stop designing jewelry and there is only so much of it you can wear. I enjoy sharing my designs with others, and so I went into business.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Selling patterns is the biggest part of my business, as part of my customer base wants to learn how to do the designs I create. Another market I address is those customers who want a piece that is one of a kind and exactly to their taste. I frequently do commissioned work that will give my customers exactly what I want. Some of my bead crochet bracelet are based upon Irish or Scottish family plaids. as long as I have a sample of what that family plaid looks like, I can create a piece based upon the colors in the design
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I created a Diamondback Rattlesnake Necklace as a commissioned piece for customer. She had specific ideas in mind on the colors that she wanted for her piece, and since this was going to be a long necklace and relatively expensive, I wanted to make sure that she got exactly what she wanted. I did several tests pieces, and looked at several wholesaler websites to find exactly the right color, and finished beads that would work well with her idea. it took several weeks justifying the materials. However, the finished piece was one with which she was obviously thrilled. The necklace was finished with a sterling silver snake head and tail clasp.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Have an idea of what you would like to learn, where you are willing to take a class, and how much you would like to pay. If you are buying a pattern, do not be afraid to ask questions after your purchase.
If you are buying jewelry, I understand this is hard to do sight unseen, which is why I have a guarantee to take back any piece you do not like or will not enjoy. It is important to me that my customers are satisfied, because it is their testimonials that encourage potential buyers to take a chance and trust me.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
My first magazine article appeared in Issue 4 of Bead-patterns.com The Magazine. One of my tutorials was published as part of a beading calendar for 2007, and another for a 2008 calendar. The 2009 Bead A Day calendar has two patterns published in it, and the 2010 calendar has several. One of the watches I designed appeared in a C&GG catalog, and a bead crochet necklace was featured in Bead Babe's May 2006 Brag Page. Several other pieces have been on Bead Babe's brag pages, and in November 2008, Bead Babe spotlighted my work. Bead-patterns.com recognized my work as a designer in May 2006, naming me Designer of the Month.