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Why our Bead Shop means so much to me…
Before pom poms, before tie dye, before crochet… for me, there were beads.
Jewelry making was my childhood craft of choice. It was so ingrained in my being that I didn’t even realize that my love of making jewelry defined me a crafter. It was just something that made me, me — like loving mint chip ice cream and having sleepovers with my friends.
My love for jewelry making originated from my parents who were both in the jewelry business: my mom was a fine jeweler and jewelry designer, and my dad worked in the watch business. Jewelry was always part of our family identity.
One of my most treasured possessions is my mom’s box of semi-precious beads. Since her jewelry medium of choice was diamonds, she let me dip into this assortment of pearl, gem, and glass beads — though they were often too intimidatingly beautiful to use in my adolescent creations.
This box of beads now lives in my office amongst my personal bead stash and is a wonderful reminder of my late mother and her influence on my love of jewelry making.
When I was about 10 or 11, crystal bead bracelets became a big trend in my town. My mom always roughly knew the cost of jewelry available in stores (don’t even get her started on sterling silver jewelry from Tiffany’s!), so when she saw the $20 price tag on a single beaded stretch bracelet, she encouraged me to make my own.
I’ll never forget going into New York City with her to visit an underground bead shop in the diamond district where we purchased crystal beads in the most beautiful array of jewel-toned colors.
What started as a fun and fashionable DIY project quickly led me to sell my creations to friends on the playground for half the price of what our local boutiques were selling them for — and at a 100% markup! I believe this early lesson in business (creative business, at that!) is what ignited my entrepreneurial spark.
In high school, a costume jewelry and gift shop called Adornments opened in my town. A family friend, knowing of my interest in jewelry and accessories, introduced me to the owner — after which I pretty much began work immediately.
In addition to helping customers select jewelry for gifts and to wear to prom and bat mitzvahs, I was the resident jewelry repair person, often found in the back of the shop gluing crystals into empty settings and closing jump rings on broken chains.
Flash forward to life after college when I entered the working world… After a couple of years at a business I wasn’t very passionate about, I had another fortuitous introduction — this time with a girl named Ali Galgano who owned an online fashion jewelry boutique called Charm & Chain. (She’s now a truly incredible fine jewelry designer — check out her creations!)
Upon meeting with Ali, she immediately gave me the opportunity to help her out writing blog posts and sharing email content ideas, all about costume jewelry! I stayed on at Charm & Chain for a number of years and, in addition to my marketing and e-comm responsibilities, I also eventually helped to concept the brand’s fine and costume jewelry lines — one of my coolest career experiences to date!
My experience working for Charm & Chain inspired me to pursue my own creative small business, perhaps with some costume jewelry love worked in…
In 2016 I launched theneonteaparty.com as a blog, and guess what the first DIY was? Yep! A piece of jewelry. This is one of my favorite necklace designs that I STILL rock all the time. (Stay tuned, we might have a kit in the works for it…!)
Over the years, we’ve shared some beading and jewelry tutorials here and there, but it was always a category I knew we should expand full-out. Finally, with this week’s launch of The TNTP Bead Shop, we have done just that!
You can now shop from our collection of favorite beads, string, tools, and findings to create your own playful-yet-polished jewelry.
I am beyond overjoyed to go deep into the world of beading and jewelry with you all and make some seriously awesome wearable creations together. If you have any product or tutorial ideas or requests, my line is always open!! Shoot me a DM on Instagram @theneonteaparty or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can’t wait to see what we all create!!
Peace, love & neon,