We opened Beadabeada on July 21st 1975, in a flea market in Pontiac, Michigan. My husband was an art student at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. I was attending Center for Creative Studies (C.C.S.) across the street. We were living in the Cass Corridor, the hive of Detroit's art scene.
In other words, we were poor artists. He had a sign company that brought in the rent, food, and that's about all. In the spring of '75 a friend of mine asked me to go to The Birmingham Bead Store in Birmingham, Michigan. At the time there were 2 bead stores in the state, and to my surprise there was a line out the door. Literally. Really, a 15 minute wait just to get in.
I spent $13.28, a small fortune, and I was totally smitten. My first necklace was creative, to say the least. Mostly string, Ah, the first one.
A couple of months later we had an opportunity to open a store in a friend's flea market. What the hell, we didn't really have jobs and it was 4:00 to 9:00pm Thursday-Sunday. Not much of a stretch. And, it was just creative enough, we could open a bead store. My family was polite....mostly. You're what?
So off to N.Y.C. we went with $2400.00 between us. A one day trip in at 10:00am out at 8:00pm. OMG what a nightmare. We dug through a warehouse for 4 hours. No Help. No Suggestions. No Anything. They suggested a deli down the street for lunch. There was a large cockroach in my egg salad sandwich. Welcome to the bead business.
Back to Frankel & Son. One of the owners, Irving, told us the shipment would be C.O.D cash. My husband threw a fit. I said fine, and I met my first mentor. That man taught me the nuances of the bead business for many years to come.
From the moment we opened we made money. We did $92.50 the first night. Wow, and in 4 hours. In a year we were ready to expand. I grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan so my thought was somewhere on Woodward Ave. With it's tons of traffic and exposure.... it worked. Our retail showroom is still in the same location 32206 Woodward Royal Oak, Mi.
Within three years, we were importing from China. Beadabeada was one of the first to have Cloisonne beads, Cinnabar beads Jade carvings, and imported Semiprecious or Gemstone beads. We printed our first wholesale bead catalog around 1978 and began shipping across the country. The wholesale bead department is our main business today. We pioneered several bead stringing techniques and started a restringing business. It's still active today. In the eighties I had a finished beaded necklace line named Cassia. Both Macy's and Saks carried my necklaces and bracelets.
We have found the bead business to be varied, and vast. With unlimited potential.
Today we are one of the very few bead stores with 36 years of solid customer service and buying expertise. Our bead buyers have over 50 years of combined experience and savvy bargaining skills. We have global connections with suppliers that give us a heads up on new bead trends. One of our top goals is to bring you the latest and greatest before anyone else. Our shipping and billing department has an unparalleled accuracy rate. You can buy with confidence from us. Enjoy.
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