Thursday, December 18, 2008

Loving Our New Prices on Gemstone Rounds

This holiday season we put up our Christmas Tree and Snowman Earrings. I thought our prices were good, and then I started looking around. We blew away the competition with the trees at $5.75 including sterling silver findings. One competitor was daring to sell the trees at $10.99! They had one more tier to their tree, but come on...that's a bit steep!

Anyway, we got better pricing from our gemstone rounds supplier a few weeks ago due to the volume we buy. I was sooo happy! I spent the next two weeks working on getting them repriced to bring you lower prices and they went up this week. This afternoon I had some free time so I went around and checked out our competition and I'm delighted to say we're stomping them once again. I found one competitor with better prices, until I zoomed in. The stones weren't round...whoops!

The best part (I think) about our gemstone rounds is the consistency in color and quality. Every batch is the same color...no changes and no surprises. I've had tons of suppliers have me try to switch to them, and I always go back to my original supplier for the exceptional quality of stones they have to offer.

Take a look at our gemstone rounds and compare prices with other retailers. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at our prices. If you've tried them or have a comment, let me know below or send me an email to blog@eebeads.com

By the way, a new Challenge is coming in January so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Next Hot Thing?

I get a ton of emails from China offering new and sometimes really neat items. Then sometimes, I get emails that are just downright silly. I opened my email the other day to a subject that said "The Next Hot President Jewelry". Hmm...they couldnt be serious could they? They were. Obama jewelry. Well that set me off in giggles. Who would wear such things? The had bracelets, key chains, cell phone jewelry, earrings (shown here) and anything they could attach the heart charm with. Even if you LOVED Obama, would you wear this stuff? Leave me a comment below (it can be anonymous) or send me an email to blog@eebeads.com

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Holidays...this early?

I can't stand it anymore. I really can't. I've now been to three different stores that are playing Christmas music in the past week. Tonight I went to get groceries at a leading store and they have wreaths, poinsettas and Norfolk decorated pine trees sitting outside. Are you kidding me? It's not even Thanksgiving yet!!! If I was insane enough to buy a wreath tonight it would be a dead mess by Christmas. I found a few stores doing all this holiday stuff before Halloween, but I thought it was just a fluke. Now...I'm inundated and disgusted.

I admit it. I'm ready for the holidays at eebeads.com and I have a few graphics planned for putting up on the site, but that's AFTER Thanksgiving.

I heard on the news that retail sales are down right now...maybe it's because people want to wait to hear holiday music when it's closer TO the holiday and are avoiding these overly exuberant stores.

Are you disgusted? Is it too early or is it just me. Tell me honestly. Leave me a comment below (it can be anonymous) or send me an email to blog@eebeads.com and tell me your thoughts. I promise a pretty little holiday type show at eebeads.com, but when I think it's appropriate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stunning Natural Material Pendants

I am so excited about a new line I've added to eebeads.com this morning....but let me tell you the full story. A salesman of mine (we'll call him Salesman Sam) came in about 2 months ago with glass, metal and many other wonderful things to make me drool. He said he had one more line to show me, but I told him I spent my quota on the other items. He said I must just peek. Well, I did more than peek, I bought 9 absolutely gorgeous and unique natural material pendants from him.
Only 3 are shown in the picture here, but trust me, you must see them all. Sam has known the folks that use these pendants for years. They actually have these pendants custom made for them in the Philippines and make finished jewelry with them and market them to high end department stores. Sam has begged that he made the pendants available to jewelry making suppliers and they said they would give it a try. All orders are custom made so it takes 2 months to fill any order. I tried to be patient in the waiting...

These pendants are one of a kind because each one made individually by hand. The base for the top 6 on the page is manufactured lucite. Each piece of shell, bamboo or onion skin is then attached to the pendant by hand and then a clear laminate is applied for complete durability.

The blackpen shell pendants pictures didn't do them justice. The shells are the deepest coffee color and transparent when held up to the light. The shells are polished and then etched to give the crocodile pattern.

I wasn't sure how these pendants would go over, so I didn't order a ton of them. My employees all drooled along with me when they arrived and were totally depressed when I said they had to wait until the second shipment in order to buy them. Sorry gals but I promise more are on the way!

Take a look at these beauties and tell me what you think of them by leaving a comment here or sending me an email to blog@eebeads.com. Am I nuts or these as stunning and incredible as my two month wait promised they'd be?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Squirrel Visits eebeads.com

Boy did I have an exciting weekend. I came into work alone on Saturday to get some stuff done. I turned off the alarm and heard all kinds of banging (then my heart joined in) and then it just stopped. A couple things were out of place in the warehouse, but nothing dramatic. I called Allen and he said it was the roofer fixing our roof...but there was no truck to go with said roofer. Since the noise stopped, I just blew it off, put the couple items back and got to work. Few more noises, but nothing like the inital banging.

On Monday (we were closed for the holiday) I again came in alone and there was MORE banging. This time Allen said it was the wind (it wasn't a windy day). I told him we had something in the warehouse but he said "Fear is the mind killer". I was getting annoyed. Went walking around the warehouse and found proof! There was a paper organizer that fell off a shelf that was pretty dusty, perfect for showing...squirrel footprints! The squirrel left all the offices alone except, you got it, the disbeliever Allen! hehehe (Well, his office has a window so the squirrel was probably trying to get out).

So, now I had proof and we put a call into the landlord. He said to open all the bay doors and our squirrel would leave. No such luck. I called Willow Grove Animal Control and they never returned my call. I called 3 exterminators and they all wanted hundreds of dollars to trap the little guy, couldn't come out right away, etc., etc.

Meanwhile, my warehouse is getting trashed. The worst part was our warehouse was a machine shop previously and all the rafters have inches of black, sooty, greasy, metal dust. Guess where Mr. Squirrel was running around? Yep, all our counters, shelves, computers, EVERYTHING was being rained on while he scampered around.

And to make things worse, it was like he wanted to stay! This morning (we called the employees to warn them) Michelle is the first to show up and there he is sitting in the window (that's the picture of him) like he's all at home! Michelle parks in front of this window and said she was laughing so hard she couldn't park. The bay doors were open for hours and he just stayed up in the rafters hopping around. There was no way this guy was leaving without encouragement.

We were able to get a catch and release trap from a friend this morning but he wouldn't go in it. Finally this afternoon Allen and Dennis wrangled him back into Allen's office. We locked him in, Allen bravely went in and removed the screen from the window and we all hooted and hollered and he finally went flying out the window into the woods. Ugh!

We really think he planned to stay. There was evidence that he had nuts stashed all around our warehouse so this wasn't his first visit. I bet he never comes hiding or looking for his nuts again. He was trapped in here at least 5 days. Happyily, he's back in Mother Nature and probably thanking his lucky stars he got away from all us crazy people.

Funny thing is, I don't think he took any beads!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Joys of Photography

It takes a lot of work to photograph all those Jewelry Making Ideas I have for you at eebeads.com, but it's a lot of fun too. Years ago we used to just lay the jewelry on a scanner and scan away, but not anymore. Scanning is a very easy (not to mention inexpensive) way to get pictures of your jewelry up on the web, but I was picky and wanted more.

After a lot of investment in time and money Allen (hubby and co-owner of eebeads.com) figured it all out and what you see today is the results. It also didn't hurt that my brother is a professional photographer. He lives 800 miles away, but through the miracle of email, he helped us get where we are today. The only problem is little Ms. Picky (aka me) wanted more than Allen had the patience for. "Can you move it a little to the left? Can you try it at a different angle? Could you move the light to the right?" He's patient, but there's only so much he can take. So I took over and we've all been happy now. Yep, I take all the photos that appear on our site. I know a lot of our competitors have multiple photographers, but we can't afford that and I'd probably be miserable anyway.

The trickiest things have always been the earrings. We tried laying them down flat and shooting from above, but some earrings just wouldn't cooperate. A perfect example is the angel breast cancer awareness ribbon earrings that I'm putting up this week. As you can see, there's no way those little angels and ribbons would have laid flat properly. In came Allen. He made the little "stage" you see above to shoot earrings and I think it's just perfect! Let me know what you think by sending me an email to blog@eebeads.com or leave a comment below.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Crystal Glue-In Charms

The last time I asked you why something wasn't selling (the Psychedelic Tye-Dye Beads) you gave me some good feedback by the way of comments and email so it's time to ask you again.

On Friday I put up a new line of Crystal Glue-In Charms that you can customize by gluing any color of crystal flat back you want. I thought they were just about the neatest thing I've seen in a long time and got 10 different designs (not all shown here) and 8 colors of sparkling flat backs. Running a scan on what sold this weekend, it wasn't these little guys, and my other confusion is a lot of the folks who did buy the charms didn't buy the flat backs.

So...why aren't they selling? You all made it perfectly clear to me via comments and emails back in July that Hot Fix Crystals were a bad idea, but these aren't glued to clothing, they're stuck to these adorable little charms. Or did I pick bad designs (there were others to choose from)? Take a look at the Crystal Glue-In Charms and please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or sending me an email to blog@eebeads.com

By the way, for whatever odd reason, the Psychedelic Tye Dye Beads started selling about a month after they were up...who knows why! :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Out of Stocks?

I had so many wonderful comments left here and suggestions via email about the last post (the red X in our shopping cart has been replaced with a more subtle purple trash can by the way) that I decided to submit another question for you that Allen and I need help with...out of stock items.

What a bunch of our competitors do is remove an item from their site completely if it's out of stock. In our site redesign we could do that and that's where we're stuck. The picture shows what an item at eebeads.com looks like right now if it's out of stock. The best part (we think) is you can sign up to be notified when an item is back in stock. Would you rather not see the item at all or do you like it the way it is?

The other problem is the Inspirational Jewelry Making Ideas we have up. Here's an example: November's Jewel Necklace If we had simply removed the out of stock items, and you clicked the "Add All Above to My Cart" button, you'd only get the items we had in stock and probably not even realize you didn't order the complete idea. Again, which way do you think is better?

Ponder our dilemma and leave a comment below or email me at blog@eebeads.com
Can't wait to hear what YOU think!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Got an Opinion? I'm looking for yours!

Allen (my husband, joint business owner and fellow bead nut) has been working away at redesigning the shopping cart at eebeads.com for a while now. This is just phase one in the redesign of all things eebeads.com which I promise is coming to a monitor near you at some point in the future. Anyway, we're pretty happy with it and it is SO much easier to check out now. There's just one thing that neither one of us (me with the art degree and him with the computer science degree - what a troublesome combination) can agree on and it's the "remove an item from my cart X" you can see above in bright red.

I don't like the red X because it looks like something you'd see on a paper from school where the teacher said you made a mistake and were bad. (By the way, did I mention I was a teacher for a while and refused to use red for corrections...surprise, surprise, I used purple :) I made a teal X but that just didn't work either.

So now it's up to you...what color should we be using or is the red fine and we're overreacting (and over thinking)? Or is there another type of icon we could use other than an X? If you want to try the actual cart and see it live, just visit eebeads.com, add something to your cart and you can see it in action!

To let me know your thoughts, leave me a comment below (it can be anonymous) or send an email to me at blog@eebeads.com or bug my husband at TheDigitalBead@eebeads.com (By the way, I know he'd love an email from you telling him what you think of his new cart...you can try all the steps and if you don't want to place an order, just don't complete the order by hitting the "Place Order" button. I get tons of fun email from you and he gets only the problem emails...make his day and tell him an honest opinion of his hard work :)

Later.... Thank you for all the comments and emails!!! We tried different things with the X and in the end went with a light purple trash can. We think it looks MUCH better and appreciated all the suggestions you sent us.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hot Fix or Not Hot Fix?

It's time to ask your opinion and have you help decide what we might add to eebeads.com. Hot Fix Swarovski rhinestone crystals...ever heard of them? Hot Fix crystals are flat rhinestones that are attached with a tool (that costs around $15.95) to fabric and other surfaces by heating up the special adhesive on the back. Some of the girls here think they'd be a good addition to our site, but I'm not so sure. So you tell me... Do you use them? Would you consider trying them if we got them? What would you attach the stones to? Send me an email at blog@eebeads.com or leave a comment below. Can't wait to read your opinions!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Psychedelic Tye Dye Beads!

Here I come to you with a question... What is it you don't like about these beads? I'm stunned! I put them up on the site last Saturday and was just flabbergasted at the lack of sales for these beauties on Monday. I think they're amazing myself. Allen, my husband and tye dye junkie, picked out the 10 designs and when they arrived everyone oood and ahhhd over them. These little guys are made by hand in South Africa. The canes actually start out at about 8" in diameter and methodically made smaller to create the beads you get.

So do me a favor and take a look at them. Then send me an email to blog@eebeads.com or post a comment below and tell me what you think and why they didn't sell so well. Thank you!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bead Collections Challenge - The Opinions Are In!

A couple weeks ago I asked for five challengers to be sent one of our $11.95 Bead Collections. They could choose the Bead Collection they wanted or I would send them one of my choice. Only 3 people asked for specific Bead Collections. They were to make something with the beads, write up a paragraph about what they thought of the collections and then send me the picture and paragraph. The results of this challenge are below.

To see what the challengers created, click on the picture of the Bead Collection they got.

Peacock Collection:
Jill Liles, Fuqua-Varnia, North Carolina
Here are a few of the pieces I made with the peacock collection. The only thing I added was gold craft wire. :I found the beads to be a good value for the price - there were certainly a lot of them. Two bracelets, a necklace, and a pair of earrings, and there are still some left. I wouldn't have bought this pack myself because I tend to go for silver not gold, but this set gave me a chance to play out of my zone. A few of the beads - especially the top drilled - had broken, but not too many to make the whole set unusable. I think some of the problem selling them online is that you can't "see" what's in it - and $11.95 is a good-size gamble for something that may not work for you at all.


Zebra Collection:
Katherine Scott, Hooksett, New Hampshire
I was willing to take any collection but I really hoped I wouldn't get the zebra one. When it arrived I wasn't sure what to do but then I started making aliens. I teach jewelry making in an after school program and Bead People (aliens) are one of the most popular projects. Once I made the pendant and the people earrings I decided to try to make as many projects as I could. I only added the little white glass sticks and findings, the rest was all in the collection. I ended up with 2 necklaces, 2 bracelets and 3 pairs of earrings. I loved the variety of shapes and materials in the collection and was able to make the pieces so easily because everything was so well matched up. I took the finished pieces to work and they were popular. I gave one bracelet to a volunteer who works in my classroom she wanted to buy it. Sometimes looking in my own bead stash gives me too many choices, this collection was the perfect size with the right amount of variety. Thanks so much for the beads and the challenge, I enjoyed them both and will look into some of the other collections.


Sherbet Collection:
Danielle Hurt, Martin, Oregon
Once I was "in" the challenge I started building my creation in my head. When I got the beads in my hands, that changed......After I stared at the package of beads for 3 days wondering what on earth I was going to make, I finally got brave and unloaded the package on my beading table. I was determined to use all the beads provided but in the end I did leave out 22(actually 26 as one of 4 matching beads was not drilled so all four of those didn't make the cut). The other beads left out were small silver and gold spacer types.

After laying it out 4 times and stringing it twice I finally liked what I came up with. I started this one unusual for me, from the center out. The only thing I added was the Mother of Pearl focal bead with the green leaf and the clasp. I think this is a casual "jeans and t-shirt" necklace, multi-colored to go with anything.

The possibilities are endless with these collection packages. The price is right too. You certainly can't go out and buy ONE decent pair of earrings for under $12.00. I will definitely be purchasing another collection or two! This challenge was fun.


Mother Earth Collection:
Elizabeth Trask, Wollaston, Massachusetts
The Mother Earth collection is exactly as the photo shows. Coming up with a design wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I believe that more beads of the same kind would be more useful to me rather than only 4 to 6 each of many kinds. I finally came up with an idea for an 18” necklace, and then I had fun with it ? I even gave it a name!

“Springtime in Wyoming” contains 6 beads from the collection. I added an earthy colored glass leaf as a focal bead, red and green crystals to brighten up all the browns and tans, and enough small gold beads to make up the 18”. The tan beads in the middle remind me of the plains in Wyoming, then as you move toward the mountains (where my dear friends live) you pass through meadows of bright flowers. The beads that look like smoky quartz are the mountains separated by clear little bubbles from all the spring waterfalls! Silly? Maybe, but I had a good time. Time ran out for me before I could make the earrings using two more of the larger bicones, tiny gold beads, and more green crystals.

The more I look at the rest of the beads, the more ideas come to use them with other beads. There are several other nice little sets of beads that can be mixed and matched.


Arctic Ice Collection:
Dawn Sickerott, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania

these are the pictures of all the things i made out of the bead challenge beads. i did add 4 flower beads to the necklace, which were from one of the mystery bags. these beads reminded me of the seashore especially the swirls ones. they had a good variety of shapes and sizes. also a nice array of color. i would get these again for someone that requested them or something like them or color array, request. but as for using them to make jewelry to resell, they would be kinda pricey for the market i sell too. i enjoyed working with them though.


Thank you to everyone who participated in the Bead Collections Challenge. I hope their projects and honest reviews of these collections will inspire you to try them yourself! If you do and you'd like me to post your comments here, just email me your review to blog@eebeads.com All the collections are now on sale at 15% Off until Tuesday, May 27th! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Silver Core Lampwork Beads

Every once in a while I get really excited about new beads going up on the site and this week is one of those times. Don't get me wrong, if I don't love it, I don't sell it...period. But these little beauties are something to behold.

About 6 months ago, one of my main suppliers sent out a flyer about silver core beads. Looked somewhat promising until I inspected them closely. They were pretty simple lampwork beads from China with a silver or gold plated core. Fun idea and I know they're the "in thing" now, but the lampwork was just ordinary and I couldn't see selling ordinary.

Last week, one of my favorite sales folks, Peter, came to see me and said he had silver and gold core beads made by Sassoon Beads of China. I was not ready to be impressed until he showed me another site that's selling similar beads for $25.00 each. Yep...EACH! Are you kidding me? So he pulled out his samples. Unbeadlievable! Gorgeous even! And the price...well, let me just get your juices flowing that these beads are not going to cost you anywhere NEAR $25.00 each.
The best part is the colors...they're just stunning. Swirls and bold colors that make your brain just spin with ideas. The solid colors with dots have air bubbles in the dots (see the cobalt bead in the center above). Air bubbles!!! I have to say I fell in love and bought a bunch.

If you'd like to see these beauties, click here. And wait till you see the price! Don't think they're "cheap"...trust me, they're not...they're high quality beads at incredibly low prices. One of our competitors is selling the exact same beads, from the exact same supplier, for a lot more than me. Once you get these little beauties, send me an email at blog@eebeads.com and let me know what you think of them. Am I nuts? Or are these beads as remarkable as I think they are?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bead Collection Challenge Begins!

You've been asking and I've been thinking...what to challenge you with next? One of my favorite products is our Bead Collections (shown to the left is the Peacock Collection). Not a huge seller though and I've often wondered why... I admit they're a bit expensive at $11.95 for 150+ beads, but we've done all the work at mixing together colors that go great together. Maybe that's it too...you want to do the mixing?

Our Bead Collections are much different than other companies mixes because they are created in small batches. That means that every bead in the Bead Collection has a partner so they're great for symmetrical designs and earrings. There's a mix of Czech and Indian glass and other materials based on the specific collection, plus a smattering of metals for interest. I'd like to see what 5 of you think of our Bead Collections so...

Here's the challenge:
  • I will send you one package of our Bead Collections valued at $11.95. You can see them at the top of our Collections page of the site (look for the $11.95 priced collections). You can request a specific Bead Collection, but if I get more than one request for the same collection, I'll send you a different one as the challengers send me emails. In other words, each participant will have a different Bead Collection. Please keep in mind you might not get a collection you love the colors of!
  • You will have two weeks from the mailing date to make a project with these and any other beads you want to add. That means you're going to need to get working right away so please make sure you have the time.
  • When you're done with your creation, email me a picture of what you made and a blurb giving me your opinion of these beads. You must also agree to let me post your full name and city and state where you live.
  • If you've already participated in another challenge from my blog, please let someone else play this time alright? :)

I now have 5 people who will participate in this challenge. Look for another entry soon that shows you what the beaders made and what they thought of the beads!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Redesigning all things eebeads.com

What a momentous title...it really means I'm asking for YOUR help. Allen and I are working on redesigning eebeads.com (just the website, don't panic :). We have a marketing firm working on ideas and a couple customers who have commented on the website giving us their feedback, but we're kind of at a stand still. Although we have ideas on what we'd like to do, it's pretty useless unless you, our beady, internet surfing customer, like what we do.

So I've got a bit of a challenge for you (another bead challenge is coming REALLY soon, I promise): Take a look at eebeads.com and surf around a bit and then tell me what you want eebeads.com to be like for you! I really mean this...if you were remaking the eebeads.com website, what would you want it to look like?
Here are some things we're debating on that you might be able to solve arguments for:

  1. Should we keep the tab navigation on top or switch to a left side navigation bar?
  2. If we go with left side navigation, should all categories be outlined or should you have to click to get to the subcategories as with the tabs?
  3. Are the colors on the tabs at the top too bright?
  4. Is the background distracting?
  5. (This one gets wordy...sorry) Most sites have an one item per line for sale with an image to the left and text and the option to buy to the right, we have a table and put a lot more items per line...is this too much or do you like seeing more at once?
  6. Is the home page cluttered or do you like all the information you find there?
  7. Is there anything on the site you find confusing or completely baffles you?
  8. Anything else you'd change?

I really appreciate you looking over our site and giving us feedback. We're working to make this site the best it can be and the easiest for you to find what you're looking for. Send any and all comments (nothing wrong with a negative comment!) to me at blog@eebeads.com or leave me a comment below. And thank you in advance!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

African Bead Challenge - The Opinions Are In!

About a month ago, I posted a challenge for beaders about our African Trade Beads. I sent 5 beaders one package of Cobalt Bottle Glass from Ghana, one package of Silver Roundish Beads from Ethiopia, and one bag containing a little more than half a strand of Christmas Beads from Ghana (older) all shown to the above left. Unlike my last challenge with Peruvian beads, this time the beaders got to see the beads before committing to the challenge...much better way to do it I think.

Below are each beaders comments about the beads and what they made with them. I'm posting exactly what they wrote to me (positive or negative). Each of the small pictures is clickable so you can see a larger picture.



Lisa Devos from New Hope, Pennsylvania

When I opened the package with the beads, I immediately loved the cobalt glass and silver beads but was initially at a loss how to combine them with the Christmas beads. After looking at them for a few days, I decided to combine them with some cobalt blue seed beads I had lying around, use some wire for the silver round beads and introduce the Christmas beads as an accent color. I am very pleased with the way they all look together and it will make a nice piece to add to my tribal belly dance jewelry collection. I am going to have to buy more and make earrings and a head piece as well :)


Debbie Gilligan from Troy, New York

The African beads aren't perfect but they have character and the colors are beautiful. I used seed beads inside the Bottle Glass beads to compensate for the large hole and center them on the wire. I have a tendency to be symmetrical in my designs so I slid the Christmas beads off their string in small sections to keep the order random. I added MT AB Cobalt Druks, Bali style spacers, and my favorite toggle. I remembered that I had gotten zebra charms in a goody bag and immediately got them out to make the earrings. This was a perfect time to use them! I wore the set to work today and told everyone about your website and blog.


Sharon M. Harris from Chattanooga, Tennessee
I did not care for the African beads. I prefer beads that are more uniform in size and shape. I also prefer a smooth shiny finish on beads. Also, these beads are a little too heavy to wear comfortably. In general I prefer pastel colors instead of the stronger primary colors of these beads. That being said, I found I liked the necklace better than I expected once it was made, though I probably will not wear it.


Julianne Kurpiewski from Wilmington, North Carolina


I knew before I even got the beads that I would love the Christmas beads. Their small size, bright colors, tiny stripes and random patterns are perfect.

I decided to make a bracelet because I love bracelets and I'm not a big fan of necklaces. The blue glass beads were a beautiful color and I loved their frosted texture but they were a little too big for my tastes...which is why I didn't use them in my bracelet. I'm sure they'd be perfect size for a necklace but I just haven't thought of what I want to do with them. The silver beads were neat but I had trouble with their holes. Some of the holes were really big and others were a lot smaller. I ended up putting the small Christmas beads inside the silver beads and then used spacers to prevent the silver beads slipping over the Christmas beads.

I do love my bracelet. I've worn it several times and people always comment on how cute the Christmas beads are.



Debby Boltman of Bothell, Washington
I needed a new anklet for my Disney trip we are leaving on tomorrow and I thought the African beads were charming and would be perfect for such a project. The slight imperfections provide just the right amount of eclectic appeal for my project.




Thank you to all the beaders who participated in this challenge! African trade beads are very unique. The beads are old and worn and just downright funky at times. Hopefully these ideas and comments will get you to take another look at our wonderful African trade beads and give them a try!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

House Rabbits and Easter - Not a Good Combination

I haven't done this in my blog yet, but now
I'm going to jump on my soap box for this post. If you've been to the bottom of the homepage at eebeads.com, you'll see a banner that says "Easter and Bunnies Don't Mix". If you click on it, you'll get a page from the House Rabbit Society telling you why buns make a bad choice for kids at Easter.

Allen and I have the second house rabbit we've owned and his name is Domino. Let me start with the joys of owning this, and any other house rabbit. Once they're fixed, they're wonderfully loving, frisky and calm all in the same day. They're pretty easy to litter train (yes, they use litter boxes just like cats, but not cat litter). They can run, jump around and flip around (called binking) and then they'll settle down next to you. It's just the greatest feeling to be sitting on the floor and Domino will come up next to you and flop down for his petting...and talk about soft and snuggly...it just doesn't get any better than that.

Well, this sounds great! Why wouldn't I advocate getting a bun for a child at Easter? Here comes the bad part. Most house rabbits are quite fearfull of children. No matter if you tell your child to be quiet and calm around the rabbit (a must) you probably know that children are frisky and rarely calm. Even around adults, rabbits can be quite skittish (as Domino is). Another problem with kids is that children always want pick rabbits up and "cuddle" them. Rabbits are prey animals and feel trapped when picked up. The only time I pick Domino up is for a trip to the vet. And speaking of vets...if you get a baby rabbit, it'll eventually go into heat and you will have a frisky, biting, spraying (marking) bunny on your hands. Spaying (for females) will cost you a minimum of $200 (males are cheaper) and then do you even HAVE a rabbit savvy vet in your area? They're really hard to find...trust me. Spaying and neutering is just the beginning. Rabbits can have all types of illnesses...when we got Domino, he had an ear infection and required injections, that we had to give every day. Domesticated rabbits can't be kept outside in a hutch. They just can't handle the different temperature changes as well as other animals. And if left outside...they will eventually be forgotten (Domino was found abandoned and loose in a caring families yard that caught him and took him to the shelter). How will your bun jump, run and play if left outside in a tiny hutch? House rabbits can be kept in a big cage (larger than what the average pet store sells, Domino has a two story large dog kennel) for most of the day, but need playtime in the morning and evening. A minimum of 2 hours twice a day for them to run around a rabbit safe room or rooms. Rabbit safe you ask? Yep, they'll chew on all your cords and cables (so they have to be covered), they'll chew on wood furniture, dig on rugs and bedding. You've got to make the rooms safe and then supervise the rabbit when out. Rabbits can live about 10 years or longer, are you ready for that type of commitment?

A great option if you decide to get a house rabbit is to find a local rabbit shelter. There are House Rabbit Societies all around the country if you can't find a local shelter. We were lucky to have The Rabbit Habit shelter about 10 minutes from our home where we were introduced to, and chosen by, Domino.

I'm certainly NOT saying you shouldn't get a rabbit. Rabbits are my absolute favorite pet. When our first rabbit died, Allen and I discussed getting a dog (now that we owned a house) and opted for another rabbit. If you get one for your child, know that YOU, not the child has to be resposible for it's welfare. I touched on a few things, but the best site for information is the House Rabbit Society's website. That site will give you ALL the information you need.

Whew. Okay I said it. If you have to get a rabbit for your child this Easter, read the above links and consider getting a rabbit from a local shelter. Let me know your thoughts by emailing me at blog@eebeads.com or leaving a comment below and this year for your child, make your bunny a stuffed toy or a tasty chocolate one. Happy Easter!

p.s. A couple weeks later: I thought I was a bit harsh in this posting, but then I went on craigslist.org and just in the Philadelphia area (where I live) there were HUNDREDS of unwanted rabbits listed for free or for sale...just something to think about...I wish I could take them all in.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

African Trade Bead Challenge is Here!

If you heard about my Peruvian Bead Challenge and have been waiting for another, now is your chance! This new challenge involves African Trade Beads. Many of our African Trade beads were created in Europe and traded in Africa during the 1800s. Some beads are newer like the bottle glass beads. These beads are old and worn and are not for those looking for a "clean, perfect bead".

I have one supplier for these beads and his name is Zakari. He is a delightful man that hails from Nigeria. I received my first email from him about 10 years ago. I love him, but his English isn't all that great and I didn't really understand what he wanted of me. About a week later, a HUGE box arrived at my warehouse overflowing with African Trade Beads and I was hooked. Although a little worn, these beads are colorful and funky and unique beads on the market.

So what is the challenge you ask? I will send you three packages of some of our most popular beads. One package of Cobalt Bottle Glass from Ghana (these beads are newer), one package of Silver Roundish Beads from Ethiopia (older), and one bag containing a little more than half a strand of Christmas Beads from Ghana (older) all shown to the above right. You will have three weeks from the mailing date to make a project with these and any other beads you want to add (they don't have to be from eebeads.com). When you're done, email me a picture of what you made and a blurb giving me your opinion of these beads. You must also agree to let me post your full name and city and state where you live.

This challenge is now closed...I have the five participants. The beads will be mailing out soon and in about 3 weeks I'll post what the participants made and their opinions of these beads. It'll be fun to see what the 5 different designs are so check back!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'm Now Offering You a Bead Bonus of the WEEK!

Are you a member of our email update list? If you are, then you know that we offer you a free bead Bonus of the Month with a minimum purchase. Well, lots of you have been asking if I'd make it a weekly bonus so you can get it more than once a month. Well, I heard you and I changed it. Starting this Saturday, I'll have a new Bonus of the Week you can get when you spend $40 or more! That's right...a new giveaway every single week. These will be our same, high quality bonus packs that we offered monthly. Let me know what you think of them or what you'd like to see in the future by emailing me at blog@eebeads.com or leaving me a comment below. If you're not a member of our list, you can sign up by clicking here. I hope you love this new offer that you asked for!

Oh and by the way... I loved when we did the Peruvian Bead Challenge so I'll be offering another Challenge with different beads very soon where you can get free beads and send in your opinions. Keep an eye out on my blog for the new Challenge coming soon!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rejects in the Bead World?

Ever wonder where some of the wonderful things in bead land come from? I most certainly do. Last year, two HOT new products came to the bead market: wire protectors (also known as wire guardians) and crimp covers. For a while, we had a hard time keeping these items in stock (okay, a lot of the time).

One of my favorite sales reps, Peter, came for a visit and we were chatting about new products and where the ideas for them come from. He said to me "Now that was a genius who figured out what to do with those rejects and how to sell them." So here's a quiz....what item was he talking about? The crimp covers were the "rejects". Crimp covers are seamed beads that didn't seal and would normally have been thrown out. The first person that emailed me the correct answer was Debbie Gilligan of Troy, NY and I'll be sending her a pack of plated crimp covers for free!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cutting Heavy Chains...duh!

Last week, our idea of the week was a Made with Love Charm Bracelet. I was the one who came up with the idea and I was delighted with how it turned out. Now don't fall off your chair with the next sentence. Everyone here was in total shock that I used crystals...I like crystals, they're just not my favorite bead *gasp*. I know...I'm weird. Anyway, my bracelet idea didn't sell well and I think I know why. Under the chain in the materials list was the following statement: "Please note: This heavy chain can not be cut with a normal side cutters, we had to buy a small bolt cutter to cut it. Because the links aren't soldered, it is possible to separate the links with two flat nose pliers, but it's difficult." Not a great thing to read if you're a beader...why bother, right?

I was irked. We've carried this chain (and another heavy one similar to this one) for a few months and the bolt cutter statement was on the page with the chain too. I thought it was only right to warn people, but come on! There's GOT to be an easier way. Duh! Ask the supplier how to cut it. I'm sure they all got a good laugh at my not asking sooner, but my supplier did email me back and tell me that this, and most heavy chains like it, can be cut with a memory wire cutter! I didn't believe him...but went and tried it. It's like a hot knife through butter...easy as can be.

So next time you need to cut a heavy chain, use that memory wire cutter you have. While you're at it, next time you think you've waited to long to ask a question, send me an email and I'll see if I can answer it for you!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Peruvian Bead Challenge - the opinions are in!

Two weeks ago I posted a little challenge about our Peruvian ceramic beads. I asked for 5 customers to let me mail them a package of beads and then for them to email me their opinions and pictures of what they made (if anything) with them. I've now heard from them and here are their comments as well as a picture of the beads that I sent them! I hope you enjoy their comments and it spurs you on to take a second look at these little works of art.

Annita Wilson, Wagoner, OK
"I just completed my project with the Peru Blue & Red Oval beads and I think it turned out quite well. I had some mixed blue "e" beads that had around for a while and they worked great with the color in the oval beads. Click here to see Annita's necklace and earrings. I really liked the beads, the colors were not what I usually gravitate towards but I liked the finished projects. I had a little difficulty deciding how to use them, I'm not used to such large holes in my beads so I had to adjust the size on the beads I used with them.."


Cheryl Verive, Carol Stream, IL
Cheryl was the only respondant who had a specific bead request.
"I really do like to quality of the beads. I think they are well made and a beautiful color blue. I have not had a chance to make anything with them yet. I am up to the challenge though. I know that I would only use the blue beads that I chose, that is mainly why I have not purchased them. The other colors are a little bold and I really do not like them."



Martha Smith, Cincinnati, OH
"Hi, I got my beads today and, to be honest, my first reaction was not a positive one. I was not expecting fish! I had been thinking about getting the beads and what I would make with them when I got them. The fish threw me off. But then I started looking at the colors and details and thought, wow, these could be fun. The colors are vibrant and exciting. I fell in love with the fish I didn't like. I decided these were earrings. I put a small 4 mm yellow Swarovski on the bottom to keep the pin from falling through, one fish, then as bubbles an 8 mm, then a 6 mm and a 3 mm Crystal AB Swarovski. I think they turned out very cute. (Even my husband like them.)"
.

Othella Morris, Upland, IN
"I just got my beads yesterday, so I haven't had a chance to make something with them yet, but as soon as I saw them, I fell in love. They are beautiful beads, and just what I've been looking for to use on some beaded bookmarks for myself and a few friends. The beads are just the right size and weight for what I've been wanting, and the design is perfect, even in the color combination. I can't wait to take a break from my monstrous homework load this weekend and play with them! Thank you so much for putting on this challenge and introducing me to these beautiful beads. Now that I know what they are, I won't be able to talk myself out of trying them in the future."


Kelly Abbott, Tonawanda, NY
I did share them with my beading partners and they loved them as much as i do. I think they are great and I was going to put them on black leather.





Another added comment is from Jan Mueller Pewaukee, WI. She wasn't part of my challenge, but sent in the following comments on the Peruvian ceramics and gave me permission to post her email:

First let me tell you that I am not at all concerned with not being one of the first 5 to get beads. I had ordered a few prior to reading your blog and I just "had to order more" because I love them so. I thought I could use all the colors in them to bring out in a piece but what I realized is that they look the best being the whole show and anything else being supporting characters. Click here to see Jan's bracelet.

And yet another idea sent in by a customer who bought the Peruvian ceramics. This playful necklace was made by Anna Skeb├Ąck of Gothenburg, Sweden! I was actually in Gothenburg to meet my husband Allen's relatives last year...what a small world!


Friday, January 25, 2008

Luscious Blown Glass Beads

I was so excited about the beads I put up this week that I just had to come and babble a little bit about them. Like the title says, I've added six new blown glass beads...but there's a catch. These are NOT $4.00 each beads from Venice, they're from...gasp...China! The least expensive is $0.68 each and the most expensive is $0.98 each.

So other than the price, why I am I so excited about these beads? Well first, the colors are so vibrant they practically glow (really). Second, they are extremely high quality beads. I've heard you can take a Venetian blown glass bead and whip it against concrete and it won't break. Hmm....these Chinese beads are so delicate and light, I thought there is NO way they'll stand up to that kind of torture. Well, guess what? I tried it...took one of these Chinese larger rounds and whipped it at our concrete floor and it BOUNCED. Impressive to say the least. I also sent a test package (nothing fancy, just our plain First Class packaging) to my sister-in-law all the way across the country in Washington and she reported they arrived in perfect shape. I was sold!

I've always wanted to carry blown glass beads, but besides being ferociously expensive for me to buy...what about your price? So, I just avoided them and drooled at a distance. When my supplier brought these in for me to see, I was just floored and I hope you will be too. Send me an email or post a comment below and let me know what YOU think of these beauties.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Anyone out there? YOU are! Talk to me?

Last Wednesday I posted my little Peruvian Ceramics bead challenge. By Friday afternoon I only had one taker and I was looking for five. I was perplexed, but then got the idea to put a link to my blog in the Saturday email update. At 3:00 Saturday afternoon, Allen came and got me and said "You better come take a look at this". My email in box was just loaded with people wanting to take part in my humble little bead challenge (look for the first 5's comments after January 31st). I couldn't believe it! While most people simply stated they wanted to "play" and I wrote them a simple email back, many people wrote me very personalized emails, not just about the Peruvian ceramics, but about the site, ideas and all sorts of stuff...I felt so bad saying "I have the five for my challenge", but had such fun answering all those emails.

On Monday morning, I had some more emails, but it was the usual stuff of "Did you get my order?", "Can I add this to my order?", etc. Now don't get me wrong, those emails are a complete necessity to my business, but it certainly doesn't tell me anything about who these customers are that are ordering from me.

So what do I want? You got it...an email (or even a comment you can leave down below). Talk to me...tell me what it is you want or like or don't like about eebeads. I want YOUR opinion on EVERYTHING eebeads!

So just send off that email or post a comment below and babble a bit to me, I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Customer Blog About Ceramic Beads - aka The Peruvian Bead Challenge

The other day I was on Technorati (a search engine for blog sites) to see if they had picked up on my humble blog yet (nope) and found an interesting blog entry about eebeads. Apparently a customer had ordered some foil glass beads and was sent a package of Peruvian ceramic beads by mistake. She was baffled how that happened, but I'm sure the filler just transposed numbers. Anyway, we of course said we'd send her out the correct beads when she contacted us, but her blog entry tells how she then went to the ceramics page and started taking an interest in these little beauties. To quote her "I've been missing a whole area of beads that are truly worthwhile."

Well, I was just delighted (hence this post) because I adore our Peruvian ceramics. I've been importing them directly from Peru for years. They are hand crafted, hand glazed and some of the most unique beads out on the market (in my humble opinion). With that said, we certainly don't sell a whole lot of them. Why? I just don't know. Their bright colors definitely take center stage and may make them hard to design with.

I've now got 5 people who I'm sending a pack of Peruvian beads to for their opinion. As soon as I have their answers, I'll post them here - even the negative ones (if any are negative). Keep checking my blog for more offers of free beads for your opinion of them. Thanks to everyone who emailed me!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Are you a member of our update list? Ooo I hope you are. Tomorrow morning, starting at 7am EST we're having a sale on eight new copper beads and two new toggle clasps only for members of our list. These beads and toggles will be on sale at 15% off until next Wednesday the 23rd at noon EST. Not a member or our list? Send me an email and I'll sign you up and also let you know the secret website address where you can find this nifty sale.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Working Conditions in India

I asked you to send me questions and this week I got a doozy. Bev, a customer of mine, asked about the working conditions in the factory where I get my Indian glass beads. Excellent question! One I avoided asking myself in the beginning for fear of the answer.

In my last post, I told you how my supplier from India came for a visit quite a few years ago. While he was here, he asked Allen and I if we wanted to see pictures of his factory. Why? Well, he was very proud of the working conditions! Now don't get me wrong, the conditions are not what we're used to in the United States, but they certainly were NOT the horrors you might read about on the net. Lampworkers sat on the floor in front of a torch. They had eye protection and tons of ventilation from open windows. I asked long ago if he employed children and he was rather insulted by the question...the answer was "Absolutely not!".

While I realize the working conditions are not as good as ours, it's just reality that I could never afford to buy my lampwork beads from the United States. I've contacted numerous lampworkers and the usual discount is about 20% off their retail prices. I can't run a business on that low a discount.

It's certainly up to you if you want to buy beads from India, but I hope this post will reassure you that the conditions in the factory where I buy my beads from in India are pretty good and no child labor is used. If I pulled my contract and discontinued our Indian glass, I'd be putting a lot of people out of work as well.

Keep those questions (even the challenging ones) coming!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Our Shipment from India Arrived!

So many of you have been waiting, you'll be glad to know our order from India finally arrived! Yippee! I ordered approximately 260 kilos (573 pounds) of lampworked and pressed glass beads as well as bone and horn beads and after about 3 months this big ole shipment arrived. Most of the items come pre-bagged so we'll have those back up on the site today. For the rest of the items, we'll get our pieceworkers on them and we'll have them up in no time.

I've been importing from India for over 10 years. Why? I simply love Indian beads and especially the prices. Over the years I've had lots of Chinese designs reproduced in India for a fraction of the cost that Chinese beads would cost. We've also been using the same supplier and just love him. We were actually graced with a visit from the owners brother and partner a few years ago.

The picture to the right shows how the order arrives. The large boxes are covered in hand stitched burlap coverings and inside are smaller boxes holding 1 kg each. Sometimes customs will seize the shipments and go through them and the opened boxes are covered in bright green tape. Not this time though, they came through quickly and without a hitch.

We sent out over 600 email notifications about these beads being back in stock so I'm sure you're as excited as I am to have them back in stock!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

We screwed up (confirmation emails)

Boy did we screw up! We were closed from December 19th through January 2nd. We put a notice on our home page, but lots of folks missed it. We were inundated with emails over our break asking if we had received peoples orders because they didn't receive a confirmation email after placing their order. We've done this in past years...closed that is...but never did we get this many emails from people concerned about whether or not we received their order. What went wrong this year? Was the closed message on our home page too small? We're not really sure. One thing is for sure though...next year, if we close again for a week, we'll be sure to set up the program so you receive a confirmation email right after you place your order. Sorry about the confusion!!!

You've got to try flower arranging too!

Every year for our annual Christmas party, I order flowers. And every year I am completely disappointed regardless of what florist I choose. The arrangements are small...maybe 6 carnations, 2 mums and a red ball with some green stuff. My employees are way to sweet to complain, but I just feel like a cheap jerk when they see the arrangements. I've tried several florists, tried spending more money, but I'm never pleased. Why is it that I go to a grocery store and see a gorgeous bouquet for $14.99 loaded with flowers, but when I order them from a florist for $40.00 I get junk?

This year, I decided to stop being disappointed, skip trying yet another florist, and take these flower matters into my own hands. After a bit of research on the web about flower arranging, my husband Allen and I went to a place called Produce Junction (which is like a wholesaler open to the public) and loaded up a box with tons of gorgeous, colorful flowers. We then took them back to our warehouse and I took over the kitchen...and I might add I had an absolute blast making the arrangements! If you don't have a place like Produce Junction around you, consider using those pretty bouquets at the grocery store.

Here's some tips if you want to try making your own arrangements too. Start with medium height flowers ( I used mums and carnations). Each of my arrangements has about 10 of these. Next, put in your focal flowers that are taller and shorter than your medium height flowers (I used one white hydrangea, three pink roses and two purple statis). Then add your greens for filler ( I had ferns and some other pretty greens I don't know the name of). And finally, I filled in the "blanks" with baby's breath.

This year, the arrangements were colorful and lovely and best of all, loaded with gorgeous flowers. Another added bonus was these loaded with flowers arrangements were about 1/4 the price of the florists flowers. You may not need to make a bunch of arrangements, but consider trying flower arranging yourself next time you need an arrangement and skip the overpriced florists.