Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Looking Back and Ahead

Celebrate Old Mexico
Choose Your Colors
Mix and Match Components

Poppyfield Bead Company celebrated one year since that exciting Sunday in March 2011 when we "softly" opened our door.  When I think back to our starting point, I am amazed at how far we have come in just one year.  The amount of behind-the-scenes work it took to be able to open the door is indescribable.  I set up a retail space,  learned retail software, and then went about inputing all the products - thousands and thousands of beads.   I had a core group of  3 women working everyday.  As I churned out labels, they put them on tubes.  The sign arrived with the big red poppy (designed by my Partner-In-Life, Henri). When it went up, my eyes filled with tears. This was really happening. Meanwhile, frustrated and sometimes angry beaders pounded on the door complaining that I had said I'd be open and I wasn't.  Would they come back??

"Our space before we went to work"
On opening day, the back of the store was not set up.   In the front, we were only offering size 11 and 15 seed beads.  We had some other beads on the wall, but not we had them cordoned off with duct tape.   Solange (a friend,  and one of my 3 labelers) was there, and has been with me ever since  (thank God).

"Getting ready for Opening Day"

I had 300 customers in my database (part of the purchase package from Margo).  Thirty people showed and bought a thousand dollars of beads.  I optimistically (and mistakenly) assumed every day would be like that.  Well it hasn't been.  But, in the interim, with help from Henri, and Solange, I have kept it going and growing. I have over 800 customers in the database today.

My beading history goes back 10 years.  In 2002 I learned to string and crimp.  In 2003, I discovered Margo's Poppyfield shop and became somewhat of a seed bead purist. As a store owner, my perspective has broadened.  With so many wonderful bead and jewelry supply shops in our environs, I have sought out products and skills that we need in our community.  It is tricky figuring this out.  But sometimes it is just simply revealed. How the Kumihimo Department came to be is an example.

Drop Me a Line
Learn in the  Kumi Bangles Class
One cold day last winter, 2 older women came into the shop.  One of the ladies loved kumihimo braiding and was visiting from out of state.  She wanted to teach her friend this ancient art of Japanese braiding, but had not brought her supplies.  She was looking for the disk and bobbins.  I had seen kumihimo products offered in my supplier catalogues, but I didn't know a thing about it, so I was hesitant to invest. What if I wasted money buying the "wrong" things?  I assumed the other shops already had this area covered.   I began calling around so I'd know where to send the women.  Nobody seemed to have anything for kumihimo.  I finally found a shop but the product they offered was not what the experienced braider wanted.  The ladies thanked me for trying and were on their way out the door.  In that moment, I decided that I would open a kumihimo department.  I called the ladies back to the counter and started my research by interviewing my out of state customer.  When I got my supplies, I sat down to teach myself kumihimo.  Through trial and error I figured it out.  Soon, I was experimenting with designs I hadn't seen in the books.  The result is that I now have a thriving Kumihimo Department and have had sell out classes on braiding with beads - teaching my own designs and sharing all the wisdom I gained through my trials and tribulations.

"I Feel Good About My Neck"
Fun With Filagrees

And so it goes... Since then,  I have gained more confidence is branching out with new products. It is thrilling to find something I think "looks cool" in a catalogue.  I order a small amount to test  and experiment. I am like a kid, playing with new toys.  One thing leads to another as I let myself be carried by the river of new ideas.  I force myself to put some on hold, as I must balance my creative surges with mundane life.  Lately, I've been working with metal components that I combine and embellish with beads using simple wire and cold connections.   This has led to Poppyfield's first Jewelry Design and Cold Connections class - Fun With Filigrees. Two sessions are offered (you can take either one or both) -  Saturday May 5th and / or Monday, May 14th.  It is just in time for Mother's Day and still has places available.  You will notice some of your favorite beads showcased in new ways - wrapped and set in metal filigrees - or displayed in hand-made chain.   Use any of a variety of beads and metal components.  Gain confidence designing your own piece - from nuts to bolts.  The techniques are fast and the results are beautiful.  Check out my Mother's Day inspired necklace, "I Feel Good About My Neck".  The focal point is a 27 mm fuchsia Swarovski flat back stone.  No seed bead bezeling required!  My Metamorphosis ID bracelet is my newest adventure in coloring metal.  Stay tuned for more on that.

Metamorphosis ID Bracelet
Pigmented, Riveted, and Twisted

New Poppy Products

Swarovski Crystal Pearls - 6 New Colors - Jade, Lapis, Pink Coral, and more
Mexicana Components - Sugar skulls, playful skeletons, milagros
Mix and Match Metal Components - Settings for 12 mm Rivolis, Links, and Bead caps
Cat Head Charms are back by demand from one desperate customer
Satin Cord available in economic quantities of 20 yards or more
Vintage inspired metal components and filigrees 
New chain - copper, silver plate, oxidized brass 

New Classes Coming Soon
Enchanted Primrose Necklace with Margo Field
Kumi Bangles (round 2 on a Monday evening - TBA)
Muy Mayo  - Metal and Wire Designs to Celebrate Old Mexico

Come Create With Us 
at Poppyfield Bead Company
Hope to see you soon!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Beads, Bracelets, and Bags - Oh My!

Kumi Bangles by Julia Hecht

There are some great goings on at Poppyfield these days. We had a fabulous free wire class on March 22nd, where students learned to turn metal filigrees into settings for Swarovski rivolis and create glittering dangles. These earrings were so popular that everyone is making more of them and the filigrees are going fast. If you missed out, don't fret because these skills (and more) will be covered in the Fun with Filigrees classes on May 5th and May 14th. We have these and other great filigree products. I've been experimenting with them and find they are so versatile - stay tuned for pics of my vintage-inspired creations in upcoming posts. Other open classes at this time are the Kumi Bangles class (see pic above)and the Kumi Prep class for new braiders, both on April 21st. Margo Field's Dogwood and Pussy Willows still has a couple of spaces left for the Saturday sessions in May and early June. Check the classes page for details.

Leather Bracelets and Anklets

I've got some new finished handi-work that I've brought in for you. Leather cuffs, bracelets, and anklets, with riveted flowers and butterflies. They are a playful modern twist on '70's inspired designs. I've been wearing them around town and getting lots of compliments. I just put them out and several have sold. Great gift items for the young and young-at-heart, starting at under $20.

Felted Bag - Handmade in Nepal

How do you carry your beadwork around? Plastic boxes, metal lunch tins? I picked up a hand-made felt bag in Cape May, NJ a few years ago. It has been perfect for carrying my current project from here to there. It is colorful, unique and also gets me lots of compliments. Well, I decided to offer a line of these same bags at Poppyfield. They are lined and have a zippered top for security. Each one is hand-made in Nepal. I've got a variety of shapes and sizes. So pretty, they are hard to resist. That's how I got mine.

New Poppy Products
  • I am happy to announce we now have size 15 beads in permanent galvanized silver and gold - that's right: P470 and P471 in size 15.
  • Swarovski bicones 3 mm in several colors including Jet 2 AB, Siam 2 AB, and Gold Aurum. (We still have our extensive beautiful but economical Preciosa crystal beads in 3 mm , 4mm and 6 mm. But for some Swarovski products there is just NO substitute - I am planning to continue to expand my Swarovski bicone inventory to include these gorgeous little guys. )
  • Artistic Wire in black, bronze, and amethyst

A Good Deal at Poppyfield
If you are looking for some good bead deals, come buy our last remaining tubes from "the Old Poppyfield". These beads are priced around 40% lower than current prices. This is not a formal sale. These tubes are what is left of Margo's inventory and are based on the 2010 prices. So if you see a color you like, and it's got Margo's label on it, now's your chance to take advantage. They won't be available at that price again.

Native Finished Work for Sale

In honor of the Gathering of Nations this month I will have a showcase featuring the work of Poppyfield's native customers. If you are a registered member of a Native Tribe and have bought beads at Poppyfield you are eligible. If you are interested, please send me an email to set up an appointment with me. More on this display as it evolves.

Coming Soon

Rosary centerpieces
Cinco de Mayo charms and milagros
More delica colors

Hope to see you soon!