Accessories are the centerpiece of any outfit. They can spice up a plain top, draw attention away from a stain or bring together two seemingly clashing articles of clothing. Unfortunately, accessories that match your needs, style and most importantly, your budget, can feel impossible to find. Shipwreck Beads, the largest bead shop in the world, has a solution to your accessory dilemma: make them yourself!

“We offer quite a variety of classes, metal clay, wire working, beading,” shares Beth Simmons, buyer and designer at Shipwreck Beads. “One of the frequent classes that Shipwreck Beads facilitates is Beginning Beading 101. In this class, you learn to make a bracelet and a pair of earrings. Through this process we teach you how to use a crimp bead, how to open and close a jump ring to attach charms and how to make a loop, which is what you use to make earrings.” Beth adds that these three techniques are the skills needed for making almost any other kind of jewelry. Once you have them down, you can expand to necklaces, anklets, charm bracelets and chandelier earrings.

Shipwreck beads, beading 101 display
Come check out the the display cabinet of the finished beading class projects at Shipwreck Beads. Photo credit: Robin Ralph

The Beginning Beading 101 class is offered one Wednesday and Sunday a month from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The class is $25 with all materials included. If you are interested in signing up, you can find their class schedule and registration on the Shipwreck Beads website under beading classes.

The Beginning Beading 101 class is sure to get your creative juices pumping. After you have taken it and are eager for more, Shipwreck Beads has other intriguing beading classes on their schedule. “We are offering classes on flat Peyote stitch, a tubular Peyote stitch and a whirling dervish beading class, which teaches you how to make a variety of shapes with seed beads,” shares Beth. Typically, supplies are not included for these classes. But not to worry, Shipwreck Beads has a large selection of beads for you to choose from.

“We have a 20,000-square-foot showroom,” shares Beth. “It is like the Safeway of beads. We have start-to-finish beading products. We are increasing our multimedia items, we have two-part epoxy resin, clays, stamping materials, metal stamping materials, gemstones, seed beads, plastic beads, crystal beads, everything!”

Shipwreak Beads Tube Peyote stitch
Take your beading skills to a whole new level at the Tubular Peyote Stitch class. Photo courtesy: Shipwreck Beads

Shipwreck Beads will be gradually adding new items to their already huge inventory. Beth often attends the Gem Show in Tucson, Arizona, where she handpicks special items like freshwater pearls, amber and turquoise for the store. “The whole town of Tucson is taken over with bead shows,” shares Beth. “There are hotels that shut down their bottom floors so people can have booths. They set up big tents the size of a football stadium. There is one show that we go to that is the size of three large football stadiums put together.” Beth laughs as she describes the long days of walking between shows with a backpack filled of treasures on her back.

Shipwreck Beads enjoys handpicking their inventory as it helps to build relationships with vendors. “It is also really important that you handpick items because beads can be so specific and unfortunately when you do it through a mail order system it is not always as consistent. We like to be able to handpick and get exactly what our customers want,” says Beth. The gem show is also where Beth gets a peak at any new styles and learns what’s fresh on the market for faceted gemstones.

The Cove at Shipwreck Beads
“The Cove” is the go to spot at Shipwreck Beads to find beautifully unique treasures. Photo credit: Robin Ralph

Once the gem show is over and Beth is back home at Shipwreck Beads, it will take a few weeks to get the new inventory priced and ready for purchase. As soon as everything is marked, there will be new items coming out nearly every day. “A lot of the items will be available in our cove, which is our special treasure area, keeping with the nautical theme of high-end gemstones. That’s where all the turquoise and amber lives,” she adds.

Whether you are an individual looking to explore your creative side, or another small business owner wanting to add items to your inventory, Shipwreck Beads is here for you.

“We have staggered level pricing,” explains Beth, “so if you are purchasing 5,000 of an item, the price is going to be different versus if you were purchasing 100 pieces of an item.” Providing staggered level pricing is a way for Shipwreck Beads to support other local bead stores and keep small business alive.

For more information, visit the Shipwreck Beads website.

Shipwreck Beads
8560 Commerce Place Dr NE Lacey
Daily: 9:00 a.m.– 6:00 p.m.
Phone: 800-950-4232

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