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Still packing!


Dec 15, 2007, 5:17 AM

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Still packing!

We are still packing up beads and stuff. Surprised? I am. I have had some great help, and we've actually taken some extra time to make sure stuff is put away so we can find it, and unpack it easily at our new location (wherever that may be).

I've even stopped by a few of the other bead shops in town, just to get an idea of what is here.... and I have had one shocking revelation. I am putting more into storage, than all the other bead shops in town have available!

While some shops may have a wider variety of Swarovski crystals, for example, we have "more." We purchase a variety of crystals in bulk for our wholesalers (clear bicones in 4, 6 and 8, as well as AB, rounds and such, most of the birthstone colors in 4 & 6mm, etc). We don't have 144 of the crystals, but 1440 x 2 or 3. While we only had about 30-40 lose crystal sizes/colors sorted, we tried to make up for it by buying mixed lots of random crystals by weight from distributors (probably broken/ripped packaging). So, in effect, we *did* have more crystals, just in a different way.

Seed beads. I haven't bought seed beads from our distributors in almost 2 years. We still packed up 4 letter-sized file boxes of bead tubes (mostly different colors) and 2 boxes of bulk seed beads (100-250 grams). I didn't have 40 colors of 20 tubes each. I had about 800 colors or more. Miyuki, Toho and Delica. I didn't even *like* seed beads (except the silver/gold lined, and rootbeer colors we used for spacers). I also didn't just have some size 11's. I had 8's in delicas and czech as well as miyuki. I had 15's. Not much, but some. I had triangles and squares too. This was after I tried to clear out the seed beads before the move (remember the seed bead "sale" ?? I sold about two letter-file boxes full during that). Not bad for a shop that didn't really sell seed beads ;) Oh! I found our vintage bulk boxes ... I still have about 20kg of vintage bulk beads too. <sigh>

Silver. Some shops had one or two shelves, or even 2 display cases of silver in neat little jeweler trays. Ok, we didn't do that. We didn't have the display cases or jeweler trays to spare. I did have 35 clear plastic 15-slot boxes of silver (that was a failed attempt) and in the last purchase of 2KG bali I tried to put the toggles into their own tackle boxes. Ok... that worked a bit. But I just packed up almost 4kg of bali silver, and that was the _left_overs_ from not having ordered any more in the past 4 months. We directly imported our Bali, and offered a per-gram price with no per-style (or quantity) minimums. Additionally, while we couldn't always put our hands on it, I had silver wire in most gauges from 32-fine-silver to 14ga sterling. The middle gauges in square and FH as well. Plus, round beads in 1.3mm to 20mm in rounds and other shapes. Also about 80 varieties of chandelier parts from about 1/2" to 3-4" and 1 loop to 18. We stocked 6 grades of 2x2 crimps (including the crap grade some customers demanded). We stocked 9 sizes of other crimps up to 4x4. 3 sizes of crimp covers. Lobster claws in 22 sizes and shapes and headpins in a variety of gauges and lengths. We also had several trays of multi-strand clasps up to 16 strand.

Gold Filled: Oh..... most wire in 26-18 ga, sq/round/half-round and twist. Rounds in sizes from 2mm to 14mm. Fancy shapes, tubes and other pieces -- mostly to help our customers keep creating their unique style of trendy jewelery -- at the *best* prices in town. Yes.... And then findings - toggles, lobster claws, and oddities, as well as crimps and crimp covers.

We offered the ENTIRE Firemountain Gems catalog at 2nd-3rd level pricing to EVERYONE with our regular weekly delivery. We sold a *lot* of accuflex, and stocked most sizes and a few odd colors too, as well as the gold-plated, sterling-sliver, brass and even a couple of silver plated too.

We had thousands of shapes and sizes of czech glass beads in boxes, cups, and bins. When I say "thousands" I don't mean individual beads, I mean *different* shapes/sizes/colors.

We had hundreds of varieties of bone carved beads from shapes to animals.

We had drawers of loose beads for accents, centerpieces, and more.

We had trays of high-grade beads in ocean jasper, mookite, sesame, and other high-grade materials for use as centerpieces, matched pairs, or creation of your own unique designs.

Pearls... even after our 30-40% clearance, we had 2 letter sized file boxes of pearls and shell beads. Might not sound like much, but figure a 1 cubic foot box is about 20kg according the "bulk deals" one of our bead vendors gave us. That jives with the 50-lb-per-cubic-foot tumbled stones we would get for the pit.

Am I up to the gemstones yet? I'm sure I forgot a lot of stuff we had -- Oh! Our sterling letter beads! We ran out of "I"s for some reason (though I just found 4 more!), but we had the 5.6-6mm size, and I still had a KG or more of them left. That's about 1500 pcs more or less.

Oh, and all the small shapes, carvings, rings, figures and such. Gifts and knick knacks. Spheres and eggs. (Oh, and all the rocks we packed up last month!)

Gemstones..... Some shops had a wall of stones, with 2-3 strands per peg, sometimes 1 strand. Some had a wall of nicely populated stones. Those of you who have been in our shop.... well <G>. I don't need to explain. I think I have some pictures here from a year or two ago.... we've expanded since then. I didn't have 1 or 2 strands of chip beads. Ok, expensive ones like large piradot, amethyst, citrine, lapis or such maybe. But standard chips... I used to buy 12+ strands at a time. 30-36" strands, not 18. For what ever reason, I ended up with a HUGE variety of corals red, gold, black, natural. We got some stunning shell beads -- not your $2 strands, but some strands were $40-50 and they SOLD! (a few were left behind). Moving back to the front wall of high grade beads.... I have the best selection *ever*. We found beads in boxes we forgot about. We bought some new beads from vendors just because we couldn't help ourselves. We have materials that are simply unbelievable, and too numerous to mention. I'll probably post some of the inventory pictures later on. I started to pack up my private stock/selection, and I'm well into my 3rd letter-sized file box -- and my private stock was less than 1% of the total!

What's the point of this? I dunno. frustration perhaps at my physical condition forcing this change. Sadness at not being able to keep doing what I was having so much fun with -- bringing the best quality and selection of beads to the area. I was starting to have more fun with the wholesale and my larger volume customers surprising them with items, gemstone strands, and oddities they had never seen -- even after they had just been to one of the infrequent local bead shows (or gone out of town). I have some great vendors that I hope stay in touch! 90% or more of our gemstone strands were hand-selected from dealer lots or from vendors who had already selected higher grades from their distributors/manufacturers.

I hope to be able to still keep up with my designers and wholesale customers. Part of the extra time spent packing and labeling is so that if something comes up I might be able to yank it from storage. This website will still be a means of communication.

I'm looking for a new place I can design from the ground up to handle our style of business. It needs to have workstations (for people who want to do that) as well as a large area for group work. It needs to be able to accommodate the huge amount of loose beads, which probably means more lateral blueprint drawers. They worked well, but are damned expensive! The open tables as seen in so many "flashy" shops are just that -- flashy, but a huge waste of space if the idea is to cram in as many styles as possible. Sure, they are stunning when the light hits... but they take up a lot of space, collect a lot of dust, and simply don't carry their weight -- not when you remember we had boxes of loose beads stacked up 7-8 high, and 16 feet long! Plus 10 drawers of beads in cups and containers. It has to have natural light, and higher ceilings. It has to have great parking, and easy access. I'd prefer a free-standing structure rather than a shared or strip mall. I need at least 2500 sq feet. (Even removing the collectibles, dollhouses, and such we had almost 2000 sq feet dedicated to beads in our current location).

BTW: I have more than enough stock to set up TWO STORES. If anyone has wanted to set up their own bead shop, and has the capital, I can give you a selection of inventory that would start you out at the top of the heap, and still have enough to set up again on my own in my new location. Breadth of inventory from standard to high-grade, not depth that ties up your working capital in too many of the same type of beads (especially in the seed beads). I'll can also let you in on my FMG ordering, so you can refill, and offer all the items you don't have in stock, at the best wholesale prices. Remember, I'm not competing with you, or with anyone else. I'm offering my own selection, trying to move more into wholesale and supplying YOU! so you can work with your own selection of customers. I can offer targeted purchasing and searching for the items you need for your specific customer base, and in many cases stock locally what you use on an ongoing basis (like the crimps, crystals, silver, gold, findings, and even styles and types of beads). The better you do, and the more you sell, the better we all do. Even if you just want to offer a small selection of beads, crystals, metaphysical or rocks in your specialty shop, talk to me!

Anyway... I needed to get some of this out. I've only been closed for 2 weeks, and I'm already missing it severely.

PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217