© by Kathy Reading; all rights reserved.
Although I purchase a lot of beads online, I find it helpful to attend a few bead shows each year to see what’s new in terms of beads, colors, designs and ideas.
At a bead show you’ll also see lots of amazing jewelry made by very talented fellow beaders and artists, and you’ll have the opportunity to talk with them and get a lot of new ideas.
Some shows even have classes you can take to learn a new beading technique or skill.
I recently attended a large bead show near my home, with about 200 vendors.
When I go, I try to maximize my time and money – and come away from the event with lots of treasures and a ton of new ideas!
Tips for a Great
Bead Show Experience
- There are two ways to shop a bead show – you can either get an overview by walking around the whole show first to look and compare prices, or just start shopping. I have found that taking the time to look first gives you the opportunity to make informed purchases instead of just buying everything that catches your eye and perhaps not getting the best deal.
- I often go to the show with a friend. We have found it best to establish a time to meet up again several hours later, instead of trying to stick together. We meet for lunch so we can compare the bargains we’ve found and scope out items we may have missed.
- I bring a stash of my own beads with me to match colors and shapes. It’s easy to see the design take shape if you can get the colors right, and you may even get a few new ideas to use.
- I always carry a small notebook where I’ve written my list of items to purchase. I also annotate booth numbers for return visits to compare prices and to write down items I may want to check out later on the vendor’s website.
- I also grab all the business cards I can, especially from the vendors I’ve purchased from. When I get home from the show I list everything I’ve purchased, along with the price, and attach the business card. That way if I need to purchase from them again, I have all the information I need.
- I’ve found it easiest to use a backpack to carry all of my purchases while I’m at the bead show. Those beads and findings get heavy pretty quickly, and the backpack distributes the weight and leaves my hands free. Sometimes I feel like I need a crane at the end of the day to get all of my purchases in the car!
- There’s always a lot to see at a bead show, and these tips should help you get the most out of the event and have a great time!
Author Kathy Reading of Catju Designs is a self-taught jewelry designer who has been creating unique pieces for over 12 years. Her jewelry is made with vintage Swarovski crystals, beads, components, findings, and buttons. Inspired by artistic, vintage, and art-deco items, many are one-of-a-kind and limited-edition pieces.