(Lincoln, Vermont USA)
I am interested in starting to purchase beads wholesale and begin the the process of selling my work.
Any recommendations for reputable sites or how to go about it?
Are their wholesale bead shows to go to?
Any help would be great.
Where To Get Them Beads
by: Maryanne Murphy
Beads. There are so many different types of beads!
You didn’t mention what kind of beads you are looking for. Gemstone, crystal, ceramic, glass, wood, acrylic,lamplight, metal?…that’s just off the top of my head without thinking about it.
I’m taking it that you want sources besides Micheal’s or Hobby Lobby.
What I did, and to some degree still do is use Fire Mountain Gems as a bench mark and bead market educator. Their website is http://www.firemountaingems.com I highly suggest you ask for their FREE catalog.
With their catalog in hand or looking at their website you can become educated to the wide range of what is being offered on the market and for what price. You will notice with Fire Mountain that the more you spend the greater the discount you will get, and come to understand the wholesale and retail price of an assortment of beads and findings. They also have some real good $1.00 deals. I bought a strand of Red Line Marble for $1.00 and sold the necklace for $40.00.
I used Fire Mountain in the beginning to help educate myself in the variety and selections,(which can be overwhelming)of bead types and findings.
After educating myself I now go out into the market place, on line or to bead shows (check internet for bead shows in your area)and am knowledgeable as to what is a good price and quality for a product.
I’ve heard that Rio Grande is also a good place too. But no matter where you go Beth, educating yourself and comparing prices is the basic tool of the trade.
Good luck and best wishes on your journey!
by: Tracy (nutkitten)
There is a great site call dollar beads that has tons of strings of beads and gemstones for $1.
Yes, knowledge is the key
by: Lynda Carson
Yes, I agree that the more you educate yourself the better prepared you are to enter the business side of jewelry making. A couple of questions for when you are think of purchasing wholesale with the intent of selling jewelry.
1. Do you have the appropriate business license/permit that allows you to purchase materials tax free? And speaking of tax, are you prepared to keep accounting records of sales and taxes, with an eye to paying your state and federal taxes? I paid a visit to our tax preparer to help me set up a system, so I knew what to keep track of.
2. Most wholesalers require you to have a copy of your permit on file before you can make a purchase. For some things, it’s worth it to ‘buy in bulk’, but only if it something you’ll use a lot of. For example, earring findings, perhaps.
Lastly, I do business with the already mentioned Rio Grande to purchase sterling silver wire by the troy ounce and just recently sent them my sterling wire scraps for credit and think I got a fair price. It can be very confusing out there. I remember going to my first bead fair and came home with nothing, I was so overwhelmed and unsure about pricing. When I first started, I used to purchase from Art Beads, because they had free shipping even if I just bought one bead. Shipping can kill the deal! They may still have this policy So now, I just do the best I can to get a reasonable price on most things and try to enjoy what I’ve purchased.
Happy hunting out there..it’s all an adventure!
by: Ann Nolen
Hi, another good site for beads and supplies is www.fusionbeads.com. They have no minimum, shipping is free, and if you don’t live in Washington State, there isn’t any sales tax. Their customer service has always been good for me, and if I consider the free shipping and no minimum, they are often the best price for me.
I also watch for bead shows. Sometimes I just need to see and touch. If you have a Resale License, usually the vendors will give you a good discount.
Like others have said, you have to stay on your toes to get the best deal. Good luck!
good online bead sites
As a general strategy, I’ll spend about six months repeatedly going back and looking at what a new-to-me online bead store has to offer, at which point I’ll make a small purchase to compare their online pictures compare with what I end up with in my hand, how fast the order arrives, and, because I’m in Canada, what Customs does to the final shipping price, etc. I now avoid any websites who don’t ship via the post office. If it’s shipped by FedEx or another courier, particularly cross-border, you end up paying for shipping twice, once while ordering, and then you get nailed with a COD/Customs brokering charge.
I highly recommend Magpie Gemstones and Happy Mango Beads. Neither require a business/wholesale licence and both provide a ton of information about what they sell and their own business philosophy. Along with regular beads, they carry Fair Trade and/or responsibly harvested items, etc. You can really save money if you only buy when they have one of their regular daily and weekly discount offers (sign up for their newsletters). Shipping (optional insurance is always recommended on large orders) is reasonable (if not free!) and I have never had an order go astray. Their customer service is great.
I agree with one of the other poster about Fusion Beads. They are good to deal with, as well.
Again, it all depends on what exactly you’re looking for, but at first everything looks good. Pay attention to Fire Mountain and other sites when they talk about A grade, B grade, etc. You absolutely do get what you pay for.
When you’re looking at stuff on your computer screen, always have a ruler there with you as beads always look bigger than they really are.
I try to go to gem and bead shows early in the day when it’s quieter so I can talk to new vendors and visit with buddies. After a couple of shows, you’ll start to recognise repeat vendors and they will remember you — and that’s when you start to get deals/discounts offered to you. However, unless you’re a registered wholesale customer, don’t ask for a discount in front of other retail customers standing nearby. It puts the vendor in a really awkward position. These days, most show vendors have a lot of stuff on sale already.
Always, always, always, take a shopping list with you to shows, with comparison online prices. I can’t tell you how many times we’ll be tooting down the highway on our way home and I realise I forgot to get something important and it’ll be another six months before I see that particular vendor again.
Thank you ALL. This is all so helpful!
The confused, overwhelmed, but hopeful!
Happy Mango is one of my favorites because they have such a variety of beads.
Etsy.com has supplies and you can find some really fun findings. Loads of beads too. My bead store on etsy is called ecobeadstagua and I sell organic beads for Earth Friendly jewelers. Check us out!
what about findings?
Does anyone have a great findings source? I am looking for inexpensive, fun, innovative and creative.
Angie – one idea for jewelry findings
Have you looked for findings on Etsy? It’s a good place to get interesting handmade jewelry findings, and some sellers have volume discounts.