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Barbara and Andrew are Beads And More, a family-run business born out of Barbara’s passion for jewellery, fashion and crafts.
In 2007 Barbara was made redundant from her full-time career as a hotel manager, and though actively seeking another position she took the opportunity to develop her interest in crafts. She has always enjoyed sewing and knitting but when she saw jewellery-making classes advertised locally, she was keen to learn a new skill. She spent a fascinating time learning the basic techniques. Having discovered a natural flair for jewellery-making she went on to create many pieces, all of which were admired by friends, family and colleagues
During a business trip to Asia, Andrew sought out local bead shops and brought back a small selection of beads for Barbara’s personal use. Andrew’s choice of beads was excellent and Barbara was soon making attractive necklaces, ear-rings and bracelets, for herself and to order for friends and family. As the number of requests for commissions and loose beads began to grow, the small supply of beads began to run short and so the seeds of a business idea were planted!
Andrew returned to Asia to find more bead suppliers from across Thailand, Cambodia and Hong Kong. He soon became absorbed in bead buying, spending long arduous hours in bead shops and factories. Rewarded only by refreshing bottles of the local brew, he accumulated a huge amount of hand-picked stock to ship back to the UK. Waiting in the UK, Barbara was delighted with the shipments. As each delivery arrived, the contents became more varied and the quantities grew to encompass some very exciting new selections and feature beads.
Initially Beads And More launched into the South West Craft Show circuit. The priority being to offer a great selection of quality beads at affordable prices to local crafters. They soon had a loyal and enthusiastic following.
In 2008, from their home in Bath Barbara and Andrew founded an online bead shop to share this passion for beads with customers from across the UK and beyond. It began with approximately 1000 products. Without the overheads of a traditional shop and with fair pricing for postage, Beads And More aimed to offer bead enthusiasts, a wide variety of high quality beads at some of the most reasonable prices on the internet. A decision was made to keep pack sizes small therefore allowing enthusiasts to just buy sufficient for one just project, or increase the number of packs for larger pieces.
Despite Barbara returning to full-time employment, the business has continued to grow, and now retired Barbara devotes much of her time to the website, craft shows and still enjoys making jewellery for herself, and others. Andrew visits the Far East annually and has added many different ranges to the on-line catalogue. There are now approximately 4000 products. The most recent additions have been Fire Polished Glass, and an extensive range of Glass Pearls. With sizes from 3mm they can be included in more intricate beading projects.
Children’s name bracelet kits proved popular at the craft shows so these are now available on-line, alongside starter kits which contain everything needed to take the first steps into the world of beading and also make a great year-round gift for young and old alike.
At a monthly Pop Up shop in Bath a Beading Club has developed. Not only is there an opportunity for visitors to see and touch beads before they buy, but also to meet like-minded beaders. Beading Club members bring along their latest project to work on whilst sharing ideas, offering help where needed and enjoying social interaction with fellow enthusiasts – over a few cups of tea and coffee.
Interaction with the Beadworkers Guild has helped us to increase our customers and we enjoy participating in National Beading Week, usually held at the end of July.
Our major development for 2016 has been to move the web site into the mobile era. We hope you like our new site which will give us the opportunity to provide great service for the future.
Of course, our website and its future would not be complete without you. We are always keen to hear new ideas and feedback from our customers and would love you tell us about the projects you have completed using our products.
Barbara and Andrew Squires
Beads And More