Bead Shops of Britain #3
July 22, 2011 § 6 Comments
Welcome to the third Bead Shop of Britain post in my monthly series! I had to visit this lovely bead shop twice to take photos as I lost the first batch: that’s dedication (and a love of beads). This month we’re in Nottingham, at the Nottingham Bead Shop.
You can just see from the picture above that one aspect of the Nottingham Bead Shop I enjoy is their interesting and constantly-changing window displays. The first time I visited it was a steampunk, wirework, brass spectacular; this time colourful flowers, wooden beads, and pearls for summer. The glass windows are an excellent opportunity to show off some of their wonderful beads.
The shop is bright and has the classic wooden separators for the beads, as well as lots of demonstrations of local artists work (in the glass cabinet) and handmade jewellery adorning the shelves. As well as the main shop they have a basement room which services wholesale customers – excellent prices! – and an upstairs workshop room. Everything is well-organised: including a very good idea (ok, this is nerdy but I do think it’s good!) of placing a red dot in some compartments. The red dot means this is old stock, or stock that won’t be reordered – so if you’re a bead artist, you know to buy it all NOW rather than wait til next week as it might be gone!
I think that The Nottingham Bead Shop’s speciality is Swarovski and seed beads. Their range of 11 Delicas, including hex cut and some tiny wee size 15s, and their selection of seed beads and small beads for beadwork (like 4mm pearls and Czech glass druks) is amazing. I’ve found it hard to get a range of the really small seed beads at a good price except for at bead shows, so visiting Nottingham always means I get to stock up! They also do a great deal on the Delicas: buy 5 tubes and get the cheapest free. Hooray!
Their Swarovski range is magnificent and includes regular bicone and round shapes, Swarovski pearls, pendants, buttons, headpins, and chain. Phew! They also have a lot of unusual Swarovski colours alongside the regular range. Alongside these they have a varied selection of glass beads, including the beautiful hensha (think that’s right) beads above, and also unusual beads including African paper beads and some ceramic and wooden pieces.
Because of the concentration on certain aspects of beading, The Nottingham Bead Shop doesn’t have a vast variety of chain and cording but does (helpfully!) have lots of magazines and books on the subject – something I’ve found lacking in other bead shops. They have a good selection of findings and charms, including Vintaj and Trinity Brass, as well as being able to purchase all of these singly or in packs. They have some cool bead mixes which are sold in different box sizes, and selected mixed media equipment (like shrink plastic and resin) which again, doesn’t often appear at traditional bead shops!
The Nottingham Bead Shop is also great at maintaining and developing a relationship with magazines and their customers. They have different loyalty schemes where you get stamps for purchases, and their workshop clients receive 10% off their beading goodies. The workshops themselves cover a good range of basic skills and specific makes, which I think is essential for encouraging new and repeat clients. Their relationship with UK magazines is brilliant, as I often see their shop or staff members mentioned as the designer for a piece. One of the sales assistants told me that they all contribute equally to these ventures, and to making items for display, and the eclectic mix of tastes really shows in the variety and range of products and projects that the shop comes up with. Love it!
In my bag:
I also had lots more purchases from my first visit, including Swarovski bicones, ceramic beads, findings…but couldn’t photograph them all!
The Nottingham Bead Shop/Mail Order Beads, recommended for:
Swarovski crystals in all shapes, colours, and sizes
Seed beads to satisfy your every need
New ideas and excellent projects for different jewellery genres
Hope you enjoyed this month’s Bead Shops of Britain post and you feel inspired to visit the Nottingham Bead Shop (or its online equivalent). Next month…I haven’t decided yet, whether to keep close to home or venture further afield. Either way, there’ll be beads! Have a great weekend.