“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”
George Bernard Shaw
Mary Drea started out as a jewellery designer, but after recognising a huge gap in the market for sourcing beads she decided to branch out and expand her business. Addiebeads – supplying beautiful and original beads that can’t be found anywhere else in Ireland. Not forgetting of course the stunning, vintage handmade jewellery designs – which as you see speak for themselves!
What inspired or motivated you to become involved in the jewellery industry?
My business is twofold.....I am a bead seller and a jewellery designer. Not always do these two go hand in hand but as a beader I am always trying to find beads. I found myself always buying online at considerable cost and always buying abroad. There was clearly a market for selling ‘hard to source beads’ here in Ireland. Motivation in this respect was easily found. I set out on a mission to source beads that I couldn’t find here in Ireland. I am still fully motivated and passionate about buying and selling high quality beads at a reasonable price.
Designing and making handmade beaded jewellery is also a major part of my business. Not only is my jewellery proving popular and selling, it is also a great way to showcase the beads that I sell. My jewellery is all about being beautiful, eye catching and full of colour... but in a classic way. I have stamped my own style on my designs and a collection from Addiebeads has emerged. My inspiration is purely in what is beautiful and words to describe my jewellery have been 'lush' ... 'divine'....'glorious'....accolades that continue to inspire me. Check out Addiebead's amazing Services.
Tell us about a day in the life of a Bead Seller and Jewellery Designer.
My day is made up of many different activities including fulfilling orders, both beads and jewellery. All orders for beads are processed and dispatched within 24 hours. All jewellery is made to order and is usually shipped out within 36 to 48 hours depending on how many orders are waiting.
A certain part of every day is spent on developing my jewellery collection, which is still in development. This is creative time and would take up to 2 to 3 hours a day. It is important to have this time in any creative business. I try my best not be distracted! But this can be difficult. Social networking is also a huge part of my day....posting 2 to 3 times a day on FB and in and out of twitter throughout the day. There are constant queries and emails to be answered.
I also have to spend a certain amount of time sourcing new products, looking for a particular bead, negotiating prices and always looking for a deal ! I have to follow trends to a certain degree. It is important to know what is trending, what colours are in season etc. Christmas is coming so I had to source a small collection of Christmas related beads for both beaders and crafters. Thankfully these little beads are selling very well! I am constantly thinking of what else I could be selling that would be relative and of course beautiful! I have lots of ideas for the future including sourcing and selling handmade glass beads from Africa....made by African women. I am presently working my way through the red tape and trying to find an ethical source. This will take time but if you are passionate about a product or an idea you will succeed. I have seen these beads and have managed to procure a very rare sample.... and they are a sight to behold. So in my little world of the bead business this actually will be a huge addition to my site and a type of bead that any passionate beader will want to have in their collection. Have a look at Addiebead's gorgeous Portfolio.
What are the advantages of working for yourself?
Mainly that I am in control. I steer my business forward in the way I want it to go.
What has been your greatest challenge so far?
Definitely creating the website. With no IT background and with zero funds this had to be done myself. I purchased a hosting/online shop package and did the rest myself. Online troubleshooting/ tech support was confined to a 'forum' which I couldn’t use because of my lack of IT knowledge! My website continues to be my daily challenge! The main challenge however is promoting the site and getting Addiebeads out there. This really is what continues to be the main daily challenge for my business. Also a constant challenge is pricing. Selling beads is a competitive business. My biggest competitors are EBay where sellers are obviously buying huge quantities at low prices ... but I sell ethically sourced beads of a high standard with FREE delivery.
What are your greatest achievements?
THE WEBSITE!!!!! But also to sell my jewellery. To design and hand make a piece of jewellery and then for lots of people to love it and buy it is for me the greatest achievement. Every time I have a sale I feel I have achieved something!
How do you ensure worklife balance?
This is a huge struggle. I constantly battle with this one. I work far too hard!! I work every day of the week. This is because my business is new....and I intend to continue to work at this pace until it is fully ‘launched’.... I still consider Addiebeads to be only partly on its way. I love to cycle...Ii love to take photographs....but I don’t have much time for this at the moment. I try very hard to get out on my bike every day and always feel the benefits when I do. My children are all adults and well on their way in the world. In a way it is an ideal time to start a business. Family commitments are low for me now. My biggest hobby is beading! So like a lot of small businesses very often it is a combination of work and pleasure.
What would be the ultimate goal for your business?
To generate a firm customer base (in terms of selling beads)
To continue to develop as a jewellery designer.
Who are your customers?
I have two separate customer types.....one is the beader looking for supplies and beautiful beads at good prices. The other is the jewellery lover. The women who wants something different but affordable and wearable.
What advice would you give to someone starting a business?
Research, research and research! It’s all very well to have an idea but you have to find a market for it. You have to decide if there is a customer out there for what you want to sell to him/her. Look at what the competitors are doing and make sure to market your business in a way that is unique and says what you want it to say about your business. Be prepared to work 24/7 until it is well and truly on its way.
Name one thing that you could not live without.
My Mac Book!! My whole business is on it. In fact my life is on my Mac Book.
Does the internet help you in spreading the word about your business?
My business is 100% online so yes. Not only does the internet help but my footfall IS the internet. The internet is vital in spreading the word but as I said previously this remains my biggest challenge on a daily basis.
How big a role does Social Media play in your business?
VITAL!! I have a FB page to promote my website and its products and I have a twitter account. I use both these forums on a regular basis. My Facebook page is very important to my business and for the moment is the main footfall for my business. I have run a successful 'campaign' on FB and am very particular in the way I present Addiebeads on FB and indeed everywhere else. As my small business grows I am realising that Addiebeads is emerging as a certain 'type' of jewellery.... and now has developed its own vibe, feel and most importantly its own image. This is VITAL in terms of any business going forward. It is so important to get your business established with its own unique identity and I am very proud that I can now say that Addiebeads is 'out there’.... and has its own identity. Twitter is wonderful. I love twitter. It’s all about networking with likeminded people. It’s a great way to socialise.... it’s not a forum for direct selling.... but vital in terms of creating contacts and links. I recently won #IreBiz business of the day..... a campaign run by Irish Enterprises helping to promote and encourage small enterprises.
A little bit about Addiebeads
Addiebeads is a small online business selling quality Czech glass beads and a selection of ceramic, lamp work and crystal beads. Addiebeads also stock findings from Vintaj and Trinity Brass, which are not stocked anywhere else in Ireland. Addiebeads is in the process of developing these two highly sought after brands on their website. Alongside the bead selling business, Mary Drea, owner at Addiebeads is selling her own handmade beaded jewellery. This is a stunning collection of jewellery....two and three layer bracelets full of carefully picked colour choices....lengthy chain necklaces in a vintage style and a selection of earrings that will mix and match with all pieces across the collection. Mary's jewellery is earthy and vintage inspired. Check out the Addiebead's Website.
If you need something special to create that original piece of jewellery, need to source specific beads or just want a beautiful piece of handcrafted jewellery, Addiebeads can help. Mary will work with you to design and create a custom piece or have a look at her simply stunning collections of beads and jewellery. To contact Addiebeads you can email Mary via her Profile or the Addiebead's Facebook Page.