Warning: This blog post may lead to an incurable urge to shop.
What Kind of Bead Shopper are You?
More than 2,000 beaders chimed in when I asked "What type of bead shopper are you?"
I was delighted that almost 80% buy beads without knowing exactly how they'll use them. Me too! Now that my stash is getting out of control, I try to have at least a general idea--"those beads would make cute earrings"--but sometimes that's as specific as I get. I also found it fascinating that a few readers confessed that they hated shopping, except for beads. It is thrilling to rush home, unwrap your beads, and admire them. (If I'm not driving, I'll even unwrap mine in the car on the way home.) Some beaders have done things like choose their house or vacation spots accordinging to "bead proximity." One reader even claimed, "I try to live my life so that I am never less than five miles away from a bead store." (Try explaining that to your real estate or travel agents!)
Less than 2% of you buy the exact amount of supplies needed for a specific project. Most, like me, buy a few extra (beads, strands, or tubes) just in case. This speaks of experience--who hasn't bought only two beads thinking "I'm going to make earrings" and then wanted to make something else when you got home? Or worse, bought the exact number of beads and then lost one. As one reader said, "I will always regret not buying more of those purple vintage french seed beads. Always buy extra!"
Of course, sometimes this bad planning can lead to creativity. I was stuck for the longest time on the Pearl Medley necklace for Stringing Spring 2008 (pictured at left) because I only had three silver leaf beads, not two or four. What kind of person buys an odd number of beads? What was I thinking? Obviously, I wasn't thinking. But luckily, I know that at least a few of you will understand that sometimes when you're bead shopping all rational thought goes out the window!
Here are some words of shopping wisdom from readers:
1. Bead shopping is good stress relief.
"Handling calls for inusrance claims is really stressful. My husband can always tell what kind of day I'm having by the number of beads I bring home!"--Cynthia E.
2. If you keep going back to a selection, go ahead and buy it.
"My logic is thus: I may never see that particular bead again, so i should get it- NOW!"
3. Seek out beads everywhere. You'll shop anywhere--local bead shops, flea markets, online, big chain craft stores, antique shops!
"Shopping for beads is like looking for buried treasure! When I travel I always seek out the local bead stores to see what new and different items I can find."--June Liles
4. If you're broke, look through your stash for inspiration.
"It's like going shopping in your own private store!"
5. Make a list, but don't expect to stick to it!
"I always go into a bead store with a written list of all the supplies I need for specific projects. I write down exact colours and amounts for each project and I always have the intent of buying only exactly what I need. And every single time I return home I sit down with all my new beads, tons and tons of them, staring at both my list and my bill, and wonder how it is that I have so many new beads but not a single thing from my list?"--Fruitsalad37
6. Beware your "helpful" shopping companions.
"When I do go in to buy for a specific project, I end up buying more than planned, because my husband will say 'Hey honey, look at these' and start putting beads together that happened to catch his eye. I have several necklaces that he 'designed' in the spur of the moment, while the beads I went in for sit in my box of beads awaiting another project."--Gina
"My husband likes beading as much as I do. He always goes to shows or stores with me. We went to a show one weekend and I gave him a list of what I needed. I was taking a three hour class so he could do the shopping while I was in the class. When the class was over he came by to get me and had a huge bag of beads. I asked him if he had got what was on my list and he said...nothing!!! Then I asked what he had in the bag and he said it was just beads that he thought were pretty!!! I then had to go get what was on my list!!!" Brenda Varner
7. Stuck for a project idea? Just looking at beads can be inspirational.
"My best inspiration comes from the bead itself. I leave a bead store with an empty pocket and a bag full of great ideas."
8. If necessary, get a job to support your bead habit.
"Some beads, particularly gemstones and pearls, are best bought in person and, while you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince, the larger bead shows are chock-full of princes that cannot be left unbought! That is, after all, one of the principal reasons I still practice law by day. It lets me be a wholly opportunistic bead buyer when I get to the shows."--Barb
"I bought so many beads from my favorite local bead store that they ended up hiring me to work there! How much better can life get!!"
9. Follow your heart.
"Buying beads makes me happy--simple as that."--Kathleen Keefe
10. Even if you create your own beads, you're not safe
"As a torchworker, I can create my own beads but there is nothing quite as exciting as finding all the findings and extra goodies at the favorite bead store of any particular locale. I love to go to different stores and see what is new."--Charlene Fort, Morrning Sun Studio
11. As far as addictions go, it's one of the healthier ones.
"Beads are my addiction! Some people drink or smoke, I . . . buy beads. I have to set a budget for myself when I go."
"Being in a bead store calls out to my lack of self discipline--I may not be able to eat all the yummy stuff I want to--but at the bead shop I can overdo with no harm to anything but my wallet!! And the 'spur of the moment stuff' always saves the day sometime in the future."
"I never realized how dangerous this hobby would be! Is there such a thing as Beaders/Crafters Anonymous?"
12. There's always an excuse to shop.
"There's always an excuse to go in to a shop. They surely have new things; maybe they're having a sale; haven't been there in a while; the shop is on my way . . . "
Do you have a bunch of beadwork scraps in your work area? You know, those small pieces that for whatever reason never made it to full project status? I have a bunch of them--that's just a fraction of my little "reject" pile (a.k.a. my "What was I thinking?" pile) in the photo. On Wednesday, Jean Campbell will share a creative idea for using up all those scraps of beadwork that you've been saving. So go clean out your bead area and get ready!
New Reader Poll: What inspires you? Results will be shared in a future Beading Daily.
Michelle Mach shares beading news, contests, reader galleries, and other beady stuff every Monday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.