buying beads wholesale for a retail bead store

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Ricki Ayer wrote
on Aug 22, 2011 7:41 AM

As I am someone who can not imagine myself having a store, but am so thankful that so many people have the talent, the time, the patience, and the love that goes into a LBS.  Deb, I absolutely loved the time I spent in your wonderful shop this spring and meeting you - can't wait to get back to AZ again.  I am a very "hands on" kind of person and while I do order some beads and findings online, I much prefer walking into a store with the walls lined with beads and being able to see the colors, touch the beads - feeling their weight, seeing how they drape through my fingers and carrying them from one display to another while I find their friends to take them both home to play together.  I drag my poor husband to local bead stores wherever we go on vacation - AZ and PA this year...the Dakotas and Ky in recent years...  At bead shows I can meet people from all over the country and the world in some cases and see what beauties they each have to offer...again, being able to see the beads and handle them appeals much more than looking at a picture on a screen.  I am so grateful to all of the wonderful people who squeak out a living and work the long hours needed to provide us with the wonderful magical shops that feed our beading habit. 

While I love meeting and talking to people and sharing my jewelry at the craft shows I sell at, I know i do not have the knack for a store but appreciate so much all of you who do have the love and the strength to provide us with the shops that we all love to visit.

Thank you all,


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DebWAZ wrote
on Aug 30, 2011 3:21 PM


It was fun having you visit. I'm glad you enjoyed the store. You are like many people who have to see and touch the beads and let them "talk" to you. I'm the same way. It's okay that my DH does most of the ordering, but I really love it when the vendors come to see us and I get to hand pick what we buy.

When someone brings me a hank of beads or pearls and says, "I want one of these", I always ask if there's a particular one. Sometimes it doesn't matter and other times they MUST have a particular strand. It does make a difference to some people.






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pammcgahey wrote
on Feb 6, 2014 1:02 AM

Any chances you can share "where" to find the wholesalers?  I am in Washington State (Orting) and starting to look for them to open a bead/metal shop.  I have typed EVERYTHING I can imagine into the google all I get is places that are NOT true wholesalers...they don't ask for my resalers number or anything...ANY leads would be greatly appreciate :O)))  Pam



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SCB1 wrote
on Feb 7, 2014 8:36 AM

Pam,  First this is a very old post 3 years old. Not sure how often she comes around anymore.

I haven;t found a single business that is willing to share their sources. Now a days businesses struggle to stay alive giving out that type of information is counter productive. 

Good luck getting someone to share this information.

Happy Beading!!


Small-town USA. 




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SegBead wrote
on Feb 11, 2014 4:42 PM

Pam, first off HELLO MY FELLOW WASHINGTONIAN!    (Olympia here Geeked  )

I do not currently work in the industry- but I have do have reasably extensive experience and still have many ties there...

I will say that not all wholesalers will require a UBI/TAX-ID number for the best price. This does not exclude them as true wholesalers. Of course, your UBI number qualifies you to shop without sales tax (where applicable), but often times the 'best price' is available based mainly upon quantity rather than tax exemption. There are a few reasons for this, a couple following below:

For one, this allows anyone purchasing wholesale quantities to get the best available price. I know this sends a red flag up as a potential business owner, but it's rare that the retail customer needs 2400 4mm druks in a specific color. As a retail consumer who may be doing a large project, stocking up on commonly used items, or even splitting an order with your friend(s)- you are not forced into paying $.03/bead on a project you may need 3600 pieces of... one time (ouch).

Secondly, this prevents EVERYONE (your potential customers) who spent the nominal licencing fee from being able to purchase 100 beads at the same rate as your retail store who bought 100,000pc of that item. This would make it incredibly difficult for businesses like you're envisioning. Otherwise- you'd be competing directly with the wholesaler for customers.

If I'm running a bead shop, I simply CANNOT afford to give the best price on retail quantities to everyone and their mother who paid $30 for a Tax ID# or I wouldn't stay in business long- and my wholesale customers would be quite upset with me.

 I can understand the frustration, especially with (as the moderator stated) so few being willing to share their sources. Unfortunately I'm in that same boat, I can't really divulge much. Keep in mind that with the exception of periphery items, any real wholesaler buys directly from the manufacturer. Many of these manufacturers being overseas, and requiring quite extensive monetary commitments along with consistent orders make it difficult to break into the industry at this level and begin a business relationship.

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KipperCat wrote
on Feb 11, 2014 8:12 PM
I got a sales tax license when I thought I might try some shows. I did find some wholesalers who offered very good prices - at very high quantities! A few of them asked for my expected purchase amount during the registration process. I suspect I would have seen different prices if my anticipated purchases weren't so small. ............................Some designers sell a whole lot of kits. Would they be more likely to share their supply sources than bead store owners? ..................Here are some of the names I remember. Maybe one of them will have some good pricing. Best of luck with your store! ...................... ..... Har-Man Beads Importing ..... ... ... ... ... ...........................I haven't actually purchased from any of these Life intervened in my beading plans.
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ShelleyTP wrote
on Feb 28, 2014 2:51 PM


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