Okay Bead Fest fans, we are super pumped about this one! As many of you probably know, Shipwreck Beads is basically paradise for anyone who adores creating jewelry, and we were lucky enough to interview the company’s social media guru and skilled jewelry art instructor, Kelsy Vincent. Kelsy also manages SWB’s beautiful and informative blog, Loose Ends presented by Shipwreck Beads. By the way, we will be answering exclusive questions for SWB’s blog, so stay tuned for more on this exciting collaboration!
For all of you coming to Bead Fest Fall (which hopefully is all of you, because it’s going to be an incredible experience!), visit Kelsy at Shipwreck Bead’s Inspiration Playground for a lineup of on-trend Make & Take workshops that will send you home with your own piece of wearable art!
Now, let’s dive into the questions!
1. Hi Kelsy! We are absolutely blown away by your blogging skills, social media savviness and ability to make beautiful jewelry art. So tell us, when did you first get into creating your own jewelry?
I’ve always been a really crafty person, whether it be beads or scrapbooking, it doesn’t matter. My dad has been a DIY-er for as long as I can remember. He would do projects with my brother and I when we were kids and always encouraged us to reuse and repurpose. Now, I consider myself somewhat of a Jill of all trades crafter and will try anything once. I’ve done needle felting, sewing, print making and photography, just to name a few. I’ve always had a real passion for jewelry making though and it was in high school, when I started working for Shipwreck Beads, that it really blossomed. I would make my own jewelry to wear to formal dances and give to friends. There is something so satisfying about being able to say “I made it” when someone asks you where you got your jewelry! Never could I imagine that I would get to do this everyday as my actual job.
2. Shipwreck Beads was founded by your family in 1969 and the company continues to grow. What is it like to watch SWB evolve into the ultimate mecca for beads and jewelry-making materials?
Well, it’s actually my husband’s family who owns it, but I have worked here since I was 16 so I’ve really grown up being a part of the business. I remember the first time I ever shopped at Shipwreck Beads. It was a little hole-in-the-wall, in a building that was around 600 square feet. My mom had taken us there to buy some beads when we were kids. We were going on a family road trip and she was hoping it would keep my brother and I entertained so we wouldn’t kill each other. I don’t remember how old I was at the time, but it was pretty young. And now, Shipwreck is at its fourth location in a building that is over 80,000 square feet! We even have the longest strand of beads in the Guinness Book of World Records! To see the store grow from the original location to what it is today has been pretty incredible. I love seeing customers faces when they walk through our doors for the first time. You can always tell when someone hasn’t been in before. The look of awe and amazement and just being totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of beads is the best! I’ll admit, sometimes I feel the same way.
You can find the Google tour here: http://www.shipwreckbeads.com/support/docs/Location
3. We are amazed by the fact that Shipwreck Beads has 17 BILLION beads in stock! If you had to choose a favorite type of bead from the entire store, which one would you choose? (We don’t blame you if you have more than one favorite!)
This is a really hard question! I don’t think I can pick one favorite! In our showroom, we have an area that we call “The Cove” where we house all of our high end gemstones. So, I guess if I had to pick a favorite it would be anything from there. I love love love rough cut stones, especially the quartz spears. And of course druzy stones are so hot right now! I love mixing the rough, rustic stones with leather or more polished components.
4. You are the social media guru for Shipwreck Beads and you’re constantly posting fantastic images and videos for fans of the company. What is your favorite part about connecting with fellow beading and jewelry-making enthusiasts through social media? Do you have a favorite social media platform?
The live videos on our Facebook page are something that is relatively new for us. I’ve only recently started filming them and it’s been a lot of fun, though somewhat agonizing. I never thought I would be in front of a camera like that but seeing the comments from our bead fans really makes it worth it. I really love Instagram and find that, personally, that’s where I post the most. Through pictures, you can tell a story, set a mood, elicit a feeling. There is something so personal and relatable about it.
5. Not only are you Shipwreck Beads’ social media queen, you also are a talented jewelry artist! What is your favorite technique to practice and teach?
I think the best part of my job at Shipwreck Beads is that I am constantly trying out new techniques and products. I don’t have to specialize in one specific style or technique. Whether it’s demo-ing a new tool or just playing around with new products, I can really have fun with it. From Shipwreck Beads’ blog, to the live videos we post on our Facebook page, there are a lot of opportunities to create. I’ve taught our Beading 101 class in the past and I also teach a “Beads & More” class at my daughter’s school. Working with kids is one of my favorite things! They are so creative and curious and I love knowing that I am opening up a whole new world to many of them. Being able to make beautiful things and share that with people is really rewarding and I am so lucky to be able to do it.
6. Clearly you adore jewelry. Out of your entire collection, which piece of jewelry is your favorite and what makes it special?
I make some really wild jewelry for the store but when it comes to what I wear; I usually keep it pretty simple. My favorite piece of jewelry would be my wedding ring, or I should say my replacement wedding ring because I lost my first one. It took my husband several years to forgive me and replace it. It’s an anniversary band with 13 little diamonds and he gave it to me on the 13th anniversary of us being together. Other than that, I have a silver necklace that my mom gave me with an angel charm on it and a really pretty PMC and white sapphire charm necklace from my mother in law.
7. Do you have any surprising or interesting facts about Shipwreck Beads that you want to share with us?
For the last four years, Shipwreck Beads has hosted our Artisan Market in August and November. The summer market is held in our parking lot and the winter one in the upstairs of our store. They feature 80+ local artisan’s selling handcrafted goods. We started the market back in 2012 as a way to connect with our community and our customers. Since the first year, the events have grown significantly and I look forward to seeing the different vendors who participate. As you can imagine, there are a lot of jewelry vendors but each seller is so unique and diverse. There are also vendors who sell beauty products, leather goods, stained glass, woodworking. It’s a really great group of people. We also have free make-n-takes, demonstrations, food and an incredible raffle for the Thurston County Food bank that features prizes donated by our vendors. It’s an incredible event and I look forward to it every time! Our next market will take place on Small Business Saturday, November 26th.
Here is an article from Thurston Talk, a local website, that goes into some more of the history of Shipwreck Beads: http://www.thurstontalk.com/2012/08/21/shipwreck-beads-would-you-like-some-history-with-those-beads/
8. Bead Fest Fall is just around the corner! What are you looking forward to the most about Bead Fest’s debut event in Tacoma?
I’ve actually never been to a bead show before so this will be a new experience for me. I’m so excited to just be a part of it. Our buyers go to Tucson every year but it’s been a long time since Shipwreck has attended anything as a seller. With Bead Fest right in our backyard this year, we couldn’t miss out! I love gemstones, so I am excited to see Dakota Stones. I’ve been saving my pennies so that I can do a little shopping. I also noticed that several of our past Artisan Market vendors are exhibiting at the show so I will definitely be catching up with them!
9. Shipwreck Beads will be hosting a lineup of awesome (and affordable!) Make & Take workshops at Bead Fest Fall’s Inspiration Playground. Can you give us a little sneak peek at these exciting sessions?
There is lots of sparkle and I get to share some of my favorite techniques. We will be working with rhinestone cup chain, leather, metal stamping and making tassels. There is such a variety of projects and I am so excited to share with everyone.
10. Last but not least! If you could take any Bead Fest workshop, which one would you choose and why?
I would love to take a workshop from Candie Cooper! I have been a fan of hers for a long time and try to catch her live videos whenever I can. Her style is amazing and her work is so inspiring. We chatted a little bit when I started filming the videos for Shipwreck and I got to pick her brain a little, so I am really excited to meet her in person. I’ll admit, I am a little bit of a fan girl when it comes to my favorite jewelry artists. I would love to take one of her workshops and hopefully I can find some time to squeeze one in between Make & Take sessions.
We absolutely LOVED learning all about Kelsy, her passion for making jewelry and her experience at Shipwreck Beads! Make sure you head over to SWB’s Facebook page to catch Kelsy’s videos. You will learn a lot from tuning in and Kelsy is absolutely wonderful on camera! We are so excited to meet Kelsy in person at Bead Fest Fall and we hope you get the chance to meet her, too!
Stay tuned for Bead Fest’s feature on SWB’s blog and join us October 13-16 in Tacoma, Washington for a weekend of learning, shopping and inspiration at Bead Fest Fall!