For those of you just discovering Shipwreck Beads, take it from us when we tell you it’s the ultimate paradise for anyone who loves creating jewelry. Shipwreck Beads is an 80,000-square-foot building that houses more than 17 billion—yes, billion!—beads. (Read our original Shipwreck Beads Q&A for more of their history!)
Q&A with Beth Simmons of Shipwreck Beads
We had the chance to catch up with Beth Simmons, Shipwreck Beads’ buyer and event manager, and she gave us the inside scoop on the exclusive events and charitable support Shipwreck Beads is offering in honor of Bead Fest Tacoma!
“The after-hours shopping event is happening on Saturday, October 28. We’re going to open our showroom up from 7 PM until 10 PM, and any purchases that are made during that time will have 20% of the purchase price go toward Beads of Courage as a donation. The after-hours shopping event is something I’m excited about to give people an opportunity to come down and see us who are in town for Bead Fest.”
We’re so excited to be collaborating with Shipwreck Beads for the second time! What are some new products Bead Fest attendees can find at Shipwreck Beads when they’re in town for the event?
“We always have new products coming through! Our newest lines come from Nunn Designs and we’ve had Jesse James Beads since the spring, but it keeps growing for us. So we brought in a bunch of Jesse James Beads’ new releases for the Pantone Fall Collection. Those have been really, really hot.”
The Shipwreck Beads team designed some out-of-this-world Make & Take projects for this year’s Inspiration Playground. Can you tell us more about the designs?
“The overall theme that I see when I recreate these pieces is that we’re working with materials in unconventional ways. They have a free-form feel, and that’s what I’m hoping to convey with the Inspiration Playground. There are so many ways to use these different items in a flexible manner. The Rhinestone Cuff can be used in a lot of different ways. That’s something we’re trying to focus on, is using things in ways you wouldn’t necessarily think of right away.”
Do you have a favorite Inspiration Playground project?
“I love the Rhinestone Ranch Leather Cuff. I wear one of the samples pretty regularly. I put it on when I come in every morning, and every once in a while I forget to take it off when I go home!”
How would you describe your personal jewelry style?
“I wear boho-style jewelry. I’m a jeans and tee-shirt kind of gal, and so long layered necklaces with tassels, feathers and some leather is great. Today I’m wearing Candie Cooper’s etched bullet casings, and I love those. They’re so cool. And I do a lot mixed textures.”
Can you tell us about some of the fascinating and unique things that people can find at Shipwreck Beads?
“We try to carry a little bit of everything, but the one group of products that I’m really enamored with right now is the high-quality brass line by Continental. It’s a line of bib connector pieces, free-form bubble connector shapes, and I’m really in love with how versatile those pieces can be.”
We heard the Inspiration Playground will have a theme this year! Can you tell us more about what we have to look forward to?
“Yes! I’m thinking it will be inspired by Ball in a Labyrinth. I want to do a bit of a masquerade, and use masks, feathers, rhinestones and things of that sort. I may even put in a selfie spot so people can take pictures with all of their projects.”
If you’re over-the-moon excited about Shipwreck Beads’ Instagram-worthy Inspiration Playground and their $5 Make & Take projects, keep in mind that you receive FREE weekend Expo admission if you also purchase a workshop!
Tacoma Locals: Check out Shipwreck Beads’ Artisan Market this November!
“We have an event coming up in November. It’s our Artisan Market and it happens November 25-26. We host 90 to 100 local artisans—jewelry makers, leather workers, painters, photographers and we’ve even had someone doing aura readings.” –Beth Simmons
Join us & Shipwreck Beads this October 26-29 at Bead Fest Tacoma!
On behalf of the entire Bead Fest and Shipwreck Beads teams, we hope you can make it!