The Beads Unlimited story
About us in four bite-sized chunks
First steps: retail beads
We first opened our modest premises, the Brighton Bead Shop, in March 1986, with the idea of supplying not just glass beads but a vast, cosmopolitan mix of jewellery making supplies. It was an icy day notable for a three inch snow fall and we took less than £50. A less than auspicious start for the vast, corporate and hi tech entity of today.
Learning to walk: wholesale beads
Mail order beads were a part of our business from the beginning. For a while it was merely a box file by the shop counter but swiftly grew and took over the old bathroom at the back of the shop. As we expanded into wholesale beads and a wider range of jewellery making supplies more room became a priority.
Our excess stock was kindly stored above the local pottery, straining the floor boards & giving its proprietor nightmares about millions of tiny glass beads showering the customers below. Wholesale beads were not what the potter had in mind when his doors opened in the morning. So in the summer of 1995 we expanded to a second shop across the road and a creepy storeroom just around the corner. This seemed like luxury for a while...
Jogging along: jewellery-making supplies
After several cases of startled staff skating down the stairs on loitering large glass beads and nerves wearing thin from visiting the storeroom (sensitive creatures that we are) we decided a change was in order. So in November 2001 we moved our mail order beads department to a spanking new warehouse in Hove.
All our beads, pendants, findings and threads are now neatly regimented and staff have taken on an air of serenity as our world famous speedy service has become even more efficient. Our friendly, personal service remains the same.
Our shop is still open and welcoming visitors & the beads we carry at both outlets are still designed to appeal to all. For our fashion range we take our cue from the bright young things who populate the café society of the North Laine area of Brighton where our shop stands. We attend a number of outside events both retail and trade to ensure that we remain well plugged into the retail mainstream. This also ensures our more committed craft workers are not neglected.
We publish a large format, full colour catalogue. We keep our stock levels higher than our bank manager approves of and we aim to despatch customers' orders within two days of receipt if received before midday.
Around the world beads marathon
We are at pains to check the production of our top selling lines. This takes us to far flung corners of the world where we are offered spicy food and travel by uncomfortable and occasionally dangerous methods of transportation. Understanding the production process gives us the edge in quality control and getting new designs out to you, our lovely and loyal customers. We operate an informal fair trade policy where possible. Happy, smiling workers make happy smiling beads. Overbearing bosses overseeing downtrodden workers do not make suitable suppliers.
You can't beat Brighton for shopping
A short video filmed around Brighton with businesses, shopkeepers, shoppers and other lovers of our super city:
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The Beading Times
Shirley from Worthing
"Just wanted to say a really BIG thank you for your speed of service!" more >
Fiona from Aldershot
"Thank you for such a great service and such beautiful items." more >