The Beads Unlimited story

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 (well maybe not that vast, but still amongst the top UK bead suppliers)!

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 it 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 its floorboards and 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, jewellery 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.

We attend a number of outside events, both retail and trade, to ensure that we remain well connected to the retail mainstream. This also ensures our more committed craft workers are not neglected.

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 we travel by uncomfortable, and occasionally dangerous, means 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.