The name World Beads doesn’t do justice to what’s actually inside the storefront on Broadway. Sure, there’s a dizzying array of beads, semi-precious stones, and sparkly Swarovski crystals, but also behind the counter is a knowledgeable and crafty staff ready to help complete your next creation or readily offer their jewelry repair services.
“I think what makes us successful is our hands on approach to our customers,” said Melissa Ludin. “Helping nurture their creativity and passing on our knowledge of crafting,” she said.
Since the 1990s, the boutique has featured beads from all around the world. The small bead shop has established itself in the community of capitol-hill crafters and DIY jewelers, a place where designers can stop by for supplies like wire, chains, and charms.
“We hope that in turn, people come and support our business and we can stay put despite the changing neighborhood,” said Ludin. “Rent gets higher and it’s harder to stay afloat when your items cost 15 cents!”
While she enjoys sharing her jewelry-making skills with customers, it hasn’t always led to success. “What hasn’t worked is being in that teaching position, and having people use us a resource, and then going and buying materials elsewhere,” she said.
Unlike the shop’s Pike Place Market location that attracts tourists from all walks of life, the Broadway location draws a collective of neighborhood artists, catering to crafters looking for the perfect bead or tool to complete their piece of jewelry.
Be it bold, or not so bold, from natural wood hair pipe beads popular with Native American beaders to big, bright beads small enough for the kiddos, they’ve got every kind of bead imaginable. Plus, all the tools you need to string it together. Their metalsmithing stuff and semi-precious stones, which they sell individually, are particularly popular. The same goes for the Delicas, teeny-tiny glass sea beads used for stitching or can even be used to create a textile. These are popular with the out-of-towners who can’t get the beads in their own town or are too expensive to ship.
The shop is also known as a reliable place for repairs, offering reasonably-priced jewelry repairs that typically take about a week.
“People bring in their mother’s antique pearls that are falling apart and they just want to be able to wear them,” said staff member Kayleen Konold.
“We fix em up and there are tears of joy, it’s really rewarding,” she said.
World Beads is located at 233 Broadway E. You can learn more at facebook.com/WorldBeadsSeattle.