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Whole lotta beads and more

Julie Bonnar catches up with Graham Halls to chat about the newly formed company Wholesale Beads, and what it can offer retailers stocking jewellery making products

How did Wholesale Beads come about?
It started nine years ago as CJ Beaders. We started buying products from overseas which were well-received, and we progressed to selling some of the imports to other traders. As wholesale sales grew, we formed a new company, Wholesale Beads Ltd, in March last year. We've moved to a new location, with some of the staff from CJ Beaders moving with us. We're a new company, but with nine years experience of supplying products for jewellery making.

Who are your customers?
They range from multi-national online retailers to small independent retailers. We don't supply individuals that sell on eBay and concentrate on supplying only those retailers who have bricks and mortar stores or dedicated online sites, which can provide its customers with good customer service and support for the products.

What specialist brands do you distribute?
We've always focused on branded products, which for the most part means we have fewer after-sales service issues. Today, we've access to more than 65,000 products. We first started distributing Beadalon products, which is still perhaps the best known brand for jewellery crafting. However, we also distribute for many companies, brands and products.

Listed here are a few of the major ones:
John Bead of Canada (under the 'Dazzle-It' and 'Metal Complex' brands) - a fast growing company that has been established for more than 50 years in North America, whom we share a stand with at Craft Hobby + Stitch every February. Through connections with John Bead, we also distribute products from Miyuki and Preciosa.
Griffin - this company is best-known for brands of silk cord and beading products based in Germany.
ImpressArt - a relative newcomer to the craft marketplace, and possible produce the widest range of Alphabet and Design stamps available today.
Bead Buddy - US company that has some distinctive and innovative products for crafters.
All Beads Czech - a manufacturer of Czech glass beads, who're coming up with some exciting new shapes and coatings of beads.
Shesto - producer of a great range of low-cost Daylight magnifiers, and jewellery making tools. Xuron - a specialist manufacturer of professional cutters and pliers for jewellery makers.
Helby Products - we've recently started distributing Helby Products under the Beadsmith brand, which is proving to be very popular.
Eclectic Products - manufacturers of 'Craft Goop' and 'E6000' craft adhesives.
GS-Hypo - a specialist manufacturer of adhesives for jewellery making.

What are the best-selling products?
Jewellery crafts seem to go through seasonal trends, but we continue to see strong growth in the demand for seed beads (Miyuki and Preciosa), and the fastest growing area is in the ImpressArt range of metal stamps. These are premium priced products but the range is always very attractive to jewellery makers, leather workers and those working with clay products.

How do you ensure that Wholesale Beads is at the cutting edge of the jewellery-making sector?
We're constantly looking at new products, as such we have become known for handling some niche product areas, and often approached by manufacturers when new products appear on the market. We also spend a lot of time in the consumer area, listening to what the end users are asking for. We remain focused on the jewellery making sector and haven't been tempted to look at other craft areas as we believe that we know this sector well, and our customers see us as the experts, plus a company that they can trust to help them decide what to purchase.

What changes have you seen within this sector over the last few years?
The sector has seen a huge amount of growth, partly due to the economic situation, which has made consumers look at where they might be able to save money, or make money by making their own jewellery to sell. I also feel this sector owes a lot to Gill Ferris at Beadtime; she and her team have bought lots of exciting and affordable new beading products to the UK market that has widened the appeal of this craft. Wholesale Beads is always trying to complement its product range rather than compete, which means both the public and retailers benefit from an ever-growing range of products available. We've also seen many crafters that are now well established as jewellery makers turn to more expensive craft items, and Wholesale Beads is often in a position to supply the higher end tools and precision beads that they're looking for.

Do you have any exciting news to share with us?
We've released more new products for this sector from John Bead, Beadalon and ImpressArt.

Wholesale Beads
T: +44 (0)1425 837 244
E: sales@wholesalebeads.eu
W: www.wholesale-beads.eu

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