Meet the Blue Door Beads team!
This is a little about who we are, what we like, and what we do in our spare time outside of the bead world. Read more about us below!
I made my first pair of earrings when I was 8 years old at summer camp. I won’t ever forget that feeling of instant gratification by creating a wearable piece — right away, I knew I was hooked! My favorite part of working in a bead store is having a table full of customers that don’t know one another, who then work on projects together and leave as friends. Another perk of owning a shop is having the whole place all to myself after store hours! My favorite stone is carnelian — I love the color orange! I am originally from Southern California and went to college in Colorado, where I met my husband of 8 years, but I am now proud to call the Bay Area home since 2002. My other hobbies and passions are backpacking, road biking for fun and charity events, soccer, traveling, snowboarding, sewing and Sunday morning garage sales. Most recently, when I am not beading, I am spending time with my daughter (a.k.a. Bead Baby) who was born August 2011.
Lydia (manager, instructor, and author of our blog)
Although I have been beading since age 12, my favorite jewelry techniques are currently metal stamping and wire work. I feel that interacting with people and helping them tap their creative sides are the best parts about working in a bead store. Teaching others how to make jewelry is incredibly inspiring, and I am always so pleased when customers and students return to the shop to show me the jewelry they’ve made since taking my classes! When I’m not making jewelry, I enjoy biking around my hometown of Alameda, taking snapshots, and bargain hunting at local thrift stores & antiques fairs. I also enjoy mini vacations to such as hiking in Yosemite, collecting beach glass in Monterey & Fort Bragg (for wire-wrapping, of course!), and Napa for wine tasting. I hope to visit several more places soon, including Portland, OR, where I went to college, and the South of France, where I studied abroad my junior year. A few of my other favorite pastimes include hanging out with friends and singing karaoke!
Briana (inventory specialist)
Oakland, California has been my home since birth. However, for the past year, I was living in England as a part of my studies. I began to bead at my mother’s side when I was about 12, but I only seriously took up the hobby when I started working at Blue Door Beads. At the store, alongside coworkers and customers, I have learned a great deal of techniques and styles, my favorites techniques thus far being wire work and plaiting. The best part about working at the shop for me is helping someone with their first-ever beading project. It is so cool to see someone just pop in quickly to look around the store, but then leave with a finished piece of unique jewelry!
Beyond beading I enjoy yoga, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. My experience with the English culture has stirred my creativity and is something I hope to channel into my beading.
Dara (sales associate)
I fell in love with beads growing up in Washington State, after weekend trips with my mom to the Pike Place Market and Shipwreck Beads in Olympia. I guess you could say that’s where a life-long passion for creating art and building community truly began. I am a photographer, musician, and mischief-maker. I currently live in Oakland with my cat and love being in nature whenever I get a chance. Blue Door Beads is a hub of learning and inspiration and while I sometimes feel like a kid in a candy store, I’m glad I’ve grown up enough to keep on playing.
Sydney (sales associate)
I started beading at the age of 10 with my mom, and recently got back into serious beading after I began working at Blue Door Beads. I am very fond of chain and love to work with seed beads and gems. Working with someone on creating a one-of-a-kind piece is amazing to watch and be a part of. I am currently finishing up my studies at San Francisco State University and hope to take my experience from this amazing community-driven collective and apply it to my future endeavors working with youth by empowering them through creative exploration.
In my spare time, I enjoy biking around Oakland on my cruiser, finding treasures at local thrift stores, getting lost in a good book or art project, doing yoga, and of course making jewelry! I am originally from Southern California, currently call Oakland home, and I am overdue for an adventure abroad — last time was Europe, and Asia is next on my list. It is so rewarding to work in such a warm and inviting community of beaders, and I am so inspired every day at work!
Rachel (in-house photographer & part-time sales associate)
I am originally from Chicago. I have lived on Piedmont Avenue for 17 years. I consider this neighborhood my home. I am a photographer by trade, but I am also passionate about all kinds of art…especially beading and jewelry-making. I was taught beading by my mom and have been working with beads for 20 years. It is such a great experience to help people with their personal beading projects. I get such satisfaction helping people create their own artwork. I am constantly inspired by our customers’ ideas! I am an avid snowboarder, sailor, and love the outdoors. I volunteer for the National Park Service riding and taking care of their horses. I love the Bay Area for all it’s outdoor and creative opportunities, and working at Blue Door Beads is just another way I get to be creative and support the neighborhood that I call home.
Jane (part-time sales associate)
I am a student at Piedmont High School and have lived in the same house in Oakland for my whole life. I interned at Blue Door Beads for a year and was recently hired as a full-time staff member. I began making jewelry when I was 12 years old, and have been self-taught since then. The first pair of earrings I ever created were made of purple pearls and silver ear wires. I still wear them today! During my time interning at Blue Door Beads I have learned a great deal about the beading world. My favorite techniques that I have learned are knotting and wire work. In my free time I love skiing, playing lacrosse, and doing any type of water sport. I love dogs and have fostered a total of 8 puppies, not including my current dog. After endless begging and pleading, my parents finally let us adopt our dog, Quinn. I’m always at peace when I can get away and go on a hike with Quinn! I love traveling internationally, and every Spring Break I go down to Mexico to build houses for the people of Tijuana. I am currently planning a trip to the Galápagos Islands. I love working at Blue Door Beads and have loved getting to know all of the people in the beading community!
Bead Baby (official BDB spokesbaby)
The Blue Door Beads Bead Baby also goes by Ainsley, and she just so happens to be Sara’s daughter. Although she’s a bit young to create anything too intricate, we just know she’ll be a bold beader in her own right some day!