We’ve Been Nominated!

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 6.01.19 PMWe’re excited to announce that we’ve been nominated in several categories for the 2016 Work Local Awards, a celebration of the best local employers in the Bay Area. The categories are:

  • Coolest Workspace
  • Best Co-Workers
  • Best Employer: Retail
  • Most Community-Oriented Employer
  • Most Fun Place to Work

The Work Local Awards highlights the boutiques, cafes, nonprofits, startups, and all the local employers that make our local communities thrive. Blue Door Beads is proud to be counted among the local businesses who have been nominated for at least one of the Work Local Awards!

The awards are presented by Localwise—the local job community in the Bay Area—in partnership with other local businesses. Localwise is a mission-driven organization focused on helping local businesses hire great local people.

Thanks to all of our loyal customers, fellow community members, friends, and loved ones who nominated us for these awards! We’d like to invite to to join the fun by submitting your RSVP for the celebration event on April 28th.

Check out some of the lovely things our supporters had to say:

“Blue Door Beads has the best vibe on Piedmont Avenue! I know I will always be greeted back as if I’m their best friend walking through the front door! I know it’s the most fun place to shop for awesome jewelry-making supplies and art!”

“This is one of the few bead stores left in the East Bay and they are super-cool, friendly, and conscious! They do more than retail – they provide a place for artists, for classes, and for all kinds of jewelry and other media artists to showcase their work. Plus, the vibe is fun and exciting!”

“Community-minded, customer-oriented, responsive, caring, creative, upbeat, supportive, innovative, fun and, again, creative. The owner is amazing. Sara really cares about her store and her customers. She goes out of her way to make people feel well-taken-care-of. She’s good with everyone – the kids, the millennials, the over-50’s. The store is well-lighted, clean, brimming with possibilities, and the shared center table for people who want to do their beading in the store is a magnet for shared creativity.”

“Blue Door Beads is a great fit in the Piedmont area of Oakland. Sara is a wonderful owner, boss, and neighborhood advocate. They support local artists and have great social events to encourage customers to use their services and those of the businesses around them.”

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Keeping It Local

We here at Blue Door Beads are lucky enough to be a part of the incredibly vibrant and lively business district of Piedmont Avenue, and we thank our lucky stars every day that we have been able to make wonderful connections with so many local artists! Although our main focus is selling beads and other jewelry materials for others to create their own jewelry, we do feature a selection of finished jewelry. Most of said jewelry is created by our in-house staff, but many pieces are created by local artists. Although we wish we could feature tons of finished jewelry by every local artist with whom we make connections, we decided we would do the next best thing and have this week’s blog post be about all of our favorite local artists. So here’s a big, collective shout-out to all you talented Bay Area peeps!

Photo courtesy of ArtfulHummingbird on Etsy.

Photo courtesy of ArtfulHummingbird on Etsy.

Oakland resident Martha Preble’s gorgeous Etsy store, ArtfulHummingbird, is an amazing testament to her talents of fusing fine silver, wire-wrapping gemstones, and creating inspiring combos of color and texture. The gemstones she chooses to use in her pieces are incredible — we want one of everything!

Photo courtesy of MarmarSuperstar on Etsy.

Photo courtesy of MarmarSuperstar on Etsy.

Mark Poulin of Oakland has three (count ’em — THREE!) Etsy stores dedicated to his love of creating whimsical jewelry. How whimsical? Not only does he create adorable pendants and charms — including a sloth, a platypus (pictured), and a triceratops — but his introduction to his store MarmarSuperstar starts out, “If I had a unicorn I would feed it whole wheat carrot muffins.” Awesome!

Photo courtesy of J. Fein Designs.

Photo courtesy of J. Fein Designs.

Jessica Fein of J. Fein Designs may be an Alameda artist, but she travels all over selling her one-of-a-kind rings and other cool jewelry. Her urban-yet-organic designs are created with vintage close-out jewelry findings and sustainably harvested wood ring shanks imported from Bali. We feature her rings here at Blue Door Beads, and Jessica has also been featured in New York Magazine, Eco Fabulous, and Everyday with Rachel Ray. She’s a busy gal!

Photo courtesy of StudioRhino on Etsy.

Photo courtesy of StudioRhino on Etsy.

StudioRhino from Alameda, CA features an wonderful selection of handmade sterling silver jewelry, combining cute critters with fun shapes and beautiful accents made of Japanese chiyogami paper. We find StudioRhino to be one of those Etsy stores where, come the holidays, we will be able to find something for literally every jewelry-wearing lady on our gift list!

Photo courtesy of VelvetOtterhound on Etsy.

Photo courtesy of VelvetOtterhound on Etsy.

VelvetOtterhound, also of Alameda, combines her love of steampunk style and vintage jewelry with delicate wire-wrapped accents and unusual chain. All of her pieces are one-of-a-kind, and it is obvious that she takes great care in selecting quality (and funky!) components for her jewelry. Very cool!

Photo courtesy of NouveauMotley on Etsy.

Photo courtesy of NouveauMotley on Etsy.

Oakland-based NouveauMotley is just the right combination of funky, macabre, and cool. Whether you are looking for watch-part cuff links, a weevil-and-labradorite necklace, or victorian button earrings, chances are you will find something amazing in this Etsy store. And with over 1,700 five-star reviews, NouveauMotley is obviously an artist worth supporting!

Photo courtesy of QueenBeader on Etsy.

Photo courtesy of QueenBeader on Etsy.

For those who enjoy colorful jewelry with fun themes — such as sugar skulls, Rockabilly & roses, or Bay Area sports teams — Queenbeader on Etsy is right up your alley. Oakland resident Brianah Burns’ wide variety of funky pendants, rings & earrings are fun for any occasion, but her Bay-Area-team-themed pieces are perfect for showing some #1 fan pride at the next big game!

Photo courtesy of Hrvst 3D.

Photo courtesy of Hrvst 3D.

Blue Door Beads was the first to carry the 3D-printed Bay Area Landmark series of pendants and charms by Harvest Design, and we love the new designs they keep coming up with! However, our first love will always be their version of the Oakland tree. The fact that the trees come in purple and pink just makes them that much more fun!

Photo courtesy of ColdhouseDahlia on Etsy.

Photo courtesy of ColdhouseDahlia on Etsy.

We have known Karri Jose of Alameda for many years, and although she is currently taking a break from making jewelry, we can’t get enough of her adorable handbags and messenger bags! We know her Etsy store ColdhouseDahlia has nothing to do with jewelry, but we love purses almost as much as we love necklaces & earrings, so we wanted to give her a shout-out anyway!

P.S. Did you know that Etsy has an option where you can shop locally? Here’s a link! Now you can shop locally and support artists in your area, even if you are feeling too lazy to actually leave the house. Racking up good karma while staying in our pajamas? Yes, please!

P.P.S. Have we inspired you to start selling your own work? We hope so! Interweave Press (publisher of Beadwork, Stringing, and Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazines) has some great reasons why you should start a jewelry business right now. Check ’em out!

Avoid the Mall & Shop Small!

We know some folks look forward to the Christmas shopping season because of all the great deals to be had on big-ticket items at big-name stores. Don’t get us wrong: an LG Blu-ray Player for only $38 is a pretty darn good deal. However, if it means we have to spend an hour finding parking, 20 minutes being jostled around by fellow shoppers also eager to get their little hands on the latest gadget, and then God-knows-how-long in the checkout line,…well, we can think of quite a few other ways we’d rather spend our time  — and money! — this holiday season.

We have a few recommendations for how you can enjoy shopping this Thanksgiving weekend and avoid having to curse at that guy in the sedan who just took the last $@#%&^! parking spot.

Plaid Friday – Friday, November 23rd
The name Plaid Friday celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent businesses. Plaid Friday is the fun and enjoyable alternative to the big box store “Black Friday,” and it is designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays. The movement was conceptualized in Oakland, CA, a city known for strong “shop local” campaigns. Plaid Friday brings back the nostalgic times when shopping for friends and family was a pleasurable, leisurely activity. We hope that you choose to shop at your favorite new, local, independent bead store this holiday season (*hint hint*)! Or, if you don’t happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, we hope you will spend some time at your favorite small, local shops, and that you choose to wear plaid while doing so to show your support of the movement!

Small Business Saturday – Saturday, November 24th
Small Business Saturday is a day for everyone — from the business owners who create jobs to the customers who buy locally — to support small businesses that invigorate the economy and keep communities thriving. When you shop at a local, small business, not only are you supporting that particular establishment, but you are also supporting the other establishments within that community! Think about it: the gals at Blue Door Beads get their coffee at Gaylord’s Caffe Espresso, buy their lunch at The Posh Bagel, Baja Taqueria and Sparky’s, and go to see a movie after work at Piedmont Cinema. By supporting BDB, you’re allowing us to support the other small businesses in our neighborhood. The beautiful cycle continues! Small Business Saturday is now in its third year, so please help this year be the most successful one yet!

One of the many gorgeous beaded creations from Blue Door Beads’ very own Martha Preble featured in her Etsy store, ArtfulHummingbird.

Etsy Sunday (we just made this one up!) – Sunday, November 25th
Didn’t find what you were looking for on Friday or Saturday? You will be hard pressed NOT to find something perfect for that impossible-to-please someone on your list if you visit www.etsy.com. For example: Blue Door Beads’ manager, Lydia, has a good friend who loves all things hippo-related.  All Lydia had to do when searching for a gift for her was type in “hippo” in the “Search” box, and up popped hippo greeting cards, hippo-printed fabric, stuffed plush hippos, hippo t-shirts, and even a crocheted hippo baby hat! There are oodles of finished gifts on Etsy, but crafty folks like us can also find unique supplies perfect for jewelry-making, such as teeny tiny glass bottles perfect for filling with beads or beach glass and using as pendants! Etsy even features gift cards, which they have dubbed the ideal “choose-your-own-adventure gift.” By shopping through Etsy, you are supporting a wide range of independent, multi-media artists, many of whom are just starting to sell their handmade wares. Not only will you be doing your part to support DIY artists, but you may very well get to be someone’s first sale! You can also choose to shop local by entering a city and shopping through Etsy stores located in your hometown. Searching for shops based out of Oakland, CA yielded 21,443 results alone. Talk about a wide selection!

We hope you enjoy shopping small this Thanksgiving weekend — and throughout the holiday season!