As far back as I can remember, I’ve been crafty.
However, it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I began my obsession with beads. Any trip my husband and I took, whether near or far, we… well ok, I… had to stop at a… correction… ALL…bead stores we could find. In my late thirties, I had finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life! I don’t know how kids go off to college at 18 and know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. I’m not the type of person that follows rules all that well so, of course, I didn’t write up a business plan, nor did I study the demographics. I started researching beads. The more I researched, the more addicted I became. I want those, I need those, and those, and those. It took me three and a half to four years from the time I told my husband I’d like to open a bead store for it to finally happen. So two and a half years of searching and making plans, and then another year and a half of actually remodeling our first location, getting stock in, tying, tubing, packaging…WE OPENED!
On November 16, 2006, JUJU BEADZ opened their doors for business.
On December 2, 2006, a day we had planned to have our official grand opening, the river behind the shop decided to burst out of its banks and fill our store with 18 inches of water. Awesome are the men and women that showed up and helped get everything in our building up. What did we learn? Two hours flat we could get everything put up, flood water is filthy, we only lost a few bead mats, BUT, that “which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I did paperwork in the back room with a make-shift desk, and tried to help customers who stopped by, if we could get to the stock that was still stacked on tables awaiting the showroom to be remodeled. Two weeks later we were back in business.
January 5, 2007, we had the last of the new carpeting put into one of the back rooms, which I had planned to use on January 6th, our second try at a grand opening. The river had other plans for us. We got 20 inches this time. Women are awesome creatures; the simplest thing can bring a tear to our eyes, and we can hoist office furniture, filing cabinets, and our beloved BEADS out of harms way. This time we were closed for three weeks. At this time I began seriously wondering if I’m really supposed to have this bead store. What I didn’t say before, in the very beginning I had a little chat with God. I told him what I wanted to do and pretty much left it up to Him. My question then was answered when the financing for our “little” adventure did indeed come through. I know you’ve heard trial by fire, but water… and the “fun’ was just beginning.
Back to work we went. Little did we know the river was quietly planning to take over most of our downtown. I did say quietly planning. You see, only a few months before my oldest daughter and I walked the river bed in search of any little treasures the river had left exposed. I almost lost a new pair of shoes in the muck, I sank just about to my knees.
A wonderful August weekend was had by all. A few of us kidnapped our husbands and each other and headed up north. Sending the guys golfing, the girls set out to snoop through every nook and cranny of any and every bead store we could find. We are bead addicts, what can I say. Happily we headed home on Monday, and back to work on Tuesday. August 21, 2007, the rain is falling and the river is WIDE awake. JUJU BEADZ stayed open until 2 pm and then it was time to gather in the troops. Up, up, up, it all must go…two hours check, yes we have it down to almost a science. Almost! We planned for 2 feet…again the river had other plans. Sixty-five inches in our store, 4/10 of an inch from beating the all time flood record. It took three days before we could get back into the building, which still held two feet of water. The carpet was floating, tables were turned over, caps and tubes huddled in the corners, furniture and paperwork was full of mud. We snapped pictures and left. Beads can hold their breath under water, computers can not. A few more days passed and we could finally get in and start the cleanup process. My garage and back yard became “Bead Buster” central. Angels showed up everyday for three weeks straight to sort, clean, dry, re-clean, and sort some more. We set up two industrial fans and open tents to keep the sun from scorching us. We all took care of each other; “You need to sit for a bit,” “time for more sun screen,” “I’ll bring dinner tonight,” “OK, I’ll bring dinner tomorrow.” I also heard a lot of “I didn’t know you had that. It’s mine, soon as you open again.” We laughed, we cried, we hugged, shared stories, even had a water fight. I WON, of course.
My husband, Jeff, and I had our eye on a new building before the flood. In September the papers were signed, it was finally ours. We took turns working on cleaning beads and remodeling our new beady home. Again the “Bead Busters” came together and did what work needed to be done.
Our target date was set back a couple of times, mostly from the amount of product we had to repackage. In October my gallbladder decided it didn’t want to cooperate and needed to come out. The “Bead Busters” worked longer and harder. And found more items for their “when you open” stash.
The day after Thanksgiving, settled into our new home, high and dry, JUJU BEADZ reopened yet again. December turned into an awesome busy month for us. If you make the trip to visit us, you’ll get to see an awesome selection of Czech Glass, Bali silver, Thai Silver, Swarovski® Crystals, Semi Precious, Handmade Lampwork, Sterling Silver Findings, Tools, and of course SoftFlex® Beading Wire. We have a good size showroom with a table and four chairs for those that want to work on projects right in the store. The walls are adorned with words to live by, such as “Your husband called…he said buy anything you want,” “If you have faith, hope abounds, to let love live eternal,” and of course, “After every storm you should play.” For the little ones that accompany their moms to the store we have a cool playroom. Here they can play with the pirate ship or doll house, pound on the work bench, or write on the chalkboard walls. Our bathroom is decked out in light pink tile, accented by black painted walls……here you can sign your name or leave a short message with a silver paint pen. The new classroom has plenty of room to move around, and is equipped with a U–shaped table, great for teaching our awesome projects. We also hold birthday parties, girls get together parties, and holiday parties in there.
On most days you find me there playing in the beads as long as I can get away with it. Then off to do paperwork, it’s never finished. You’ll also find Kathy, my right and left hands.
Why did I tell you all of this? Simply to tell you this………DREAM!, keep dreaming, and follow it as long and as hard as you can. Sometimes you’re not the only one with that same dream. We are stronger than we think, JUJU BEADZ is proof.
THAT’S OUR STORY AND WE ARE BEADING WITH IT!
Kim, Ranae, Jules, Carol, Buffy, Candy, Rowen, Bev, Chelsea, Abbi, Jeff
I love and cherish you all, with all of my heart.