Deborah Beads - a Real, Local Gem
“I like to think it’s a little to do with me and my customer service. I want to please my customers and give them what they want. After 10 years I’m still here, so I think I’m doing something right! I’m friendly and welcoming, I never want anyone to feel intimidated in my shop.” - Deborah on why she believes her business stands out above her competitors.
Colchester Streets latest visit was to Deborah Beads, a fun, unique, vibrant business that is managing to grow and progress in the current economic climate. Deborah Beads has been in business for 10 years in September and is situated just outside Colchester, on the way to Rowhedge. I was surprised at how lovely and interesting the shop was! We love visiting small, independent businesses and helping to expose them as we get to meet some fabulous people, and Deborah was no exception. It’s no wonder she described herself as friendly. She was so welcoming and I can imagine that’s the kind of welcome any customer gets - whether they’re returning or new.
When Deborah first started her business, it was on an extremely small scale, with just one small room, a table, a cash tin and a few beads. The idea was to turn her hobby (and slight obsession) into a business. Something where she could pass on her knowledge and leave her former bank job behind. As Deborah told us, people choose to go to her shop, they never chose to go to the bank - they went there because they had to. Deborah started out running a few classes, however, it quickly grew into something that has become a sustainable and respectable business. As customer numbers increased, Deborah Beads’ need for a bigger space also did. She then knocked through the wall and the business was well and truly on its way.
Now, a beads shop isn’t the most conventional thing I’ve ever written about, but Deborah is a very charismatic, inspirational person and her pure love and passion for what she does emanates from her. I can imagine that you would leave her shop feeling energised and giddy - as Indre and I both did and we didn’t even get to make anything!
Deborah doesn’t just sell beads though. She runs jewellery making classes, open days and subscription boxes. Hobbies are dying out - some people think that going to the pub drinking every night is a hobby. So, if you’re thinking of starting a new one, consider jewellery making. It’s inexpensive, and very cathartic. Deborah runs classes that are suitable for beginners through to advanced jewellery makers. They cost between £20-25 and you go away with five pieces of jewellery; 2 necklaces, 2 bracelets and a set of earrings. But it’s not just jewellery you take away with you. Deborah said many of her customers have become friends with each other and enjoy going to the shop to socialise as well as indulge their passion. When people attend the classes, they learn all the basic techniques for jewellery making, so you can go home and start creating immediately. Deborah also sends on a booklet with little reminders on how to do stuff.
On the first Saturday of every month, Deborah holds an open day where everyone is welcome to go along, see all of Deborah’s new products and how to make some pieces. You can sit and make jewellery, or just have a look around. Each month, they do a new project. Deborah wants people to feel inspired and learn their own style and the colours they like to create with.
Her newest addition to the business is the subscription box which is just £5 a month. They’re hugely popular and rightly so. You can’t even go to a Costa and get a cake and coffee for a fiver! Deborah makes them colour themed, depending on the season, and they will include: a mini strand of beads, findings - things you need to put the jewellery together like clasps, earwigs and rings, cord, wire, a pendant and gemstones. Each month it will vary, but it’s a nice surprise to come home to!
The other thing Deborah likes to do is have a couple of open evenings a couple of times a year. When a new load of stock arrives, Deborah likes to host special evenings to show customers what she has, have some drinks and nibbles, and just have fun.
I found the best thing about Deborah Beads was the atmosphere. It was so relaxed and charming. And that’s all down to Deborah. She was so lovely and deserves to do well. She isn’t in it for the money. She just wants to share her love for something with others, and hopefully inspire. The jewellery she creates is one of a kind. Just like her.
Thanks for inviting us and I’m positive you will see us both soon!