From the first year the policy at Yone Beads was to make them available for everyone. People could walk in off the street, see the selection, and pick out the special beads that interested them. Some of the leading people in beads and bead design today came around. Beads were new, but bead lovers knew what to do with them.
To be able to touch and select what you wanted was a novelty. Here is an example of a mindset in the bead business at that time. A New York wholesaler of beads paid me a visit. He was horrified, almost insulted by what he saw. “You let them handle the beads! They must be stealing you blind.” Also a well known local shoplifter complained, “You’re pathetic” she said, “it’s too easy to steal from you.” We were lucky. Our customers were happy to pay for the beads. They were not ordinary beads.
A very good customer was a young woman who spent most of her welfare check on beads. She made wonderful things out of the beads and was able to support herself and her two children in this way. Her ingenuity really paid off. She eventually sold her work at big stores all around the country, made her fortune, and later told her story on the Opra Winfrey show. My customer was an example of what a bead lover can do then and do today.
Now everyone seems to be into beads, but bead lovers are as few now as they were then. They lead and do not follow. To create rather than to copy is a talent that few have. The range of beads is so extensive. It is impossible to stock everything in a small store like Yone Beads. The solution is to transfer most of the stock to the internet, and specialize in beads that you don’t find everyday. Beads of value that I like and hope you will too.