We asked Jenny of Jelly Beads of Mogo a few questions so you can get to know her a little more ahead of The Bead Show in Melbourne
How did you come to set up your business?
I was working in the Federal Dept of Families and Community Services, back in the early 2000s when a programme for Mature Age workers was set up to help with planning for retirement and helping the Dept control the loss of corporate knowledge through these workers. I joined the programme and over a period of several months and several workshops was able to focus what I wanted to do in retirement. Ha Ha. My choice of location was to be at the coast, Canberra was too cold in winter, too hot in summer. I was right into jewellery making at that time, so I decided I wanted a bead shop; and I decided on Mogo as a shop front location as it was an arty crafty town. My mum died in this time, and I had a small inheritance and so that was put into the business. Of course, the joke was I was moving from counting beans, to counting beads.
I resigned from the Dept on 30 June 2005 and opened my very small shop on 5 August 2005. I had not been idle in the meantime. I had established a small market stall at the Moruya Country Markets and from 5 boxes to 13 boxes of beads in 5 months, I figured the bead business was a good one to be in and took up an offer to share premises in Mogo. Since then, I have moved premises twice both within Mogo and now have quite a large space at 30 Princes Hwy.
BTW, I had always loved beads. Both Mum and my Nana had always worn beads and hats and they are both my loves. I have the first set of beads I ever fell in love with. They were Nana’s. They need some TLC but I will be wearing them again soon.
What’s the best part of running your business?
The best part of running my business is when I can fix a ‘big’ problem for a customer, with the simplest of solutions. Recently I tweaked a box clasp for a customer on a nice jade bracelet that a jeweller had said he could not fix. It was plated and the join was a difficult one. I agreed with that, but even simpler was lifting the tongue of the clasp up, so that it once again fitted snugly.
My customer was overjoyed and told me I was brilliant. I had to agree, but really it’s that reaffirmation that you are doing a good job that makes all the hard work worthwhile. How do you charge for something as simple as that? Just a hug is more than enough.
Where do you sell – Online, shopfront or show?
I sell shopfront in Mogo, online at www.jellybeads.com.au, on ebay (mostly Delicas) and now I am trying The Bead Show. My first show was good and steady and I am hoping that word will spread and you will become my good wire and metals customers. Each show I will bring something new, just to tempt you. I don’t only supply metals, wire, tools and books, but have a really big selection of seedies in the shop. They are small and fiddly to transport and so I have decided to keep it simple. You all know the KISS statement. Do one thing and do it well.
What do you like about attending a show?
It’s very tiring and I’m not so young, but I like seeing what other people have, meeting with people I’ve only chatted with by email or Facebook and it’s a very happy place to be. Who wouldn’t be happy with so many beads around?
What questions do customers ask most often and what do you reply?
“OMG, you must have every bead available. I’ve never seen so many beads” To which I reply, “I wish. This is only a microscopic portion of what is available.” They find it hard to believe. We all know you can never have too many beads and that there is always something new on the market to indulge our beadaholic pleasures.
Another statement that I get is “Where are the jellybeads?” We have a jar of them on the front counter. They are resin cats eye ovals that look just like a jellybean. The jar does say, DO NOT EAT. There are always comments about beads looking good enough to eat. And yes, we have had people put their hand in to try to taste them.
Which of your products which excites you the most?
I’m a gypsy and a bower bird. Anything new, is what I love today. But I still love resin, big beads and Lucite. The brighter the better.
Do you create with your products yourself and if so what do you make. Do you have other creative pursuits?
I am a jack of all trades at the shop. But my preference is stringing asymmetrically usually with a mix of shape, textures and colour. I do quite a lot of repairs, exchanging clasps to magnetic ones (our population base is predominantly retirees) and restringing pearls. I like doing that, when it goes well. I like playing with wire and metals and want to get into drilling sea glass and playing with that too.