How long have you been selling beads?
Kevin: We’ve been selling beads for almost 10 years now. Just saying that, I can’t believe it. We started Lima Beads because my wife Ali was obsessed with beads and designing jewelry. We thought we would just do it during college and then move on. We were wrong (happily).
What is your background and how did you get started?
Ali: We didn’t have a bead shop in the town I grew up in. When I was little, I used to make my parents drive me 60 miles to Ann Arbor to visit the bead shop. I was obsessed. When it came time to go away to college, where do you think i wanted to go? Ann Arbor! I came to The University of Michigan and started designing and selling jewelry to make extra money. By that time, Kevin and Steve were working together making e-commerce web sites for companies, so selling jewelry supplies online seemed like a good idea. We just jumped in and somehow, it all worked out.
What kind of space do you design, create and sell beads in?
Kevin: I can describe the kind of space that Ali designs in with one word: messy! I think her designs are so great because she never has a plan. She dumps things out on her desk and somehow turns them into something beautiful. For selling beads, we have a studio area where most of the marketing, web design, and photography happens and we also have a large, open stock room. We’d like to avoid moving into a big, boring warehouse for as long as we can. We’re close to downtown in a great college town, so we can get out and walk around. I can’t ever see us in a complex with a bunch of other warehouses.
How often do you get to design jewelry?
Ali: Not as often as I’d like. As Lima Beads continues to grow, I get to design less and less. Kevin and I have also had two children in the past 4 years, so that keeps us busy too! I probably get to design 1 piece per week. I carry a notebook everywhere I go so that when that perfect idea pops into my head, I can sketch it before I forget it. Then, late at night when everyone goes to bed, I sneak out to my desk and make the piece.
What are your favorite Vintaj products to use with your beads?
Ali: I love the big filigree pieces for wrapping around large stones, the creative hoop for the multiple ways it can be used and manipulated, and anything nature, especially the branches. Oh and the new patina inks, they are so fun and easy and quick.
Is there anything you can add about our theme, Spring Rain…how your beads and Vintaj work together?
Kevin: We were thrilled when Vintaj called and asked us to send products to support the Spring Rain theme. It’s such a fantastic collection of colors and components. We were able to pull awesome blues and greens from our newly added selections of designer Czech glass, crystal, and shell pearls. It worked out perfectly. We’re having a lot of fun watching our customers create Spring Rain themed designs.
Thank you for sharing Ali & Kevin!