How long have you been selling beads/how did you get started?
Rings & Things is celebrating our 40th anniversary this year! Co-owner Russ Nobbs began selling handmade wire name pins and beaded earrings at state fairs in 1972. His craft grew into a retail store in downtown Spokane, which then grew into a mail-order business that supplied his fellow crafters with the beads, findings and supplies they needed. In 2005, we moved into our own warehouse to accommodate additional stock and staff. Rings & Things now employs sixty people and ships beads around the world!
What kind of space do you design, create and sell beads in?
Our warehouse is always bustling with activity – we’ve got three floors filled with inventory, a busy showroom for regional customers, plus a crew that is constantly stocking and re-stocking our truck for our traveling bead shows! Giant windows give most of our desks views of downtown Spokane. One of the most striking features of our building is our “green-ness.” Russ is passionate about recycling, and composts all of the food scraps from our employee breakroom. This works out great since his wife, co-owner Dee, is a master gardener. Dee has planted perrenial flowers and shrubs all around the warehouse. There is a recycling bin (or several!) next to every garbage can. The employee entrance is filled with bikes – and more recycling bins.
“For 21 years I’ve provided recycling and now compost collection services for the annual juried Artfest show in Spokane. The picture is our sorting station where we glean the bottles, cans, glass cardboard and everything else we can from the waste stream. I do it as a demonstration project to prove that, even in Spokane, we can recycle at outdoor public events. It works! Our community has adopted more “Recycling On the Go” at other events. –Russ”
How often do you get to design jewelry? We have a jewelry design team comprised of employees from all of our different departments. Someone is always working on a new design for our website, catalog or a magazine ad. The great thing about the team approach is its flexibility – when one of us is swamped by other deadlines, we’ve got plenty of talented designers who can pitch in! Sometimes we even get our “non-jewelry-making” co-workers to create something. For example, one of our buyers is an amazing painter, so he painted wooden pendants and one of our showroom sales staff assembled them into a mixed-media necklace that was featured on the cover of our last mini catalog!
Click the images below to view the Ring & Things Designer Gallery!
What are your favorite Vintaj products?
Right now we are definitely in love with the Vintaj BigKICK and Patinas! There are many adorable shapes of altered blanks. We especially love the little luggage tag and the artistic heart.
Summer Road Trip
Summer Road Trip is the perfect theme for Rings & Things to partner with Vintaj on for many reasons. First, our road crew is actually on a summer road trip selling beads all along the East Coast right now! Second, we have so many fun, bright beads to create any color scheme – gemstone beads, trade beads, crystal beads, wooden beads, pearls…it is hard to pick a favorite! And third, Rings & Things has a great selection of mixed-media supplies such as glass bezels, resin, silk ribbons, metal stamping tools and more to turn your vacation memories into wearable art. Check out the Rings & Things blog to see how a few of our designers interpreted the road trip challenge!