As a member of crafting jewelry community I felt like I needed to add my two cents. But before I begin, let me qualify my opinion. I am a former owner of not one but two bead stores of 9 years. So this was not a flash in the pan.

There has been much talk in the community about the FacetJewerly Box. Somehow, this seems to have offended a number of people and I am unclear why there is such a strong opinion about it. As a former LBS owner I felt this kind of competition was good for the store and it would have given me the idea to do a “box” of my own. As an LBS I was always looking for ideas.

I commend Kalmbach for being creative with their outreach. As a publisher the goal is to find new subscribers. As I like to put it, “new blood”. Because as we all know people change up crafts as often as they change their underwear. I used to get people (and still do) who are “new” to jewelry making and are immediately obsessed. The majority of these obsessions are short lived. The majority only last about a year.  So what is a store owner to do? How do you continually reach new customers? You have to be innovative. You have to find creative ways to acquire new customers.

For me, if FacetJewelry is able to create new addicts, gaahd love them. Because we all know these addicts (we are one of them!) Do you really think it begins and ends at a Box? Absolutely not. Addicts will eventually seek out new and better sources, ie LBS! It is all just a matter of time.

Additionally, for me personally, these addicts eventually move on from beads and go to metals. It is a natural progression. (Heck this how I ended up here.) Which means (hopefully) my potential audience will also continue to grow as a result.

There is no chance that Kalmbach or any other publication will have the Walmart affect. None. Publishers simply do not function that way. Their goal is to create more subscribers. By boycotting the publishers, you are also dooming our industry. If the publishers go out of business who is going to drive the core audience. As much as we can say there is always social media and the internet. Most of us are not that good at it. AND as LBS owners, we are way too tired and overworked to add one more thing to our plates.

A little story of my experience. Back when I had the stores I was asked to participate in a Bead Store Hop. Where customers were invited to pick up a passbook to have stamped at all the local bead stores. Those who received all the stamps were entered into a drawing for a prize. The theory was that it would generate more traffic for all of us. I thought this was a lovely idea and participated. The second year I was uninvited. Why? Because my store was the biggest and I was viewed as too much competition. They should have seen this as an advantage to get in front my mailing list of thousands. It is all a matter of perspective.

And for the sake of transparency, although I am published by both F&W and Kalmbach, no one has paid me to write this. I am just annoyed. If you are in business you SHOULD welcome competition. Competition makes all of us step our game. When we do this our industry is stronger as a whole. My big question is, what creative thing are you doing to contribute to this industry and not just your own store? 

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