How did this business get started? Store owners Lisa O’Donnell and Kay Bowles met at another bead store, they said, and when that store closed, they decided to open their own. All Things By Hand, a beading craft store and boutique, first opened in Haymount in 2011, and moved to its current location in 2013. For the past year they have been closed for repairs due to Hurricane Matthew. They reopened in November. “We’ve made some changes,” Bowles said. “We’ve reinvented ourselves and we wanted to reopen with a surprise.” Some of the new changes include a shift in store merchandise, with a definite focus on jewelry making. “We still have thousands of beads, but we’ve transitioned from carrying yarn and beads to carrying beads, clothing and jewelry,” O’Donnell said. “We are adding more boutique items to sell that include handbags and clothing. We now stock DamnDog handbags; Rolly Crump Art Bags from Bungalow 3060; fair trade Himalaya Clothing; The Om Company clothes; Sankofa African baskets and beads; and Fair trade Sling Bags from OutReach Uganda.”

What is the economy’s effect on the business? “Things tighten up whenever there is a deployment from Fort Bragg. We are a luxury business,” said O’Donnell.

When is your busiest time? “Tuesday’s open table night is always busy. That’s when we don’t have a formal art class structure. People can bring any project in from home to work on. Weekends are also busy because there are more people downtown,” she said.

What is most popular? “The metal clay classes are definitely most popular. You can design your own jewelry,” O’Donnell said. “It’s wearable art.” Bowles and O’Donnell are both certified, level 1, metal clay instructors. “The classes are $75 to $80 depending on the project. Classes are three to four hours long.”

What is metal clay? “It’s art clay that is composed of tiny metal particles, mixed with organic binders and water that can be shaped or molded like modeling clay, and ultimately torch fired or kiln fired. We roll out and texture plate it using an embossed texture,” said O’Donnell. The finished result is a piece of jewelry that is 99.9 percent fine silver or copper.”

Who are key people? "Lavedia Edwards is a beading instructor and is co-founder of the Bead Guild, which meets at the boutique on the first and third Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. Sara Matherly is our senior certified metal clay instructor. She is knowledgeable and helpful in creating one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces to wear," O'Donnell said.

What is the best part of owning and running this business? “We most enjoy the fellowship and community,” O’Donnell said. Bowles added, “The best part is the people, not the merchandise or the money. The best part is the relationships that we’ve developed. Our customers have become like a big family. We are blessed with the best customers, the best location, the best partnership, the best landlord and supportive families that keep us going.”

What is the toughest part of owning and running this business? “The hardest part is sometimes convincing people that they can be creative. Anyone can do this,” O’Donnell said. “Sometimes people lack confidence. We encourage people to enjoy the process. We will make sure you have fun.”

What else would you like people to know? “Everyone is welcome,” Bowles said. “It’s not just for women. We offer classes in beading, metal clay, lamp work and more. For more information, stop in the store or visit allthingsbyhand.com. We are also on Facebook.”

 

Alison Minard