Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Message to an Online Bead Store: If You Make it Hard to Find the Beads, I Won't Shop With You

Two necklace lanyards finished except for hardware, tonight and one "apprentice" type necklace with wire looped beads, jumprings and large circle links nearly done. The reason I'm calling it an apprentice type is that I made it to practice making loops, try out a design idea I had, and used very inexpensive materials. I eventually intend to make more necklaces with wire loops, etc., and for sale, but with much better materials. I just don't want to start using those materials until I'm satisfied I have an excellent product.

I liked the pattern of roundelles (rondels, roundels, whatever - nobody's consistent with the spelling that I've seen) and then a larger bead, like I did in pink and citron colored glass so much, I did one in aqua glass and one in light sapphire glass. They're both about 30 - 31" long (I don't measure until I've added the hardware).

I want to do one in peridot glass, but I couldn't find any roundelles, so I decided to check some bead supply sites. Shipwreck Beads has them in a color they're calling peridot, so I'm ordering there. The one thing that has kept me from doing a lot of ordering from them is their search feature. It's so frustrating. I'll put in very specific terms and end up with 20,000+ items 'matching' the search. Often the results go page after page of stuff that isn't even close. Finding the right faceted roundelles at Shipwreck took me probably 5 - 10 minutes of searching.

For example, I decided I'd like some more aqua beads. I type in 'Aqua' with a few other terms to try and narrow the search, and reds and pinks and topaz and black beads show up on the page. Frankly, if I don't know exactly what I want and enter it exactly the way they name it, I spend way too much time just clicking from page to page. I'd rather search somewhere else where they've got a decent search tool, and as a result I end up buying from Fire Mountain, Artbeads or DI Beads (and I've shopped at others, too - just not as much, and usually because I've seen something on a beading site or blog that led me directly to the item I wanted). I've noticed that in some cases the prices seem better at Shipwreck, but it's too hard to find anything and my time is more than worth the few cents I'd save.

I'd just about finished my linked necklace when I noticed that I'd connected several beads directly instead of using jumprings, as I had on the rest of the necklace. That's what I get for trying to do it while watching "House" on tv. That Dr. Wilson is kind of cute, so I get distracted *grin*.

Here's the work in progress - I'll add the missing jump rings, tighten up everything and it'll be done. I guess it's obvious I was into blue today. Tomorrow, though, I'm a bit beaded out for now.

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