Bead sales are always slower in the warmer months of the year. It makes sense that we all want to spend more time outside, and less time with our computers. Me too! But still, there's that pesky need to make a living. So I'm thinking about running an ad in one of the bead magazines again. I haven't been in anybody's spotlight for a while now, so a little shameless self-promotion is in order. I like to look at the ads in those magazines even more than I like the articles. I want to know who's who, who's new, and who's doing what. But I guess I've been slacking in my marketing research, because somehow I totally missed one big company who's a sneaky threat to the hardworking self employed artist-beadmakers of the world.
Austin Hamilton (find the link yourself - I think it's big of me to even mention their name) is not a bead artist. It's a company that imports cheap Chinese factory-made beads, and presents them as artist-made beads. I have to admit, they're getting pretty good at these knock-offs, but the fact remains, they're cheap, low quality beads that will probably break. The price alone tells you what you're getting. It means a factory full of underpaid people crank these things out for pennies a day, while the owners of the company make it all look clean and happy, and offer you a great deal on beautiful garbage.
I'm now looking closer into where these folks advertise, and I'm hoping I can put my own advertising dollars into a publication who doesn't so blatantly disregard the needs of the actual bead artists who have traditionally supported them.
Educating the bead-buying public is important. I recently posted a blurb on my website - About Lampwork Beads. It's easy to be dazzled by all the beads available these days. So it's important to know what you're looking at, and what to look for. There's surely a market for the cheap sweatshop beads. This country has such a strong "Walmart Mentality", but we all know that the cheapest price doesn't always mean the best deal...
Think of lampwork beads as fine art. The well designed, well made pieces are like original paintings. The cheap knock-offs are like posters. They look pretty good for a while, but they hold no value, and most likely will end up in the trash in a short time.
Let's see those Chinese bead factories make one of these! And for the record, I'm not a hater of China or Chinese people... but I really can't tolerate these Bead Thieves... they are pirates in the worst sense of the word. Certainly not Beadists!