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Bead Shops in the High Street

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  • Bead Shops in the High Street

    I am watching the central London Bead shops, the northern bead shops and now the Bead Shop in Brighton close and I am wandering if the high street is making the recovery they say it is. We are OK at the moment and have a range of new shops opening around us, even a new little children's book shop across the way. As the Brighton Shop closed on the 3rd January I set my mind to wandering how many of them can go online, before the online market becomes so saturated none of them are taking enough to survive. They cite compeittion from overseas selling cheap findings and beads loaded with nickle and cadium as the problem and I certainly hear stories in the shop of people who have bought them, believing them the to in some cases be 925 silver, only to find out a they are a cheap metal, loaded with nickle that makes them itch.. But isn't that true of the online market also, if not more so?

    Certainly it has been tough on the the high street in these past few years, but I think that being broad in what we offer has kept us here. We not only sell the raw goods, but also tutorials and of late one of the main incomes of the business has been repairs of fashion jewellery, birthday and hen parties, as well as group bookings and corporate team building. It is funny how you don't factor some things into the business at all and yet they become one of the main sellers.

    I wonder what everyone else thinks - is the age of the high street gone - are we all going online? Or are we going back to our high streets, not just for the touchy feely experience but also for the customer service?


  • #2
    I wish our high streets could see a revival...instead we have cheap shops and empty units...even the new purpose built smaller retail units are standing empty two years after build completion which is such a shame. Prices are killing off small start ups round here. Rents and rates are totally ridiculous and red routes and general lack of parking do not help one bit.

    Online shopping is fine for certain things but you really can't beat the hands on shopping experience.

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    • #3
      I totally agree. I am one of those that has to try it on, see the colour on me etc. and I simply cannot shop on line because I am not only short but a weird (normal) shape. Pound shops and food supermarkets competing with each other seems to be the main stay of the high street nowadays.

      I agree, I think the thing that is killing it is business rates which of course online shops are not charged and shop rental fees.

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      • #4
        Oh no! Which ones have shut in London? Please don't say the old Ells and Farrier in Soho and the one in Tower Street (sorry, can't keep up with their name changes - The Bead Shop? 20th century Beads???????) I love them. have you found the one in Bristol in the Gloucester Road? La Bamba Beads (I think). They are so lovely. As is Kernocraft, of course.
        I'm crying over the fabric shops that are shutting. I went to Brighton looking for (a particular) one and it wasn't there anymore. I've just heard my favourite shop in Colchester packed up last Autumn. I've been buying from them for 20 years. Horsham (where I live now) lost it's independent fabric shop last year because of a rent hike.

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        • #5
          I think the rent and rates is the problem and items such as beads you have to sell a lot to make that money back plus staffing costs. I am guilty of buying online as most of the shops are too far to travel, hence the internet brings them nearer. Not sure what the answer is but do know that the internet is also getting flooded with sellers as well.

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          • #6
            The London Bead Shop closed about two years ago and Bead Aura in Neils Yard shut up shop and went online last year, both are Covent Garden stores so you other favourites may still be in other parts of London.

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            • #7
              I agree with you rent and council tax rates don't provide a level playing field in terms of prices for the high street to compete with the internet on price. Our unique selling point is that you can get the colour exactly right, come in and match up items and we are also a little broader selling tutorials, bespoke and handmade pieces, as well as repairs, so I guess that is why we have stayed while most have folded.

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              • #8
                I agree, it is a shame and I get so many calls asking me for buttons, zips etc. which I pass onto the shop in Camden (which is the closest one I know still operating), people want a little habber shop to pop into, especially at the moment when stitching is all the rage again.

                The problem is that once the well used shops start to shut because of rent increases the others don't really stand a chance because the footfall goes down, so sales go down and everything gets into a downwards spiral.

                I think many areas have yet to find out that when they loose their high street their area in general tends to dip.

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                • #9
                  Oh no! Can't believe three of my favourite bead shops have closed. The only reason I went to London or Brighton was to visit them. Shan't bother now.

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                  • #10
                    that is sad news.

                    It was the old Bead Shop in covent garden that first got me hooked on beads in a serious way as a kiddie.

                    I think it is tough all round at the moment - not only the high street, online stores are facing more and more competition year on year too.

                    And the quality of supplies these days for jewellery making, is by and large quite DREADFUL!

                    As a supplier, I am finding it harder and harder to find nice quality stuff that I am happy stocking. Years ago, the only problem I had was deciding what to stock...on the plus side I think many of the customers too appreciate this and are far more receptive these days of the unique items that we do carry - with more appreciation for handmade findings and components, and people far more up for making their own from raw materials too

                    As for high streets in general - they are doomed by and large. Councils are greedily raising rates and doing away with car parking in towns, landlords are wanting more and more rent. It is a wonder how any high street shop can survive at all
                    Emma
                    www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
                    www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
                    www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

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                    • #11
                      I think it depends on the mood/purpose of the shop. If you are in a hurry or don't have time to go shopping, but know exactly what you want, online shopping during your commute to work usually works best. However if you feel like having an outing of not sure what to get, then yes popping into the shop for an experience would be my preference.

                      Online shopping has exploded because of the convenience it brings; people can browse around without having to walk into several shops, and have access to both national and international good all from the comfort of their sofa.

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                      Last edited by 3dDave; 06-08-2016, 08:33 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Smileys Keyrings View Post
                        I think it depends on the mood/purpose of the shop. If you are in a hurry or don't have time to go shopping, but know exactly what you want, online shopping during your commute to work usually works best. However if you feel like having an outing of not sure what to get, then yes popping into the shop for an experience would be my preference.

                        Online shopping has exploded because of the convenience it brings; people can browse around without having to walk into several shops, and have access to both national and international good all from the comfort of their sofa.

                        By the way, if anyone is looking for 2000 beads for an art and craft project, go to ebay and type in "2000PCS B-Z ALPHABET LETTER ACRYLIC BEADS" I promise you wont regret it.


                        Do I see someone blatently advertising here?
                        Lucy Blossom
                        Shop and blog: http://www.lucyblossomcrafts.co.uk
                        https://www.facebook.com/LucyBlossomCrafts

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                        • #13
                          Beadworks in central London went into receivership in August and are apparently looking for buyers. Judging by looking at other reports Creative Beadcraft look to be struggling and of course the other London Bead Shop was up for sale last year, once asumes no takers. I don't think this is just beads though, I think we can wave buy buy to most of our high street shop with business rates going up and up.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Diane Allen View Post
                            Oh no! Can't believe three of my favourite bead shops have closed. The only reason I went to London or Brighton was to visit them. Shan't bother now.
                            I agree, we are looking at areas to move to ourselves and originally I said I HAD to have a train line into central London, but I said to himself a fortnight ago that it's not that important to me anymore. Most of my old haunts, Bead Aura, London Bead Shop etc. are gone now, even the south bank is not as it was and I no longer care to go there really... am sad.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ejralph View Post
                              that is sad news.

                              As for high streets in general - they are doomed by and large. Councils are greedily raising rates and doing away with car parking in towns, landlords are wanting more and more rent. It is a wonder how any high street shop can survive at all
                              I agree with this also, I thought the new budget might unveil a lifeline for them, but it simply decreases the pace at which business rates will increase and of course, the high streets cannot compete with online markets.

                              I also agree with you, the online market is becoming quite savage also as more and more of the suppliers are forced online only, but then I think, once the post office has died a death the price of sending parcels through other distributors will go up and up. For my part I agree with the other thread on here "Opening a Bead Shop ... are we mad" in that the high street (or at least the side streets of it) will become a place for leisure time activity and, perhaps, there is a place for arts and crafts, but particularly for our sake ... BEAD SHOPS and lots of them, of all different types and sizes. Long live the bead shop... if it can

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