Betsy never intentionally set out to sell beads. She was and still is at heart, a bead work artisan. She got into beading after trying her hand with cross stitch embroidery years ago. Her epiphany came when she decided to make a beaded picture of Mickey and Minnie Mouse for her then boss who liked collecting such things.  She created it on her bead loom using 6 panels in all.

The project lead her from ordinary seed beads to the highly uniform Japanese Miyuki Delica beads. Needless to say, she fell for these beads. They are more expensive than ordinary seed beads but as you can see from a picture of one of her projects in progress, you cannot beat Japanese beads for quality. If you are curious (as I am) how they make Delicas, check out the Miyuki page here.

When she started to buy more beads, she realized that she could make it into a business. She called it Red Panda Beads after a real red panda she saw in a zoo. She recently adopted a red panda in the wild and hopes to help save the red panda too. This adorable creature is listed as vulnerable, the stage before it is endangered.

A bead supply business was quite an undertaking considering Betsy had a full time 40+ hour a week job at the time. She worked at her bead business in the evenings and weekends. As her business grew and grew, she was having to get up at 4.30 am to get her packages ready for mailing and worked until late at night. Since last October, she started to make more at her business than her full time job. That meant by April this year, she made the decision to quit her day job and focus on growing her bead business. That is quite a bold move.  Now one of her goals is to hire her hubby as "Operations Officer"!

Her business is now over three years old. As Betsy works really hard at her business, space became an issue so her seldom used living room was turned into her new business office, bead packaging and storage area. If you've ever wondered what it takes to organize this sort of business, then check out her blog post about her new office. It's fortunate beads are small!

Want to win some top quality beads? Betsy has kindly sponsored this $25 shopping spree at her online store.  To enter, all you have to do is write a comment below.  Email subscribers need to click on the post title to get back to the blog post.  Extra entries if you become or are my blog /Twitter/Facebook Page follower.  Make sure to let me know in the comment.

The contest closes at 6 pm EST Monday August 9.  I will select the winner randomly and announce it in a blog post. The winner will be given instructions on how to get her shopping spree credit.  Good luck!!

Even if you don't win, Betsy has other ways to let you win beads. Betsy told me, "Every Wednesday, I host a Weekly Trivia Contest, the first person to correctly guess the answer in an hour wins a $10 store credit. I encourage customers to submit trivia questions, if I use one, and the answer is not guessed with the hour, then the submitter of the question wins the $10 credit." She has other incentives so be sure to check out her Facebook page or register for her newsletter. One more thing, US buyers get free shipping!

Want to meet her in person? She will be at the BeadFest in Valley Forge later in August. She won't have a booth but she'll love to meet her customers in person!

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips