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BEADING ‘ROUND THE CLOCK … AND HER FAMILY

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by Jeanne Muchnick

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The message on the answering machine is your first clue that beadz isn’t an ordinary store. Owner Melanie Rose works around her children’s schedules, meaning her place is open “irregular hours” — sometimes from l-3pm, sometimes 2-6pm, sometimes not at all. “You really need to call every day to find out,” she says. Rose opened beadz, a jewelry store/make-your-own bead boutique on Boston Post Road in Larchmont in l995, soon after she’d had her first child. She had been a director at Direct Travel in Manhattan, managing a large department and traveling around the globe. “It was a great job,” reminisces Rose. “There was nothing about it that wasn’t fantastic. Except that it wasn’t suited for having kids. I loved it when I was single. I loved it when I was married. But the travel was too difficult once I had a baby to think about.” Her idea for beadz came about on a lark. While visiting Washington, D.C. with her family, she came across a bead store and hoped to have a pair of earrings made. She was amazed to learn that the store only sold beads and did not provide any other services. “I thought that was odd,” she says. “I expected a store like that to do more.” Later that night, she started fantasizing about a boutique of her own, one that would sell jewelry, do repairs, offer walk-in, make-your-own-jewelry projects, and host parties. “I have no background in art. Or in jewelry,” she says. “But for some reason, this idea stuck with me.” That’s all it was — an idea — until the next week, when Rose saw a sign advertising a store for rent three blocks from her home. It was an opportunity she couldn’t resist. After discussing it with her husband, who agreed it was a “great idea,” she gave notice at her job, took lessons from a woman who does design and bead work, shopped the bead district in Manhattan, and opened her store. It was an instant success. Designed with individualized pastel workstations, colorful stools, shelves upon shelves of beads, and a huge string of beads hung throughout the store, the shop has a fun, homey look. “People started stopping by, and word-of-mouth spread,” says Rose. “I’d also be sitting at my table making necklaces or bracelets and they’d get into it and want to make their own.” She admits that many of her customers have become her friends. They often sit with her, beading their own creations and sharing stories. “It’s a comfortable atmosphere,” she says. Since its opening, the business has evolved, making Rose somewhat of a local celebrity. She is known either from the after-school jewelry clubs she runs at Murray and Chatsworth elementary schools; the classes she teaches during the summer at the JCC of Mid-Westchester in Scarsdale; or the many birthday parties she does, both in and out of the store. Parties are not limited to kids; she’s done bridal showers, girls’ nights out, 40th birthday parties, make-your-own Christmas ornament get-togethers, and Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations. In addition, she offers private beading lessons and does jewelry repairs. Costs are reasonable, with an average price point of $22; re-strings begin at $20 and projects for children begin at $7. Some of her best-sellers include hand-blown glass bead bracelets and necklaces, ankle bracelets and earrings. Initially, beadz was open l0am-5pm Monday to Saturday, but it soon became apparent there wasn’t enough morning traffic to warrant those early hours. “I realized then, what was the point?” explains Rose. “The whole idea behind this store was to accommodate my new life as a mother. I had to make hours work around me.” Now she begins her mornings by talking into her store’s machine. “Hi,” you’ll hear if you call. “You’ve reached beadz. Today is Wednesday and our store will be open from l:30- 5pm for walk-in projects, bead purchases, gift certificates, or to inquire about our fabulous private birthday parties.” Despite the odds, Rose concedes these irregular hours work, partly due to her “loyal and great” customer base, and partly due to Rose’s upbeat, engaging personality. She admits luck has a lot to do with it, too. Since opening in l995 to accommodate the demands of then nine-month-old Dylan (now eight), she also has a daughter, Chelsea, four. “My customers are great,” says Rose. “They understand that I’m a working mother. And I do try to accommodate people. I’ve opened at 8am on a Saturday for a mom who was going to be out at a soccer tournament all day and had to get beads for her daughter. I’ve also opened at 7pm for a parent just getting off the train who really needed her necklace restrung. But the bottom line is, I also have to accommodate myself. It’s still a juggling act. But so far, this business works for me.” 2097A Boston Post Road, Larchmont, (914) 834-2900, www.gobeadz.com. Call for store hours.

 


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