Small business spotlight: Fuzzy Beads
In a world drained by mass consumerism and fast fashion, are small businesses the way forward? I may be biased, but the answer is a definite yes!
To help promote sustainable and independent shopping, I interviewed Ella, the owner of Fuzzy Beads, a quirky jewellery business that makes unique, custom accessories for any style.
When did you first start making jewellery?
I remember making friendship bracelets for my girlfriends in school and seeing their faces light up when they saw that I’d taken the time to make them something special. When Covid struck last March, I found myself in desperate need of a hobby and creative outlet. I started off making fun pieces for my girlfriends and sending them little surprise gifts in the mail. They loved the pieces so much they then asked me to start making them for their friends. This is when I started to realise there’s a demand for connecting with people by sending them small thoughtful gifts.
Who or what inspires your design style?
I really strive to make sure each piece puts a smile on a person's face – hence the name Fuzzy Beads as the pieces are supposed to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I love taking a simple idea like a piece of costume 'friendship' jewellery and elevating it by using freshwater pearls, semi-precious stone beads and specialty glass beads. One of my favourite parts of making them is sourcing the beads – I love hunting for beads that are whimsical and fun. My favourite find was a little glass bead shaped as a rubber duck, which was handmade in the Czech Republic. Who would've thought such a thing existed?
I now use jewellery to lift my spirits and add a little fun to my day. It may seem like something small, but it really does make a difference. I just feel like if I can help brighten someone's day through my jewellery, even just a little bit, then I've managed to bring a little bit of happiness into this world – this is what truly inspires me.
What's been the best part of owning your own business?
My customers, hands down. I love connecting with each person I make a piece for and creating something that brings them joy. Nothing compares to the rush I feel when a customer gets their piece and tells me how much they love it.
Any advice for someone thinking of starting their own business?
Do what comes naturally and don't force yourself to do something you don't like doing just for the sake of making money. I currently have a full time job as a solicitor and I know that after a long day of work, I would never be able to pick up a project that doesn't thrill me or bring me joy.
Record everything financial from day one. Hobbies can turn into businesses quickly and it will be annoying to have to go back and understand costs and budgeting. I did this with a simple Excel sheet, it doesn't have to be complicated.
Why do you think it’s important to shop small?
We now live in a world where it is harder than ever to connect with people emotionally. When you shop small you get to make that connection with the artisan and can form a special bond with them. Also, buying something special for yourself has become a form of self-care, so I feel like people are making the effort to find something they will cherish for a long time and others will unlikely have the same exact thing.
Lastly, shopping small is the most environmentally-friendly way to shop. My business runs on very little waste and therefore a person who buys from me knows they are not contributing negatively to the environment.
Have a browse through Fuzzy Beads and treat yourself, or someone special, to some truly personal jewellery that won’t break the bank or the environment.
Edited by Katie Wheatley