The Bouncing Bead store jumps to life with new owner

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The Bouncing Bead store in La Mesa has been a favorite for bead-lovers for several years. So when the store was up for sale in 2012, bead crafters were feeling jumpy about the plight of the shop. Joleen Brims came to its rescue. The changes she has made keep bead shoppers coming back.

The Bouncing Bead store in La Mesa has been a favorite for bead-lovers for several years. So when the store was up for sale in 2012, bead crafters were feeling jumpy about the plight of the shop. Joleen Brims came to its rescue. The changes she has made keep bead shoppers coming back.

Brims was a stay-at-home mom of her four children for twelve years. She also held down three part-time jobs, which she said that she loved, during that time. She and her husband talked about her going back to work full-time when the twins got to first grade. 

“Well, second grade came around, and the talks became more serious. I preferred not to go back to the corporate treadmill, so we kept our eyes open for something new,” Brims said.

One day while shopping for crystals at The Bouncing Bead in 2012, she signed up on their email list. A few months later, she received the email that said The Bouncing Bead would close if no one bought it.  She asked her husband what he thought about her buying the store. 

“Surprisingly, he agreed,” she said.  

Buying the store was a huge leap for Brims to take. But since she had always dabbled in jewelry making, she felt as though she were in her own element.

“I’ve always been craft—no, not that way!” she said, laughing. “I’ve blinged out many outfits and accessories with Swarovski flat back crystals. But the most important thing, I love jewelry.”

In fact, Brims wishes she had more time to make jewelry for herself and her twin girls. She does make earrings with them, sometimes, since they did just recently have their ears pierced. She also teaches the Basic Beading class and “make-n-take” projects that the store offers. 

Brims has refashioned the store to add many more types of beads. Because there are constant requests for different sizes and colors of seed beads, Brims has quadrupled their stock in the past 18 months. 

“But that is just a drop in the bucket compared to the 1,800-plus colors that are available. And one day we intend to stock all of them,” she said.

The Bouncing Bead is one of the few stores in San Diego that carries a wide selection of Swarovski flat back crystals. “We also carry unique and vintage beads, and we offer to special-order items that we do not usually carry,” Brims said.

The store offers new classes and workshops as well. Currently, the most popular workshops are seed beading taught by Jeannette Cook.  She has traveled around the country teaching seed beading for over 25 years.  

The wire workshops are increasing in popularity to the point that Brims hired a new teacher, Sue Martin. Her workshops have ben filing up every time.

“We would like to add resin, etching, and leather workshops to our curriculum. We are always looking for teachers and want to have a wide selection of styles and projects to keep our workshops fresh,” Brims said.

The Ladies’ Beading Night Out is the fourth Friday of every month from 5 to 9 p.m. The goal is that everyone feels welcome and engaged with each other and their projects. 

Brims changed the date of LBNO based on feedback from customers. “We had to make sure it didn’t interfere with any NFL football games,” she said.

 Brims said she felt fortunate to have artistic neighbors on her block. From Two Sisters & Ewe, she gets a lot of foot traffic from the knitters and crochet artists who are using seed beads for their projects. When Fusionglass has their Ladies’ Night Out, Brims often works closely with the students who come in with their pendants and earrings looking to finish the pieces with beads, chain or wire.

In working with people’s projects, Brims gets to talk with them, her favorite thing about being the owner. 

“People come into the Bouncing Bead from all over the world—and they have fabulous jewelry and stories,” she said.

Go to www.thebouncingbead.com for information on upcoming classes.

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