Welcome to SparkleSwap, and my first ever blog post! My name is Robin, and I’ve been building SparkleSwap for the last two years. It’s been one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve ever done. In my first ever ‘SparkleSwap blog post’, I thought I’d share a little bit about who I am, how the idea came about, and how SparkleSwap can benefit YOU!
How I went from software nerd to a beading queen!
During the day, I was a software implementation specialist, logging my hours and paying the bills. I liked my job but it didn’t particularly fulfill me. I discovered beading after I lost my favorite bracelet that I had purchased in Hawaii. I wanted to see if I could re-create it because I had seen my aunt design beautiful pieces of jewelry and I was inspired to see if I could do it too.
My beading addiction begins…
The moment I stepped into the bead store, my heart raced with excitement! I was dazzled by the magical world of gemstones, crystals, and beads and knew instantly I wasn’t just here to create a single bracelet. This was the beginning of my lifelong love for jewelry-making.
There’s no turning back.
I loved seeing my friends and family light up when I gave them a piece of jewelry that I made for them. Often times strangers stopped me to compliment my creations. It made me happy to craft beautiful things other people appreciated too. I was hooked. (I assure you, no one ever stopped me on the street to compliment me on my software skills.) When I walked into the local bead store, I literally lost my mind. Hundreds of dollars later, I left with lots of shiny, pretty things and the physical high that fed into my new and very expensive addiction.
One is a lonely number….
I created jewelry alone in my craft room and longed to socialize and collaborate with others who loved to design jewelry as just as much as I do.
The importance of beading soulmates.
I established a local beading club, where we inspire one another and help each other with challenging projects. I’ve come to value the friendship and support we bring each other throughout the bumps of life. This community has significantly enriched my life. In this process, I’ve discovered one of my greatest joys in life is bringing people together, and this is one of the primary purposes of SparkleSwap: to create friendships, help each other, and have fun.
The beading conundrum.
One of the ‘ahas’ I’ve had since forming this group is that we share a common ‘affliction’ of having too many beads, and at the same time, feeling like we can never have enough. Many tell me they could open a bead or craft store with the supplies they’ve amassed.
When the love for beads gets out of control…
I personally have thousands of dollars of beads and supplies laying around my crafting space, much of it unused as my taste and jewelry-making styles have changed over the years. The supplies have great value and I would love nothing more than to know they are put to good use by someone who wants them. I’ve found that many others share that same view.
Help has arrived for us bead addicts!
This sparked an idea that I could take my technical background and create an online community where people can swap their supplies and also participate in an environment of collaboration, inspiration, support and fun.
I realized I had a great opportunity to create a virtual gathering place for crafters to come together. SparkleSwap is a place for us to:
- Sell our unused crafting supplies (and provide a way for our valuable supplies to fulfill their new creative purpose.)
- Purchase new supplies at a significant discount. (Maybe even check out a new skill you’ve been wanting to try?)
- Learn new techniques
- Have fun
- Inspire and uplift each other
How we all win!
SparkleSwap is a place where we get to repurpose our beads and crafting supplies, share ideas and fuel our passion. Together, we get to participate in a community where we learn and inspire each other by providing fun ideas and solutions that spark our creative energy.
Each month, we will talk about what’s new in the beading and crafting world. We will feature a new artist, where we can discover what inspires him or her, see photos or their beautiful creations as well as their workspace, where the magic happens! We’ll also learn about their favorite tips, tools and tricks. New products will be offered daily, so check back often to see what’s new!
Please join us in building this wonderful community of crafters. If you have any comments or feedback, please don’t hesitate to reach out and share; this is our site, a collaboration that hopefully you will find to be helpful and fun.