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2018 Beading Review


As we come to the end of another year, it’s time for another tradition. For the past few years, I’ve written a blog looking back on the past twelve months. So, here is your 2018 beading review…

An unforgettable trend

Who can cast their mind back to March 2018, or thereabouts? Do you remember the carrier beads trend?

Well, I’ve never seen anything like it! I honestly can’t remember the demand for a single type of bead being so high. In fact, things got so bad (or good!) that the manufacturers couldn’t keep pace.

So, bead shops and wholesalers all around the world were selling out and waiting weeks for new stock.

Demand has calmed down considerably since then. But the carrier beads are still proving popular.

So, what do you think will be trending in 2019…?

2018 Beading Review: Patterns

Yes, I also like to take a little look back at my pattern sales across the year. It’s always fascinating to see what has been popular and maybe predict some trends for the next few months.

Patterns that bombed!

It is very easy to make the mistake of assuming that because a pattern is available for sale, it is actually selling! So, beaders maybe look at a website or an Etsy store packed full of patterns and assume the designer is making a nice little living. But how often do you think about how many of those patterns sell?

Well, I have several patterns that I’ve launched over the past 12 months and not sold a single, solitary copy! That’s zero income, despite the expense of the materials and the time it took to design and produce the pattern.

I’ll leave you decide if they were just really bad products…

Then, I have countless others that have sold less than five copies…ever!

So, yes, every pattern is a risk. Will you make back the cost of your investment in creating it?

The Top 7!

At the other end of the scale, here are my top seven best-selling patterns…

Let me count them down, in reverse order:

At number 7, we have the parcel beaded box. It has fallen, from it’s position of number 3, last year, but that’s still pretty good!

Number 6 is the Christmas tree beaded box.

Five is the birthday cake beaded box.

At number four, the beaded Christmas Jumper (looking back, that’s the second year this pattern made it into the top sellers!)

So, drumroll please, for the top 3…

At number 3, we have the Easter egg beaded boxes.

Number 2 is the beaded heart box.

And the winner…. the beaded box baubles!

So, who wants to start taking guesses as to what will top the list for next year?

Is there a point to the 2018 beading review?

Well, mostly, this is a bit of fun. But yes, looking back and seeing what has been popular and what hasn’t, will affect what I make next year.

I am primarily driven by making what I want to make. Apart from the fact that it makes me happy, it also works the best. I think that whatever we create, in any art form, the passion that goes into it is apparent. So, if, as an artist, you spend your life creating things that are a ‘chore’ the people viewing them will sense that.

However, I am also running a business here. So, I can’t afford to be totally self-indulgent. I have been very lucky this past year that the things I’ve been passionate about have also appealed to the beading market.

But that may not always be the case.

So, if you’ve been following my work throughout the year, you’ve probably spotted that I’m pretty passionate about making beaded boxes! And it’s no coincidence that the majority of that top seven list are beaded boxes. However, I have also created some boxes that just haven’t been popular, for whatever reason.

The reason I mention that is to underline the point that every designer discovers. Creating a new pattern is a big risk. You really have no idea whether it’s going to sell or not. And you don’t get to find out until you’ve done all the hard work and spent the money in creating it. Few businesses would operate on this basis of risk, but beading designers do it all the time!

What will I be doing in 2019?

Well, having completed my little 2018 beading review, it’s time to think ahead…

Will we see another trend like the carrier beads next year? I have no idea, but I’ll be ready to jump on the bandwagon if we do!

I can safely predict that I will be making more beaded boxes next year. How do I know that? Well, I have a very long list of ideas!

The Santa box allowed me to make a few new discoveries. So, adding that to the drawers that I have been playing with throughout 2018, gives me some new innovations to explore. Think moving parts and mechanisms…

Finishing the 2018 beading review with a teaser…

Let me give you all three little riddles to solve. Each of these is a clue to a box that I’m planning to make in the near future. If you want to take a guess at the answers, please leave a comment below…

  1. A vessel for love letters
  2. Inspiration from Tom Cruise
  3. A Hungarian puzzle

Now, let me just finish up by saying a huge thank you to all of you who have supported me and my beadwork in so many ways throughout 2018. I am truly appreciative for every single order, review and message of support – THANK YOU!!!

Wishing you all a very Happy, healthy and prosperous 2019 xxx

P.S. I just realised, my 2018 beading review wouldn’t be complete without a personal memory… So, I’m looking back with fondness on these three projects that made it into Bead and Button (underwater beaded box) and Beadwork magazines (tartan flowers bracelet) and to the finals of Bead Dreams 2018 (beehive).

14 thoughts on “2018 Beading Review

  1. Envelope, puzzle box, Rubik’s cube box??

    1. Thank you for your guesses, Trudi…One of those is correct and one is very close… πŸ˜‰

  2. Envelop with red heart, airplane, and rubik’s cube

    1. I like the way you’re thinking, Fran… πŸ™‚

      1. But am I close?πŸ˜‡

        1. You’re spot on with one, but you’ll have to wait and find out which one…!

  3. All I know is when I saw a Hungarian something, that really peaked my interest!! Can’t wait for that one!! (By the way, I’m half Hungarian!) πŸ™‚

    1. Well, that’s something I didn’t know about you, Trudy! Thank you for the kind words. I hope the project will work out πŸ™‚

  4. Dear Katie!
    Thank you for your 2018 review <3 I hope 2019 will bring you loads of inspiration, (beading)fun and a Health, as Good as Possible.
    Love your boxes and your perfect patterns (can you tell?! πŸ˜‰ Glad to read you're into boxes in 2019 again/still! Looking forward to seeing what you are going to create. I do love a Hungarian puzzle (box), Nan had one, I hope you can figure it out. For the Tom Cruise one I keep my fingers crossed that it will not be a Mission Impossible πŸ˜‰ Living Coral would really suit Vanilla (Sky)…
    Love , Yvonne

    1. Thank you so much Yvonne! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support and your very kind words. There is a grave danger that I will be facing a ‘Mission Impossible’, but fingers crossed I can, like Ethan Hunt, somehow, against all the odds, manage to get everything sorted out in the end πŸ˜‰
      Wishing you a very happy New Year and hoping that 2019 brings lots of good things your way.
      Katie x

      1. Thank you, dear Katie, and I am SURE you will live up to Audrey Hepburn’s saying:
        “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’! “

        1. I love that quote! Thank you πŸ™‚

  5. The only one I can think of is a pillar box with perhaps some hearts on it. (Where you post your letters, some people may call it a mail box).

    1. Excellent thinking, Marian…that’s all I’m going to say for now πŸ˜‰

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