Suzie Q Beads

Photo of beads by Swirling Thoughts

In April a friend and I were exploring Inglewood (on the hunt for a tea shop that a friend had recommended) and we happened to park not far from Suzie Q Beads. I didn’t even know about this shop, so our location was a very happy accident.

If you’re more interested in making your own beaded jewelry than buying it (like me!) you might find the front of the store a bit intimidating.  There are some gorgeous high-end beads at the front of the store, making it appear more like a jewelry store than a bead or craft shop, but venture on!

However, if you’re a big fan of the Pandora-style bracelets, TrollBeads, or any of the other jewelry beads that you see in the pages of Vogue or Harper’s Bazar, then you’ll probably be in heaven!  There are also designer-style watches, ready-made jewelry and charms too.

Of course, I was more interested in the beads and findings, but there were some great, inspirational jewelry pieces as well that helped transition from one area of the store to the next.  The beads were all displayed in small open tins (or tins with clear lids) in labelled drawers.  The whole thing looked very neat and tidy, but somehow less creative or inspiring than seeing the rows and rows of colours that I’m used to seeing in bead and craft stores.  It did make it easy to skip looking at things I have no interest in though, and it was cool to see some of the beads I’ve seen online, in person.  (Like the Swarovski Pearls, which I’ve heard a lot about, and hadn’t yet seen in person.)  The prices were slightly higher than my favorite places to shop, but still relatively reasonable.  (Of course I’m the kind of gal who will automatically be drawn to the most expensive item in a room, right?) Price-wise, I can see going here for a few special items for a specific project – I can’t imagine shopping here to just add to my ‘stash’.

There were only a few other shoppers in the bead section while we were there, but still it felt full – there were a lot of little areas to look at, and they had a fantastic selection of copper findings.  I’m finding myself more and more attracted to copper, so this was great to see.  I didn’t actually make any purchases though – I’m trying to be really good and not buy any more craft/sewing/etc things other than what I need for a current project for the time being, since (even though I still haven’t recovered from the basement bathroom renovation) it looks like we’re going to be doing another basement renovation this summer.

Some of the really cool items I saw though:

  • brass and silver-tone ‘wind up key’ charms
  • cute key and lock charms in a few different metals
  • wing charms in a few different metals
  • clock charms in a few different metals
  • tiny little Japanese seed beads
  • a small selection of buttons

They also have a whole LOAD of classes that they offer.  I think the prices are fairly reasonable (30$ for a 3 hour class, materials not included) but the instructions say you have to purchase your beads at their shop the day of the class.  This doesn’t entirely please me, since I have a lot of materials at home, and might not find exactly what I have in mind in-store on the day-of. (Their selection wasn’t huge, and I can easily see going in with the intention of making something with small glass square beads in black and red, and finding out in-store that they’re all sold out of black beads in the shape/size/material I want, and I’ll have to entirely change my concept…)  It’s also will increase the cost considerably, because although I’m sure you could look for less-expensive beads in-store, overall you’ll be spending a fair amount of money on the supplies to get them all there.  It also appears as though they will only run the class if there are 6 people signed up for it – so you might sign up, only to be disappointed.  All of that being said, I think it’s a fair and reasonable policy.  I don’t imagine too many places are keen on teaching a class using another shop’s materials if they can help it, and you could always make one item in the class, and then repeat it at home with beads of your choice.

One other thing to note – the store is located in historic Inglewood, and the shop is beautifully decorated to compliment, not disguise the historic nature of the building.  I loved the decorations – wire bird cages, paper lanterns.. all so cute!  I really wish that I had taken a photo while I was in the shop!

Have you been to Suzie Q Beads or taken a class there?  What did you think?  Reply in the comments below!

Suzie Q Beads
1401 9 Ave SE
Calgary, AB
Their website, which was on the back of their Winter/Spring 2011 Beady News newsletter – was not functional when I wrote this post – so I’ve linked you to their Facebook page instead!

6 comments on “Suzie Q Beads

  1. […] keyhole are little tiny keys charms on incredibly fine chains.  (You could get similar charms from Suzie Q Beads, which I profiled earlier.) Mini […]

  2. […] while back I was in Suzie Q beads and really liked one of the examples in their showcase; kumihimo braiding. Traditionally this is […]

  3. […] necklace is strung on silver leather cord from Suzie Q beads, and is finished with crimps and split rings from my crafty stash, along with a toggle from […]

  4. […] teal leather cord is from Suzie Q Beads, while the crimps and split rings are from my crafting […]

  5. […] the beads all together, which meant that once I strung them on the silver leather cord (from Suzie Q Beads) I needed to fix them in place. I used large crimps on either side of the floral caps, and then […]

  6. […] started their lives in a craft supply store discount bin (and later I saw them at the old Inglewood Suzie Q Beads too, as part of their decorating scheme) and then they were spray painted silver, followed by a […]

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