in Santee has people coming from all not over San Diego County, but as far away as from Los Angeles, thanks to an event called Bead Shop Hop in September.
Shop owner Patti Edwards says that is due largely to a business savvy organization called Southern California Local Bead Store Association.
“We know what works in getting people to come out,” said Edwards, who is also the Business Manager for a structural engineering firm in downtown San Diego.
At first, an outside marketing organization thought up the marketing ploy of the Bead Shop Hop. The Hop is two consecutive four-day weekends in September where the bead store association mapped out 29 member stores for people to visit.
At each of the stories, Shop Hop customers received goodies and prizes and a chance to win a grand prize. The shop hop was based on a passport theme in which customers got stamps for each store they visited.
The more stores visited, the higher the chances are for winning a grand prize.
The passport theme certainly appealed to shoppers, but the bead shops like P & P Beads were losing out on the deal.
This year, the Bead Shop Hop was a hit for both shoppers and shop owners.
“It’s put us on the map,” Edwards said. “Even around the county, people said they had no idea there were so many bead shops.”
Once people like Elaine Owensby from Oceanside discovered P & P Beads, they’ll be back. Beading is not just a ‘chick thing,’ either.
Owensby’s husband Jack and son Ryan, 7, also got into checking out all the beads.
“Look at this,” Jack Owensby held out a bunch of quarter-inch lug nuts linked together.
“Cool!” Ryan said.
“I’d wear something like this,” his dad said.
When asked what Ryan liked about visiting P & P Beads, he said, holding up a bead that changed colors , “The most fun has been finding these. It’s called a ‘mood bead.’”
The Owensbys had made a day trip out of visiting the bead shops in the county and beyond.
“It’s been a crazy race,” Elaine Owensby said. “It adds excitement for the guys.”
Jack Owenbsy smiled. “We do like the challenge of a road trip,” he said.
His son chipped in. “I like it because you can do anything you want with these beads,” he said.
Edwards smiled, nodded. She felt the same. “I am adamant that you don’t need to know a lot about beading to enjoy yourself.
“I’m a firm in not getting too fancy for your own liking,” she said. “Beading is a craft you are meant to enjoy and feel good about.”
In fact, Edwards prefers making simple style jewelry.
“I love jewelry and I love to wear it!” said Edwards, who prefers mostly necklace and bracelet sets that can be worn with an outfit.
“I am all for trying new things and going out of your comfort zone, but for beading if it’s not enjoyable to you it’s not worth doing,” she said.
For the more adventurous beader, P & P Beads offers classes such as Metal Madness, which is one of the shop’s favorites. The class is for a bracelet made with all metal seed beads.
Basic Wire and Chain Maille are also very popular classes.
“We tend to offer mostly bracelet classes in order to show the stitch used. People like leaving a class with a finished product so we try to keep the classes so they can do that,” she said.
For Edwards, the craft of beading came about in the summer of 2002 by a friend. She enjoyed the look and feel and the vast variety of beads so much that she considered opening her own bead shop.
Her first store opened in 2004 out on East Main Street in El Cajon. A neighboring store called The Applecrate found a place for P & P Bead’s second home at Los Coches and Old Highway 8. Edwards teamed up with Apple Crate and moved to the “Big Red Barn,” as they called it.
As the economy tanked they decided to close that business, in the fall of 2009.
“My sister, Shari, and I have both lived in Santee for 18 years or so and decided if we found somewhere in Santee to move it would be our ‘sign to stay in business,” Edwards said.
They did find that place, Edwards calling it fantastic with the exposure the store gets from Mission Gorge.
“P&P stands for ‘Pause and Play,’” Edwards said.
Tables are set around the shop for people to come any time to sit and bead. “I mean, really, any time,” she said.
The website is www.pandpbeads.com.