Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why I Sell Mah Jongg Beads

A customer recently asked me where I get my mah jongg beads. The answer I gave was certainly more than she expected. I think I gave her the entire saga of how I came to sell mah jongg beads in the first place.

I told her that I buy mah jongg beads from sources around the world. The sources change from time to time. But I'm always on the lookout for good beads and mah jongg beads that are a little different.

And, then I told her why I sell mah jongg beads. I think it's worth sharing.

Let there be no doubt, question or second guessing on this. I never intended to sell mah jongg beads. I wanted to keep all the beads to myself!

It was tough enough to find the beads I needed. I searched the Web, shopped at bead stores, hunted around on EBay...all in the name of a good vendor for those colorful bone tiles.

Most times, I had no luck or my success was short-lived. Sadly, my mah jongg offerings reflected the scarcity. I needed good quality, large quantity and consistency.

Eventually things changed. Maybe I just started looking in other places. I found the right vendors and could get my hands on exactly what I needed.

The more items I created, the more I sold and so the cycle continued. Often I found that I had tapped into merchants who were able to sell me mah jongg beads because their limited stock has sat on shelves because of limited demand.

Eventually, these vendors were sending me the last of what they had and weren't willing to order more from the factories because...only a few of us were buying the bone beads anyway. More recently, from what I understand, it is difficult to find beads because of poor qualities coming from some overseas factories and because some factories tripled the minimum order quality at a time when not everyone was willing to put up three times the dough.

I imagine the difficulty in finding diverse and good quality mah jongg beads is what might have sent some jewelry makers into drilling into old mah jongg sets or using their creativity on the chunky acrylic beads that started showing up in craft stores. (Not that there is anything wrong with that. I absolutely adore a couple of the acrylic beads I've worked into the collections.)

Personally, I won't drill granny's (mine or yours) old mah jongg set. I'm a sucker for sentimental value. Plus, I would not be happy if I ruined a good tile with a poorly drilled hole. But there are mah jongg jewelry artists who use original tiles and the results are spectacular.

Eventually I tapped into the right combination of sources for the beads I use to create everything from mah jongg watches, pins, purse charms, earrings, bracelets, necklace sets, wine glass charms and more.

As my collection became more diverse I received e-mails and phone calls from curious others about where to find mah jongg beads.

Now, do you really think I wanted to give my competition one of my guns to shoot me with? Honestly, I didn't. Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it made sense to add the beads to the site. I wasn't giving up a source, I was becoming a source.

That was a couple years ago and selling the beads has helped more crafters and beaders make mah jongg jewelry from fun and profit. But I have no regrets about that. It was one of the best business decisions I could have made.

Selling mah jongg and related beads has put me in touch with many wonderful beaders throughout the country. And at the end of the day, I feel good that Gehazi Collections is making it easier for other beaders to get good quality beads and customer service from someone who has walked in their shoes.

So, where can you get mah jongg beads for making jewelry? At Gehazi Collections, of course.

Until next time,

Sandra Davis

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