Every year around Valentine’s Day, I think back to about how She Beads got started and marvel at our journey over the last 20 years. So, just thought I’d share…
It was 1995 and I was on the medical team for the Chicago Bulls as an X-ray technician. One day, I was chilling in the locker room making beaded bracelets for a fundraiser at my kids’ grade school. Just a hobby for me, using beads out of a catalog and stored in my basement.
So, Michael Jordan walks by and says “Hey, Sandy, make me some beads.” I tried to resist, but really, who can say no to Michael Jordan? So, quick-like-a-bunny, I got serious about learning how to make my own beads out of clay. And, I taught myself how to make designs in the ancient art of millefiori, which actually came pretty easily given my experience in reading patterns in X-rays.
Now, every February 17th—Michael Jordan’s birthday—I gift him a clay bead bracelet that I’ve designed just for him. The first was black and red (the Bulls’ colors) with a touch of ivory. He loved it! (I called the design “MJ”…and we still make beads in that pattern to this day…) Then teammates Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman said “Me, too!” And the rest is history.
He Beads was born.
I stayed with the Bulls and ran He Beads out of my basement for a few years. By then, I’d expanded to add She Beads for women. And, I was ready to go full-time when we opened our first retail storefront in June 2000 in Wilmette, Ill.
We’ve since added two more product lines—Charity Beads, where we donate a portion of the price to our charity partners, and Intention Beads, which are talismans made at auspicious astrological times.
Now, 20 years later, I’m handing the reins to my daughter, Alexandra, to bring a new vision of She Beads to a new generation. She has been by my side from the start. And I’m looking forward to being by hers while I focus on combining my passions of astrology and bead-making with Intention Beads.
Happy Birthday, Michael! And thanks for the memories!
Sandy, what an awesome story!!! I have always thought of Michael Jordan as “poetry in motion!” My question is what will Andrew be doing? I am a bit attached to him as well.
I remember coming over to the store in Wilmette and setting up my massage table and working on everyone! And schlepping the beads all over the country and selling them to world champion horse trainers and exhibitors.
Wow! I didn’t see that coming. I fell in love with She Beads many years ago when I found them at a small specialty shop in Alexandria Kentucky where I live. That little shop closed up and I searched out other not so close shops selling She Beads before finally hooking up with the three of you, Andrew, Sandy, and most recently Alexandra via phone calls, emails, texts, and now Facebook. We have never met in person but I feel as though we are friends. It is obvious that you three have creative genius, business insight and abilities, plus people skills that are off the charts. I wish you a smooth transition that I know will happen and continued success that you deserve. I will continue to wear your creations everyday, selected from my personal wall of She Beads. Congratulations Alexandra and Sandy!
Great read, Sandy. Thanks for the share. Please give Alex my best.
You have made this world a better place. I always get compliments on whatever She Bead item I am wearing. Thank you. I wish you well in your future endeavors.
So cool! Are you going to be in the store, still? I love shopping and schmoozing at the same time!
Great work long story I work at Home Depot older cool dude walks in I help him notice bracelet he’s wearing ask wear he got an he mentions she beads . Can’t wait to see your store .