January 5, 2022

Interview with Jen Cohen from The Beaded Art Boutique

Posted in: Jewelry

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We are very excited to welcome beaded jewelry designer Jen Cohen to the Happening Hands Blog! Jen owns The Beaded Art Boutique based in California and she’ll tell us a bit about her process and business story. You can find Jen’s jewelry on her website, and you can follow her on Instagram.

The Beaded Art Boutique - Happening Hands - Handmade Business Tips for Makers - Support Small Business

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What’s the story behind you and your business?

When the pandemic started, I found that I needed a creative outlet to help me deal with the state of the world. I discovered beading, took a lot of Zoom classes where I met fellow beaders, and I was hooked! My creative outlet became a passion which then naturally developed into my business, The Beaded Art Boutique.

The Beaded Art Boutique - Happening Hands - Handmade Business Tips for Makers - Support Small Business

Lady Marion Painted Lady Necklace

Where do you draw inspiration and motivation from? How do you stay creative?

I draw inspiration from other creatives around me – I love looking at different types of work and seeing the amazing things people make. I also love drawing inspiration from the colors in the world around me.  Being creative is my favorite part of beading – I love trying out different combinations of colors and beads to make a finished piece that I love – if it was up to me, I would bead all the time! 

The Beaded Art Boutique - Happening Hands - Handmade Business Tips for Makers - Support Small Business

Ethiopian Opal Beaded Stud Earrings

What does your creative process look like from start to finish?

I start by finding focal pieces to be the center of my jewelry. Once I have found the center piece I want to work with (often using work made by some fabulous artisans I have met along the journey), I then decide on colors, shapes, and sizes of beads that I want to use to create the piece of jewelry. Using bead embroidery techniques, I surround the focal piece with these beads until I find the combination and style I like best. There is often a lot of revising if I am not satisfied with the way a piece is developing – in beading, removing stitched beads is called “frogging.”

What’s your current favorite podcast, music, or tv show that you’re hooked on and why?

I absolutely love listening to music from the 80s!

Name one thing not many people know about you.

Besides being a beader and small business owner, I am also a retired pediatrician and a part-time physician advisor.

The Beaded Art Boutique - Happening Hands - Handmade Business Tips for Makers - Support Small Business

What are your top three values in life?

Devotion to family, friendship, and empathy.

Do you have any business challenges and/or goals you’re hoping to crush over the next 6 months?

Hoping to continue to grow my business and become profitable so that I can keep doing what I love.

The Beaded Art Boutique - Happening Hands - Handmade Business Tips for Makers - Support Small Business

Do you have any advice for all the small handmade business owners out there who are just getting started?

To the small business owners who are just starting out, I would say take a deep breath and know that this is a marathon rather than a sprint. When I first started, I was disappointed that it didn’t all come together at once. As I got more experienced, I saw that I needed time to build my business and that I needed to keep moving forward knowing that there would be good times and not-so-good times, but that overall, it is worth every minute of effort I put into it.

I would also tell a new business owner to find a community of like-minded small business owners to share this journey with so that you have support and can share both your wins and your frustrations. I have met some of the most amazing people that I now call friends through this journey and I couldn’t do it without their encouragement and support – it truly takes a village!

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