Elizabeth Ward

Meet the Designer-Artist

I live in Washington, DC with my husband, two sons, a daughter-and a dog and a cat who have an uneasy truce. I can see the Capitol Building from my house, so it's a fun neighborhood.

Share Your Background

Once in a Blue Moon
I moved to Taiwan in 1986 to study Chinese and teach English. A year later, I moved back to the US, to Washington, DC, and was working for the government. Sitting in my government cubicle, I racked my brain for a way to launch a career that would support my desire to travel the world and see everything that interested me--and that was a lot.

"Aha," I thought, "I will establish an importing company and travel the world to buy ... hmmm. Buy what?"

My little apartment didn't have much room and I didn't have much capital, so I opted for the tiniest thing I could think of--jewelry supplies like beads and pearls. Small, beautiful and made all over the world. They were perfect.

I went to embassies to find the names of manufacturers, pearl farms and wholesalers. Back then there was no email, so I wrote my inquiry letters on paper and sent them out into the world. I never got a reply--instead, one day I received a box of pearl strands from a firm in Hong Kong with a letter telling me to send the money when the box arrived!

The owner of that firm took a risk on me--it was an amazing amount of trust. I had never met the guy!

I took my pearls and strung them into necklaces, then sold them at a local craft market. While at the market, other jewelry designers began to ask me if they could purchase my temporarily strung beads and my eyes were opened to the huge market for jewelry components.

Moving beyond pearls, I saw how my fellow designers were eager for new styles of metal findings. So I quit the government and started travelling the world, looking for new materials and designs. The business outgrew the apartment, outgrew the original warehouse, and just kept growing until I discovered I had grown an entire company: Blue Moon Beads.

Soon I was selling my products and components to retail outlets like Ben Franklin, Michaels, Joann's and others. I'd come a long way from a box of pearls in my apartment.

Beading Success

A Place for Everything
In 2002, I sold Blue Moon Beads and took it easy for a few years. I remodeled my house, took a vacation--but I was bored. I was not ready to be retired!

So I went back to my first love: beads and jewelry-making. And I discovered there was no way to store my stash that worked for me. I didn't want bulky boxes from the hardware store--those were designed for bolts and washers. Putting my beads into the usual plastic organizers meant I couldn't get to them quickly and conveniently or I couldn't see the colors, shapes and sizes without opening everything up.

It was taking me more time to pull all my supplies out than I was able to spend using them. I was so fed up I decided to design my own system for storing beads and jewelry-making supplies.

I would create a system that had multiple sizes of containers to store everything from seed beads to texturing hammers and everything in between. A system made of durable, transparent plastic so I could see all my supplies at a glance. A system I could open up and use on the table, yet still store on the shelf within easy reach.

I call it Bead Storage Solutions™ and it answers all my needs as a beader and jewelry maker. It eliminates the not-fun parts of making jewelry and lets me focus on the absolutely fun parts.

Learn more about the Bead Storage Solutions here.