Big Bead Boutique: Joanne Tomlin interview

There is a unique little bead store just off the beaten track in central Brighton, which goes by the musically referenced name of “Big Bead Boutique”. The shop was created by the bubbly Joanne Tomlin and is relatively new to the city, it offers creatives a fab selection of beads for all budgets, as well as beading classes for all ages.

We are super excited that Joanne will be running a free afternoon workshop at the upcoming June Craftaganza.

When did you open the big bead boutique?
After 10 years of working on my beloved craft in my spare time, managing high street fashion stores and dreaming of opening my own shop, I  finally took the plunge. Inspired by the beautiful bead shops that I had seen in Venice and the strong vintage trend that was emerging in the UK in 2009, my dream came true in September 2010 when I opened the shop.

What do you sell?
I believe that I have an interesting and unusual collection of beads such Murano glass, semi precious stones, chunky acrylics, pearls and I also source and stock vintage bronze & cabochon beads. I import my stock in from all over the world and aim to keep my prices are very competitive ranging from just 2p to £2.00.

You offer a bespoke service – can you tell us about that?
An interesting twist to the boutique is that I don’t only sell beads, I have many beautiful handmade pieces of jewellery including a wedding collection with a strong vintage feel. I was first introduced to tiaras when my sister brought home a beautiful wire work headdress from a wedding fair, I loved it so much when I was getting married in 2001 I couldn’t find anything similar so I decided to make my own. I offer this as a bespoke service, if you want something a little different or specific then I will make it especially for you.

What classes do you run?
I have a selection of jewellery making and beading courses from beginners to intermediate. I also hold jewellery making birthday parties for people of all ages as well as hen parties which can be lots of fun.

You can find the Big Bead Boutique at:
12 Dyke Rd
01273 383983

And if you come along to the next Craftaganza market on the 4th June, you can meet the lovely Joanne in person and try out some beading yourself at her free  workshop.


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