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Author Archive: Kevin on The Blog

Lima is Moving!

Posted by Kevin on June 16 at 12:59 pm

It was almost 3 long months ago when I wrote about how Lima was Shopping for Space. After a long search and looking at what felt like every office/warehouse space in Ann Arbor, we have found the perfect space!

On the About Lima page, we talk a little bit about the kind of work environment we like. We definitely don’t want to be out in a boring warehouse in the middle of some industrial park, but we’re also getting a little too big to be in our downtown loft. For the past 5 years we’ve managed to grow every year with no elevator, cramped spaces, and bathrooms that are showing their 70 year old age. We set out 6 months ago to find an office space that would give us the convenience of a warehouse environment (large open space with an overhead door) and the “coolness” of a loft/downtown that we have in our current space.

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Fresh Daily Deal: Large Coral Nugget

Posted by Kevin on June 04 at 02:12 pm

Back in March, I announced that we would be doing Fresh Daily Deals from time to time. We’re ready for round 3 and this time we have a large coral nugget! If you’re not familiar with Fresh Daily Deals, check out my original blog post.

We’re starting to dig through the many boxes in our office in preparation for our big move (more on this later) and we’re finding all sorts of good stuff! I found these nuggets buried in our receiving room. Tons of people have been asking or coral lately, so I thought they’d be a perfect fresh daily deal. We don’t want to offer them as a regular item on our web site because we probably can’t get them from the factory now.  I only found 73 strands, so get them quickly if you want ‘em!

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What’s Popular?

Posted by Kevin on May 12 at 01:43 pm

The spring craft shows/fairs have begun. We’re in the midst of graduation and wedding season. There are lots of birthdays this time of year. It’s spring, everyone wants new jewelry! This is the time when the beading world is usually buzzing with activity, but it seems a little quiet this year.

My questions is — what are you seeing out there? Whether you’re selling at shows, having home jewelry parties or trunk shows, or getting requests for graduation jewelry, what sort of designs are people asking for? We try to keep up on the latest trends, but they’re all over the place this year. I think the economy is driving people to use supplies that are a bit less expensive like: brass stampings, recycled parts, and base metals. Ali tells me that the items below are being reported as “hot” for this summer, but doesn’t it seems like a huge variety? I’m not sure what to think.

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Welcome Cathy to The Team!

Posted by Kevin on April 27 at 03:08 pm

I have some exciting news today. If you’ve been following along, you know that in 5 short years Lima Beads has grown from a couple of shelves in a college apartment to what it is now. This rapid growth hasn’t given us a lot of time to concentrate on efficiency, implement standard procedures, or stay very organized. I guess the best way to put it is: for the past few years, we’ve been flying by the seat of our pants!

That’s all about to change. We’ve never had a real manager here — the management of daily operations has been something that Ali, Steve, and I have all shared. Lima Beads has reached a major turning point. This summer, we want to add several new product lines, get a new space (stay tuned for an announcement very soon), and we have a lot of fun ideas for the web site. It was obvious, to make all of this happen, we would need a manager and we found one. Today is Cathy’s first day. She has more than 10 years of real management experience. She is going to help us grow larger, be more efficient, more organized, and more fun! We couldn’t be happier.

Cathy’s bio and photo are below. Please join us in giving her a big welcome. This summer is going to be awesome. We’re so excited. You’re going to see lots of new products, lots of fun things on the site, and a much less stressed-out Lima team :)

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Murano Glass Beads? Yes, Please!

Posted by Kevin on April 23 at 12:36 pm
murano-1

Click to Enlarge

We’ve recently received the most delicious looking product sample ever — Murano glass beads. If you’ve ever shopped for a glass anything, you’ve surely heard of Murano.

The island of Murano is located just off the coast of Venice. Since the 13th century, some of the most beautiful glass in the world has been produced there. Most of the beads are still manufactured using the lampworking technique, which was invented by a Murano glass master in the 1700s.

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Fresh Daily Deals: African Green Jasper

Posted by Kevin on April 15 at 04:49 pm

Back in March, I announced that we would be doing Fresh Daily Deals from time to time. We’re ready for round 2 and as promised, we have some African Green Jasper this time. If you’re not familiar with Fresh Daily Deals, check out my original blog post.

The Fresh Daily Deals

These deals will be available through Wednesday April 22nd. After that, they will be removed.

African Green Jasper Heishi 6mm

African Green Jasper Heishi 6mm

16" strand: $5.84 (33% off!)

This expired on April 23. Watch for more deals soon!


African Green Jasper Rice 30x10mm

African Green Jasper Rice 30x10mm

16" strand: $9.93 (32% off!)

This expired on April 23. Watch for more deals soon!


African Green Jasper Thin Pillow 14x10mm

African Green Jasper Thin Pillow 14x10mm

16" strand: $6.72 (24% off!)

This expired on April 23. Watch for more deals soon!


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Shopping for Space

Posted by Kevin on March 23 at 02:28 pm

Ann Arbor is an old college town. Most of the buildings downtown (including ours) were built in the mid to late 1800s. This means: narrow hallways, steep staircases, no elevators, and lots of character. The character part is what keeps us downtown. Most companies that do any significant amount of shipping and receiving have moved into one of the industrial zones that are 4 to 5 miles outside of the city. Downtown is full of galleries, jewelry stores, musicians, coffee and book shops, students, and any kind of food you want. The Lima team thrives on this energy, so we’d like to stay downtown if we can.

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Introducing – Fresh Daily Deals

Posted by Kevin on March 12 at 02:18 pm

Introducing Fresh Daily Deals! There are great deals on Brazil sodalite beads at the bottom.

With a handful of our suppliers, it seems that our requested strand quantities are regarded only as suggestions. We request 50 or 100 strands at a time and when the order shows up at The Lima Loft, there might be 500 strands! When this happens, we have a decision to make. Do we keep these extra strands or do we send them back? Often, sending the strands back means shipping them all the way to a factory in China or somewhere else in the world. Since the cost of that is great, many times we decide to keep them all.

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10 Random Facts

Posted by Kevin on February 23 at 11:31 pm

If you participate in any of the internet social networks, you’ve no doubt see everyone makings lists of random facts about themselves lately . The fun thing about these random facts is that these are usually things about yourself that your co-workers and friends wouldn’t even know. In my case, I had forgotten about most of these things until I actually started to think of random facts about myself. We thought this was fun, so below, you’ll find 10 random things about all of the Lima Team Leaders. Add your 10 random facts in the comments!

Kevin

  1. My first job was “Kevin’s Lawn Service” when I was 10.
  2. In the 7th grade, I trained all summer for a US/Canada swim meet and then broke my arm on the monkey bars the week before the meet.
  3. I love Karate Kid and Back to The Future. A lot.
  4. I tried to break up with Ali in high school and she wouldn’t let me. Thank God. I was such an idiot.
  5. My favorite sport to play is hockey, but I don’t skate very well.
  6. When I was 9 I lost my wallet with $2 in it. I was devastated for weeks.
  7. On my very first day as a lifeguard when I was 15, I almost drowned saving someone.
  8. I know all there is to know about both grandfather and cuckoo clocks.
  9. When I was little, I built an alarm for my closet out of string, wire, tape, a Sony walkman, tin foil, and some old speakers.
  10. I had to write an interview paper in college, but I didn’t have time to interview someone, so I made up a fictional person. I got an A.

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India-cut Stones

Posted by Kevin on February 19 at 02:43 pm

For the next 2 weeks, we’ll be adding awesome India-cut stones to our shop. Some of you will know exactly what to expect when I say India-cut, because there are specific stones that are typically cut in India and they are cut in a distinctive way. For those of you that aren’t familiar with these stones, I wanted to write a bit about them, because we love stones cut in India!

The Gemstones

multi-color moonstone

multi-color moonstone

India factories cut many gemstones, but the ones you see most often are the “premium stones” — stones like: labradorite, peridot, ruby, garnet, emerald, moonstone, fluorite, opal, iolite, and tanzanite. These factories cut these stones to give them an awesome, unique look that you just can’t get anywhere else.

labradorite faceted rondelle

labradorite faceted rondelle

The Cuts

Many of the premium stones above are now being cut in China as well, but you can always tell when a strand has come from India. The factories there have a distinctive cutting style. Many of the stones are hand-cut rather than machine cut. This results in varying shapes and sizes rather than a perfectly uniform strand of beads. If you ask us, it adds a little character to the beads :)

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Valentine’s Day – Love It or Not?

Posted by Kevin on February 13 at 09:35 pm

Ali and I had our first date on February 3, 1996. We were in high school together, I was a senior, she was a junior. We had a nice date, said goodnight and I went home. The next school week passed without my calling her and we rarely crossed paths in school during the day. The following weekend passed, still I didn’t call her. It’s already been discussed many times that this was STUPID on my part, so trust me, I know what you’re thinking…

Bead Mine!By the time February 13 arrived, I finally realized how dumb I was and redeemed myself by asking her out for Valentine’s Day. She said yes and well, the rest is history. I found out later that in the time between our first date and my eventual call, she told all her friends I was a big jerk and that she’d never go out with me again even if I did call. She must be all talk because it only took her about 3 seconds to say yes to a second date :)

Ever since this first Valentine’s day redemption date, we’ve always celebrated the day. I’ve always liked Valentine’s day. I remember in elementary school, for the first 2 weeks of February, the students ran a “post office” to deliver valentines between the classes. I wasn’t exactly a ladies man in elementary school, so I never got many valentines, but my mom always came up to school and sent me one through the post office to make sure I had at least one to open.

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Favorite Vacation Spots?

Posted by Kevin on February 02 at 04:03 pm

I need a vacation. Not just a weekend getaway — a no cell phone, no laptop, no worries, walking on the beach, napping in a hammock, sipping a less-than-manly tropical cocktail kind of vacation.

On the ferris wheel, Navy Pier, Chicago, 2004.

On the ferris wheel, Navy Pier, Chicago, 2004.

5 years ago this June, Ali and I were married. Our wedding was in northern Michigan in a town called Sutton’s Bay. We only had time for a short 4 day honeymoon in nearby Chicago. On the way from our wedding to Chicago, we came through Ann Arbor to stop by our apartment and pack up the few Lima Beads orders that had come in over the previous 2 days. We drove them to Chicago with us and mailed them from a downtown post office. This was our last real vacation and we feel like we still need to go on a proper honeymoon.

We haven’t taken a vacation since then. It’s been 5 long years filled with hard work, home remodeling, and having a baby. All of those things are wonderful and we’re very thankful for them, but now we’re ready for a nice vacation! I don’t even know where to begin. Lima Beads is still a pretty small company, so we can’t be away for too long, but I think we could manage 10-12 days. Living in Michigan, we would love to go somewhere tropical during the winter months. During the summer months, we’d like to visit a place where we can be surrounded by nature and hike, camp, and bike.

What are you favorite vacation spots? Any suggestions for us? Photos to share?

We haven’t made any solid plans yet, but we need to do something in the next year or I think we just might go a bit crazy.

The Grind Begins

Posted by Kevin on January 07 at 03:15 pm

Christmas is over. New year’s eve and new year’s day are over. Now, it’s just cold and snowy for the next 8-10 weeks and glimpses of the sun will be few and far between. In Michigan, we call this period the grind. I must admit, I occasionally have a hard time keeping a positive attitude during the grind. As Ali can tell you, every year I start talking about how we need to move to northern California where my sister lives or to Florida where her sister lives.

For those of you that live in colder areas, the midwest in particular — what do you do this time of year? Does anyone else experience the annual desire to seek a warmer climate? I’ve messed around with various winter sports, but nothing too serious. I’ve always thought that if I were to ski or snowboard on a regular basis, I might enjoy the winter more. I used to love playing pond hockey, sledding, or having snowball fights when I was younger, but I haven’t done those things on a regular basis for quite some time.

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We’re Still Here…

Posted by Kevin on December 29 at 05:40 pm

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to write a quick post to let you know that The Lima Team is still alive and kicking.

We’re all taking it easy and trying to enjoy what’s left of the holiday season. I hope everyone has been able to find some relaxation and enjoy time with family or friends. We’re gearing up for what we expect to be a crazy January. We have so many awesome beads sitting in crates at the back of our office just waiting to be put on the web site. There are so many cool things — January is going to be very exciting.

There won’t be a weekly email or Lunch Specials this week. Also, don’t forget, The Lima Gift Giveaway ends at the end of this year (Dec 31). Get your free beads while you can!

We’ll be back in the office on a regular basis starting Monday January 5th with more fun stuff than ever.

Have a safe and wonderful New Year!

Kevin

What We Woke Up To This Morning

Posted by Kevin on December 19 at 10:31 am

Winter has technically been here for awhile, but it didn’t really feel like it… Until this morning that is. We woke up to the snowstorm that you’ve probably been hearing about on the news for the past couple of days. As promised by weather forecasters nationwide, it hit.

For those of you in warmer areas, this may be hard to believe, but we’re actually happy about it! It means a white Christmas, which is one of the few joys of Michigan winters. For those of us that don’t ski, snowboard, or own a snowmobile, a white Christmas is very important to keeping a positive attitude during the winter months :)

Here are some photos taken this morning from our office window:

2 plow trucks, a guy blowing snow, and a Starbucks. All winter essentials.

2 plow trucks, a guy blowing snow, and a Starbucks. All winter essentials.

 

There is snow much snow, this person decided to cross country ski to work.

There is so much snow, this person decided to cross country ski to work.

 

If you were in the path of this, show us your photos. To upload them, use the comment box below!

Cookie Recipes. Whose is Best?

Posted by Kevin on December 11 at 01:52 pm

Everyone on the Lima Beads team loves cookies. It’s that kind of love that leads to long discussions, just about cookies. I’d have to say that my favorite is the no-bake cookie. I don’t know why, I know it’s probably the easiest cookie to make, I’ve just always loved them. I don’t think we’re the only ones that think more about cookies this time of year. The smell of baking Christmas cookies is filling the house and eating too many cookies is suddenly more acceptable than at any other time of year! Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie?

Chocolate Mint Cookie mmmmm......

Chocolate Mint Cookie mmmmm......

The coffee shop across the street sells a chocolate cookie dipped in mint. I took a picture with my phone and showed our resident super baker, Riki. She said that she had actually tried that very cookie from the coffee shop and that it wasn’t very good. She claimed that she could bake a much tastier version of this cookie, but I’m still waiting for her to prove it to me…

Our love of cookies gave us an idea. What if we could get everyone’s favorite cookie recipes together and choose 5 to make? This would not only lead to a lot of fun with our customers, but also give us an opportunity to eat cookies. We all liked this idea immediately.

If your favorite cookie recipe is a Christmas cookie, that’s awesome, but it doesn’t have to be a Christmas cookie. It could be a chocolate chip cookie, an oatmeal raisin cookie, or some delicious kind of cookie that we’ve never even heard of!

Here’s what we want to do:

Include your favorite cookie recipe in the comments below. On Monday (12/15) we’ll put up a survey that will allow everyone to vote for the recipes they think sound the best. Based on those results, Riki will bake the top 5 cookies and the Lima team will do a blind taste test to see which cookie is the winner! With your recipe, be sure to include:

  • A name for your recipe (for the voting)
  • The recipe
  • optional: Any photos of the completed cookies you may have
  • optional: Any supporting information about how tasty these cookies are — how everyone demands that you make them every single year!
  • You can submit multiple recipes, just make sure they’re in separate comments.
Be as specific as possible, because Riki will be baking the cookies from these instructions. We’ll be including some of our own recipes. You can probably guess what mine will be — not that you need a recipe to make them :)

Free Beads with Every Order

Posted by Kevin on November 26 at 06:28 pm

Hi everyone!

For the past couple of years at Christmas time, Lima Beads has given the gift of beads with every order. This is our way of saying thank you to our customers for a great year. Well, it’s been another great year and we’re here again to say Thanks!

This year, we’ve added a lot of new products. Vintaj Natural Brass, Green Girl Pewter, Stampt Metal, Cabochons, and thousands of new Gemstone Beads. We love them all! We’ve made a lot of new friends, especially on the Fresh Daily Blog. We’re so proud to be part of the beading community and to be part of a business that people enjoy. We’ve got some pretty awesome stuff planned for next year too! So again, thank you for being part of the Lima Beads family and enjoy some free beads on us!

How it Works:

You can choose a free gift with each order you place. The gifts you can choose are based on how much you order. There are gifts for any order, orders over $75, orders over $150, and orders over $300. To see all of the free gifts, check out The Gift Giveaway Page!

Everything on Sale? Yes!

Posted by Kevin on November 26 at 06:27 pm

UPDATE: The sale has ended! Thanks to everyone who participated this year!

Black Friday is almost here and we just had to do something special. For the first time ever, Lima Beads has put every single item in our shop on sale… and I do mean EVERYTHING!

This sale has already started and will be available until 11:59pm EST on Monday 12/2/08. You don’t need a discount code or anything, you will see the sale prices throughout the web site. Just make sure you complete your purchases by the end of Monday because when the sale ends, any sale items in your cart will revert to the regular price!

As you know, Lima Beads is a pretty small company and we expect to be completely overwhelmed by this sale :) If we run out of an item, we’re sorry, but we won’t be able to offer rain checks. We’re pretty sure we’ll be able to keep up on orders and get everything ordered by 3pm out the same day (as always), but just to be safe — if your order is super time-sensitive, we highly recommend choosing UPS. Those orders are 100% guaranteed to go out the same day if ordered by 3pm EST.

Everything on Sale:

  • CZ and Pearls? 25% off!
  • Gemstone beads? 15% off!
  • Vintaj Brass? 20% off!
  • Stampt Metal? 20% off!
  • Copper beads? 20% off!
  • Cabochons? 20% off!

We also announced our holiday gift giveaway today. You can get free beads with every order through the end of 2008.

To everyone celebrating Thanksgiving this year — Have a safe and happy one! For everyone getting up at 4am to go shopping on Friday, play nice :)

And The Winner Is…

Posted by Kevin on November 22 at 03:30 pm

We have a winner in the How May Beads in The Jar contest.

When Mademoiselle M guessed 763 only a few minutes after we started the contest, we thought maybe it was going to be too easy! She was the first person to be within 25 of the correct answer, so she gets a $25 gift certificate.

In the days to follow, we had a great time coming up with the hints and watching such a huge range of guesses come in. The real shocker came this afternoon when the correct guess came in and it was…. Mademoiselle M!!!

There are 781 beads in the jar. This means that Mademoiselle M won the $25 gift certificate AND the $100 gift certificate. The contest was originally intended to award two people, so we’ve decided to also give a $25 gift certificate to the second person that came within 25. This is Charlotte P with her guess of 777 on Nov. 18 at 9:44am.

Thank you to everyone that guessed. We had a ton of fun with this contest and we hope that you did too. We’ll definitely be doing something like this again in the near future.

If anyone wants to share pictures or screenshots of their spreadsheets, scribbled notes, or hand-written tables, we’d love to see them! I thought it was so cool that some of you went all mathematical on us :)

Gemstone Cabochons are Here!

Posted by Kevin on November 20 at 03:20 pm

A few weeks ago, I announced that Lima Beads would soon be carrying gemstone cabochons. I started receiving emails about a week later saying “Hey! Where are the Cabs???” Beaders have no patience! I can say this for sure because I’m married to one. :)

I’m happy to say that we have added gemstone cabochons to our shop today! We’re starting off with shapes in some of our most popular stones and we’ll be growing the line from there.

We have standard cabochon sizes to wire-wrap or set:

Oval Cabochons

Oval Cabochons

We have these standard sizes in:

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