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The Lima Mascot

About Lima Beads

Lima Beads is a bead shop in Ann Arbor, MI. We pride ourselves on the quality of our products and the quality of our relationships with our customers. We started in the spare bedroom of a college apartment and now have a big warehouse full of beautiful things! We love what we do. We obsess over details (and what to eat for lunch). We provide consistently great quality. We laugh with each other and with our customers. Our team is loaded with rockstars. We strive to provide a great value. We don't strive to sell the cheapest beads. We give back to charities. We respect the environment. We'll make sure you're happy with Lima Beads.

How It All Began

The story of Lima Beads can best be told by the spaces we’ve occupied!

The Apartment 2003

Ali, Kevin, and Steve are in Ann Arbor to attend The University of Michigan. Go Blue! Ali has paid for school by making jewelry and selling it via local retailers. Seyfried Jewelers invites her along on their annual Tucson gem show trip. Ali & Kevin return from Tucson with a rolling suitcase full of gemstones, a dream, and a shocking amount of credit card debt. The gem strands are photographed and loaded onto a shelf in the bedroom closet. Ali’s childhood friend Steve is studying computer engineering. Steve and Kevin begin work on a web site. Lima Beads is born.

Dining room beads
Picking stones
Tucson Coffee

The huge office that wasn’t 2004

Ali and Kevin get married. The apartment is getting crowded, we need a real office. We sign a lease for a 500 square foot office on Main Street. We thought it was huge. We’re getting about 10 orders per day. Steve and Kevin design web sites for extra money. Ali works in ad sales at The Ann Arbor News. Slowly, we begin to get more orders. We pack them at the end of each day and proudly walk them around the corner to the post office.

Postal totes

The Masonic Lodge 2005 - 2009

500 square feet no longer feels huge. We move into a 1500 square foot space in a historic building that served as a Masonic Lodge in the 1880s. There are secret areas and hidden peep holes in the doors to ask “what’s the password?” We do this often. Cathy & Andrea join Lima and have an immediate impact. It was fun, but without an elevator, every bead we sell goes up (and back down) our steep flight of stairs. We’re all relieved when it’s finally time to move out. We learned a lot of hard lessons in this office. Lima grew a lot, and so did we.

Bubble wrap
Picking orders
Making jewelry

The Warehouse 2010 - Present

Wait, are we a real company now? We had to grow up eventually. The downtown offices had character, quick access to ANY lunch we craved, and fun after-work spots. Ann Arbor is a college town and we love it, but we needed a real warehouse. We’ve moved twice since leaving downtown. Lima has grown far beyond the dream we brought back from Tucson. Our current warehouse is full of 25,000 different items. We import from 6 countries. We travel the world to meet vendors and build relationships. We have big plans for the future and an amazing team of people to work with. We’re so grateful to have landed in this business with kind, creative, supportive customers. We hope to strive for quality relationships and products for many years to come.

Office dog