On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about beading with my guest Jill Wiseman.
Jill Wiseman lived a traditional, “8-to-5” corporate existence until a chance encounter with beads in 2001 changed everything. She was mesmerized. She found her local bead store and started taking every class offered to learn new skills, including stringing, wirework, and her later specialty, beadweaving.
Before long, Jill couldn’t contain her beady joy another moment and had to share the world of beads with others. She became a full-time beadweaving jewelry designer and teacher in 2004, and had the pleasure of teaching at national bead shows like Bead & Button and Bead Fest, as well as traveling to bead stores and bead societies all over the country for classes full of laughter and bead learning for over a decade. She is the author of Jill Wiseman’s Beautiful Beaded Ropes, and was honored to be chosen as one of Beadwork Magazine’s Designers of the Year for 2013.
In 2013, Jill started a YouTube Channel which now boasts more than 170,000 subscribers where she educates beaders around the world with videos showing techniques, tips, and projects. After the YouTube Channel launched, viewer demand for bead supplies influenced Jill to open an online bead store which has now grown into a 6,000 square foot warehouse facility with 4 employees.
Beading has taken her from coast to coast, and internationally to places like Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, and China. But the rest of the time Jill makes her home in Austin, Texas, with her mother (employee #1,) as well as two spoiled dogs who only occasionally eat the beads.
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Jill in a bath of beads during a visit to the Czech Republic.
We begin this conversation by talking about Jill’s childhood and college years. Jill talks about exploring many different fields and hobbies, but not really having a feeling that she’d found “the thing” that she wanted to really pursue until one day happening upon an aisle of beads while at International Quilt Festival. She felt immediately drawn to the beads and from there began learning everything there was to know about beading.
Jill took classes at her local bead shop and eventually they hired her to work and teach there. That’s how she realized that she really loved teaching. Jill discusses coming to the understanding that although she may not be the very best designer out there, she excels at explaining complex techniques in an approachable way and that there’s space for all sorts of talents in the industry.
For many years, Jill traveled extensively teaching beading and was nearly constantly on the road. Then she started a YouTube channel. Jill took a unique approach, outsourcing the filming and production and coming up with a financial incentive for both herself and the media company. It’s brilliant and if you take nothing else from this episode, definitely tune in to hear about this model!
Jill talks about starting an online bead store of her own in order to sell the supplies featured in her YouTube videos. She quickly moved out of her home studio into a small warehouse space. See a tour of Jill’s warehouse/studio space over the last four years. She has moved several times as her business has grown and she’s needed more room for beads.
A necklace from a bead-along Jill hosted.
We also talk about a few hot topics in the beading world including the closure of Bead & Button, a beloved show where the industry would meet up once a year. We also discuss Swaraovski’s decision to no longer sell to the craft retail market.
In this conversation, we reference:
- Staci Perry, the knitting YouTuber that inspired Jill to start a YouTube channel
- International Quilt Festival
And, of course, I ask Jill to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Jill recommends:
- PhotoRoom app
- CBD for anxiety
- the Craft Industry Alliance podcast