... yet it is the only thing that has brought progress - Charles Kettering

So our bead fair season is well and truly underway which is lovely. I'm still quite new to bead fairs so I'm still learning the ropes really. The Scottish Bead Fair in Perth was a real eye opener and the customers as well as my fellow bead shop friends were amazingly supportive, constructive with their criticism and I have been invited back in August. Fab! I was at Doncaster Bead Fair on Sunday and it also was a great day but I have started to notice a worrying trend appearing, or should I say disappearing? 

You see Bead shops from all corners of the UK are starting to close. Some are consolidating into their most profitable shop, some are now just concentrating on their internet stores and sadly some have just given up on the jewellery makers of this world and are trying to sell off their stock as quickly and discretely as possible.

Whilst I have no plans to go anywhere at the moment, I think the lesson learned is that if you want a local bead shop it is important that you support them as much as you can. If they don't have what you want in stock, tell them and I'm sure that if enough people ask they will add a new line. We are currently awaiting delivery of our Soutache braiding cord at the moment because a dozen people have requested it last week. We recently bought in a batch of busts because a lady mentioned she would love us to stock them.
I think it is important to point out here the Government's new universal credit rules for the self employed, postal costs, the escalating fees of online selling/trading websites, the introduction of the latest wave of social media fees, the rise in wages for those brave enough to employ and therefore support families in their locality, utilities, rent and rates on a shop. All these things will add up to the smaller companies closing down slowly but surely and this will include online traders.

I'm a sole trader and a micro company, I have been building Rosewill Cottage for three years now. I appreciate the support of my customers immensely but wouldn't it be a shame if I joined the growing trend sweeping the bead industry of Great Britain and gave up on the North East now? I mean how would this kind of change bring progress?