Feb 28, 2011

Member Spotlight: Forever in Style

Vintage beads used in exciting new designs—what’s not to love? We recently talked with Debby Arem of Forever in Style about her Etsy shop.

Fall honey bead necklace

Q. How did you come up with the name for your shop?

In the late 1970s, I first began designing jewelry—all hand knotted beaded necklaces and earrings—for museum shops and catalogs and upscale boutiques and department stores. I made both conservative pieces and funky and ethnic ones and created a company known as “Beadles”—cute name when I first came up with it, but tiresome when far too many people would say, “Oh so you’re a big fan of the Beatles?” When I was searching for a name for my Etsy shop, I thought of how many of my designs had originally been created years ago (I guess even my designs would be considered “vintage”) but were still in style. Friends would remark that my designs would be in style forever because of the unusual vintage design components I have at my fingertips (purchased years ago from buying trips my husband and I made all over the world). Many people still recognize my work as “Beadles” and I’ve actually had people find me on Etsy and send a convo such as” I think I bought one of your pieces years ago,” but it was time for a new name that personified what I felt my designs reflected.

Turkish blooms earrings

Q. Aside from your business and related activities, what do you do for fun?

My husband and I are both avid animal lovers and are active in a couple of dog rescue groups—one for all breeds of dogs and one specifically for Samoyeds. I do home visits, vet checks, and a lot of networking to help find forever homes for pets that have been given up or abandoned. I’m amazed at some of the inane reasons we’ve heard for why a pet was given up, such as the Great Dane owner who “didn’t realize he’d get so big.” Don’t get me started or you’ll never get me off my soapbox!

Joel does a lot of the photography for the dogs on one of the websites and was instrumental in getting our 501(c)3 (nonprofit status) for that rescue. We’ve both done adoption shows and transport on occasion as well. I also LOVE to garden (although it’s an uphill battle with the deer, squirrels, and mother nature who took it upon herself to hurl a tornado our way a couple of summers ago and demolish a number of my plants). I also knit and love to cook.

Qufu garden bracelet

Q. What does your family (or friends) think about your online vintage business? Are there any common misconceptions you run across, and how do you deal with them?

My family and friends are pretty intrigued by how I run an online business and all the ins and outs of promoting myself, especially since I’ve never considered myself very computer savvy (I can see my grown kids grinning here as I type this). I recently revamped my blog and use Twitter and FaceBook to get my name out there. And of course I belong to this awesome team and try to participate as much as I can!

Ocean treasure earrings

Years ago when I first started my jewelry business (yes, I’m a vintage dinosaur who has been creating jewelry since the late 1970s), it was all done by first making appointments to see buyers and curators at museum shops and then dragging along a big heavy shoulder bag of my work. And of course I did some cold calling where I “pounded the pavement,” which I absolutely HATED. When the Internet came along and I could run my business from home, life became so much nicer and so much more productive! Of course (and here’s where the misconceptions arise), I find that even my friends sometimes think that since I “work from home,” I don’t really have a job. I do this full time—7 days a week and far too many hours a day—for this to not be a job, but I LOVE every aspect of it. I just have to remind my friends of this every once in a while!


Diana Redlin said...

Dear Debby,
You are a Renaisance Woman through and through. It's such a pleasure seeing you featured. I love your designs and the tech/vintage beads necklace is awesome!
I cherish the beads and specimins I have gotten from you and Joel.
All the best to you,
Diana R.

Suzanne@threepeats said...

Love your work and that you've been designing long enough that your designs are now vintage. I'm glad you changed the name for your etsy shop...Beadles is just too cutesy and childish and, in my opinion, doesn't match your elegant jewelry. As animal lovers, were you thinking of Beagles instead of Beatles ;)?