Andrea Feinberg is a self-taught bead artist on Long Island, NY who began the jewelry brand AndreaBeadazzles several years ago. She has been able to combine her business and marketing background with her artistic energy to create a business that thrives across the East End and on the online marketplace!
The holidays have impacted Andrea’s creations in an exciting way. It’s a busy shopping season and her jewelry makes unique gifts that can’t be found anywhere else. She has participated in local craft fair events, including Holidays at the Hangar in East Hampton, where her natural pearl Christmas earrings have been a huge hit!
Andrea spoke more about her background in business and how it has influenced her brand, as well as her development and expansion as an artist.
What is the AndreaBeadazzles brand all about?
A: It’s one of the ways I like to display my sense of independence and distinction; this is my ‘side gig.’ I’m a business development/marketing coach and consultant of over 20 years. This business exemplifies my larger brand: a well-run business can deliver an abundant life and doesn’t need the owner 24/7/365. Also, I actively chose to learn and undertake a form of artistry that’s not well known in the U.S.A.—Eastern European bead embroidery, meaning my work surprises many viewers and gets a lot of attention. And, it takes patience, good eyesight, and manual dexterity as well as creativity. I love doing it and it allows me freedom to fully explore all the available materials and ways to combine and design. I find it relaxing and it allows me to be surrounded by many true artists of enormous variety.
What are some of the quintessential creations that make up the brand? What are your favorites to create?
A: Hah! The one I’m working on in any given moment is my favorite as each piece is one of a kind; nothing is repeated and each one provides an opportunity to create anew. I do love combining many elements, yet just 2-3 colors in each finished work. My raw materials include glass and crystal beads, shells, pearls, filigree, metal lace, wood, semi-precious stones—it’s a riot of possible combinations!
How did you get started with your jewelry business and when did you decide to start it?
A: This was purely happenstance. My hobby was knitting for many years and, towards the end of her life, my sister Robin asked that I knit her a coat, which I did. However, I was in a hurry to get it done for her and developed tendonitis, making knitting difficult. I had to find another way to express with my hands and, after my husband bought me a necklace incorporating a large hand painted on onyx bead, I had to find more. I did, on Pinterest, but only within the bead embroidery medium and I was hooked; I’d never seen beads manipulated in this way so I decided to learn. YouTube was my first teacher and, after making many pieces, I signed up for my first show in 2016.
Your jewelry is so intricate and detailed. How do you decide which elements and materials to use? What about bead jewelry specifically drew you to this medium?
A: Thank you! First, I pick the focal, central bead I want to work with; usually a sizable cabochon, which is a polished, semi-precious stone, flat on one side. I literally then go through all my cases of materials—other beads, stones, crystal, bead covers, shells, pearls, etc. and decide what works given the item I want to make whether it be a necklace, brooch, pendant, bracelet, or earrings, and the price point I want it to be. As far as what drew me to this, it was the unique aspect of it, something I’d never seen yet for which there were many books and video tutorials from which I could learn. Also, I found several Facebook groups devoted to this art and I’m inspired daily by the magnificent work I see from others who are also very willing to provide answers to questions about materials or sources.
Does the east end of Long Island ever play a role in what you create? Do you ever create with a specific location in mind?
A: Location is not relevant for me. I think in terms of my desired audience who’s typically a baby boomer woman or the man shopping for her. However, this past summer I did start embellishing shells; I love living with water all around me.
What else do you want people to know about AndreaBeadazzles? Do you have any advice or wisdom to share for other creatives who might be thinking about starting a small business?
A: Yes, whether you’re selling a service or a product, you need always to think why someone wants to buy what you sell. It’s rarely about the product or service itself; it’s more likely to be how that buyer will feel as a result of using your goods or the solution they believe they will provide. You can hear my marketing head here. For a creative person, there’s always a struggle in that: Do I design to express myself or sell to my buyer? It’s a very lucky thing when one answer satisfies both sets of needs. For anyone starting a business, of any kind, there is a key question to answer: What problem am I solving, for what audience, and where can I find them when they’re receptive to my goods? Your business may deliver a good life to you but only when you deliver what your audience wants first, and make it easy for them to do business with you.
To learn more about AndreaBeadazzles and her unique and intricate jewelry, visit her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/andreabeadazzles/ or Instagram at @andreabeadazzles.