Nicola, Vicki and Mom (Maureen) thrilled with their 2010 Readers Choice Award
Best Family Owned And Operated
Business of the Year
Dragon’s Lair Beads turns Ten!
Stittsville News August 1st 2013
News - There’s Dragon’s Den, that Canadian television show which debuted in 2006 and is now going into its eighth season in which aspiring entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to a panel of wealthy venture capitalists to try to get financing.
But here in Stittsville there’s a business that also carries the dragon name that has been around even longer than the long-running Dragon’s Den TV series and that’s Dragon’s Lair Beads which marks its tenth anniversary in business this August.
To mark the occasion, Dragon’s Lair Beads, located at 83 Iber Road in Stittsville, is holding a tenth anniversary party with door prizes, demonstrations and cake on Saturday, Aug. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with everyone welcome to drop in.
And if you do drop in or if you have visited the Iber Road shop previously, you will not be able to miss the dragons on display there, popping up here and there. That’s because many customers have simply given dragons to the store over the years.
People come in and give us a dragon, says Vicki Green, who runs the shop with her sister Nicola Shute.
The dragon name came about after Vicki, on a trip to Charleston to buy some beads, spotted a dragon on display in the airport. Back home, she approached Stittsville Glass and Sign for a dragon logo and the end result was “Charlie,” the little purple dragon that is now the symbol of Dragon’s Lair Beads. His colour was changed to purple because, quite simply, Vicki admits she likes purple.
Charlie the purple dragon can now be found on Dragon’s Lair Beads business cards and on the shop’s website and signage, basically sitting down, presumably happily thinking about beading in its home liar.
Dragon Liar Beads started out at a Stittsville Main Street location but quickly outgrew the space and seven years ago moved to its current Iber Road spot. It had been a home hobby which resulted in an ever-accumulating amount of beads. There ended up being enough of a beads inventory to open a store and so that’s what happened.
The store ended up being in Stittsville as a “For rent” sign was just being put in the window of the Stittsville Main Street location when Vicki was driving by.
“Good timing” is how she puts it. And the rest is history. Three weeks later, the store was open, starting ten years of growth serving the beading community of the area, not only with a vast selection of beads but also with instruction classes and, perhaps most importantly of all, with the provision of a place where beaders can go and be with others of “like mind” where they can do beading, chat about beading or simply chat about life in general.
Vicki Green admits that at Dragon’s Lair Beads, they love to have beaders drop in and sit at one of the tables where the instruction classes happen and work on their latest bead project. Vicki says that in this way she gets to see what customers are working on and often she is called on to help solve a technique problem or simply for advice on how a piece should be finished.
We learn a lot from our customers, Vicki says, noting that she loves to see what a person has done in a beading project, what colours have been used and how the design has been interpreted.
Vicki and Nicola are both avid beaders themselves and instruct most of the classes and courses offered at Dragon’s Lair Beads, many of which happen on Saturdays.
“It’s fun,” Vicki says about beading. “If you love it, you love it.”
She also notes that beading has a calming and relaxing effect on people, as she says that beading cannot be rushed and a person has to slow down to do it.
“It’s a way for people to relax,” Vicki says.
And beaders form quite a community among themselves.
Beaders tend to be real interesting, talented people, Nicola Shute says, adding that everyone who beads is generally a happy person. That’s why the business is so much fun.
Dragon’s Lair Beads is known for its Christmas tree spiders, an ornament that may pre-date tinsel. Over 10,000 have been made and sold over the years and these little bead and wire spiders have gone all over the world, including such far away places as Peru.
A bead shop like Dragon’s Lair Beads stocks a lot of beads of different kinds and colours but even now, Vicki and Nicola admit that the shop does not have as much inventory as they would like. But they also admit that they would need a huge building if they wanted to store all the beads in their different colours, shapes and sizes that they would like to have in the shop. For instance, there are glass and plastic beads as well as beads made from stone, crystals, pearls and wood.
And things do change with regard to beads. Right now neon beads are quite the rage but this will be replaced by another colour rage within a couple of years or so.
Even a certain shape of bead can go out of style.
“Even beads have a lifespan,” Nicola says, noting that new shapes arrive and displace other shapes.
One challenge for beaders is consistency in the colour of beads. They can be from the same manufacturer but perhaps from a different dye lot. This means that the colour may not be identical and it will show up in the work being done, whether it be a piece of jewellery or a purse or a bracelet or whatever is being created.
There are also seasonal impacts in beading. In the summer, bright, happy colours prevail in beading work. In the fall, though, more earthy tones are preferred by beaders.
Besides beads, Dragon’s Lair Beads also handles components for those who make chain mail bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Yes, this is chain main using the same principles as that used by the knights of old for their armament.
Indeed, Vicki has even made a chain mail vest that she wears at bead and art shows so that she stands out in the crowd. The aluminum chain mail vest weighs four pounds. This is where the family nature of Dragon’s Lair Beads comes through, The chain mail components are prepared by Norman Green, the father of Vicki and Nicola.
In addition, their mother, Maureen, has just retired from the business but she still is at the shop every Friday where she helps weigh the bags of beads that are on sale in the shop.
Nicola points out that Dragon’s Lair Beads offers a variety of instruction courses and classes, most of which are for beginners or for those wanting to learn a new technique. For instance, the Japanese technique, Kumihimo, has been around for centuries but has really taken off recently, with many beaders learning the technique.
Classes may also deal with how to read a certain pattern or how to make a certain piece such as “The Star Fish” which was the subject of a recent new class.
Class size can range from one to ten people, although one-on-one instruction is also possible.
Beading is popular with all ages, although it is largely a hobby and business for women although men are involved, particularly with the chain mail technique.
Dragon’s Lair Beads sells patterns, beading books and tools. With regard to tools, Dragon’s Lair Beads lets a person try the tool out to determine how the tool feels in the hand. While there are three basic tools in beading with which a person can do most beading, there are other tools available as well.
Dragon’s Lair Beads, located at 83 Iber Road south of Hazeldean Road in Stittsville, can be contacted at 613-256-5800 or via email at email@example.com. The website can be found at www.dragonslairbeads.com.
Vicki Green and Nicola Shute
Sisters, business partners and friends.
Dragon’s Lair Beads
10 Mill Street (in the Heritage Mall) Almonte, Ontario
Dragon’s Lair Beads is family owned and operated and we have been in business for 14 years. We have recently moved our store to the friendly town of Almonte, we had previously been located in Stittsville . We moved to Almonte to be part of a thriving arts and craft community. Along with the beautiful scenery, historic buildings, boutiques and restaurants are many people who truly love this town.
We enjoy creating jewelry with many different mediums; some of our favorites are chain maille, bead weaving and wire projects. We love teaching and have taught a variety of classes in Ottawa, Toronto and Tucson. We have a full service bead store with a great variety of Seed Beads, Delica's, Shaped Beads, Swarovski Crystal, Wire and more.
We like to teach original classes that keep everyone having fun and to spread the beading love.
You can reach us at 613-256-5800 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our web site is www.dragonslairbeads.com you can also find us on Facebook
Vicki and Nicola