I believe the most interesting, challenging and totally addictive product from Trollbeads are the glass Unique beads. If you are a collector of these beads you know what I'm talking about. Unique Trollbeads are a focus of mine and of my website Trollbeads Gallery. In June of 2011 we opened the newest version of our website and I started numbering the unique beads on this new site at 1001. I list new beads everyday and today I was working on 5980. If you add in the 1 and half years of July 4th Unique beads, Halloween Unique beads, the Christmas Unique beads and the all the Amber Unique beads (all not included in the 5980) it means I have listed at least 6500 Unique beads in that amount of time. Besides being an unusually high quantity of beads for any one person to photograph and process can you then imagine writing 6500 individual descriptions for each bead? Talk about being obsessed with Unique beads! Sometimes I show two to 4 photos if the bead is different on the other side or if it is a kit. Our latest website is great not only because I can show multiple photos but there is also a magnifier to look closely at the beads. That's good and bad. I can't tell you how many times I have to re-shoot beads because of dust. I keep a clean studio but I think the lighting I use creates static electricity and sucks every free floating piece of dust to the bead! So if you have seen the dust on any of my beads let this be a blanket apology. I guess you're getting the idea that Unique beads are time consuming for me but they're no doubt also a huge labor of love. I hope no one is under the impression I am boasting because it certainly isn't that. It's almost embarrassing that I have been so completely absorbed by unique beads but I guess many of us can say that but just in different ways.
I've been selling unique Trollbeads for seven years and I still remember some of the older beads and love seeing the photos still hanging around on my computer. Initially, as I have understood it, the unique beads were considered one of a kind or OOAK because they pretty much were but not all the time. If a standard glass bead did not meet the set standards as it went through inspection it was put into a pool of beads that the glass artists would then add designs to and by doing that created a unique bead to sell as just that. Trollbeads never named them OOAK and the US Distributor at the time disallowed the name because they could make more than one and believed the term to be misleading, which it was. Trollbeads Gallery chose the word Unique back when we first started posting them on our site. When the popularity of the beads grew and grew Trollbeads saw the need to create Unique beads as a category they could offer on a full time basis to their retailers. The Unique glass beads created by artists in different studios that have been trained to create Unique beads and they keep getting better and better. The two studios I know about are both part of Trollbeads humanitarian involvement one being the Malawi group and the other being with the Tibetan refugees in India. The recent beads coming from these two studios have been some of the most artistic and some of the most beautiful beads I have ever seen. Below is a sampling of some of the more creative new endeavors.
In years past we have all been able to see a progression of talent and designs and although you would think a consistency is more desirable ... it is not. We LOVE seeing the glass artists challenge themselves and we love the different effects they have grown to create. I know one of the groups I just got in was from the Malawi studio because there was one bead we had with the Malawi beads this summer and the exact bead came in with the smaller core. All of the beads above were the same size as the Malawi classic core and they were all outstanding. To see the advancement the artists have made from June when the original Malawi beads were released to this group it's astounding.
There are some drawbacks when it comes to in handling the inventory of these beads and I would like to discuss this because many people, especially newer collectors, may not understand the process by which the retailers buy Unique beads. I've visited some Trollbeads collector Facebook pages and read some negative comments concerning pricing so I would like to explain the situation to defend retailers. It's a hard thing to grasp and even some retailers don't get it at first. When we buy unique beads we have to purchase them sight unseen in kits of 6 and we pay for the 6 beads. We don't have the option to return them and we don't have an option to choose only the more desirable beads, we have to keep all of them. It's basic survivor math and we have to charge more for the best beads to help cover the cost of the other beads that may never sell. One collector wrote something about how retailers were gouging the consumer when it came to the critter beads and armadillos and I have to say that is not the case. I've already talked about how many beads I have sold in a year and a half but what that doesn't tell you are the hundreds of beads I have in inventory many of which may never sell. It's just basic business. In order to restock we have to be able to sell what we have or sell the definite sellers for a bit more to cover the future purchases. I know there are retailers that don't bother with them because of this issue but for me it's what I love and it's what my collectors love. It's because we want to continue to offer them that we charge a bit more for the sought after beads to cover the beads that hang around for awhile, sometimes forever!
To see many of the Unique Styles please visit our Unique Trollbeads Glossary! It is a very special source for everyone to research and enjoy. Share it with your friends! We have many more to add in early January!
(Scales Beads from the Glossary of Unique Beads)