Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Today's Sponsor: Sara's Beads

I'm delighted to bring you Sara's Beads as our next featured sponsor.

Marlene Middleton is the creative force behind this venture, and she named her business after her teenage daughter Sara, who died in a car accident some years ago.

"She would love this work," Marlene says.

And she's right.  She's right because Sara's life was one of faith and beauty.

And what could be more beautiful than an outward sign and visible reminder of our faith, that which unites us all, both living and deceased?

Made of sterling silver and accented with beads of glass, Austrian crystal, or Swarovski crystal, these bracelets are designed to inspire faith and prayer.

Mine is a decade of the Rosary, which Marlene made especially for me.  Yellow and light blue are my favorite colors, and the charms chosen by Marlene are a great reminder of our call toward greatness.  There's a cross, a heart, and three guardian angels.

Here's my interview with Marlene:

How did Sara's Beads begin?

Our little business began in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a starter bracelet as a gift from one of my 6 daughters for Christmas.  I was amazed at the cost to get more beads to finish my bracelet.  I began to seek out beads in bulk on the internet, and I found that many friends and family were interested in having one of these European-style bracelets also.
As my orders grew, we had to have a name for our activity.  We decided to name it after our daughter Sara, who died in a car accident.  Sara would love this work.

What's been the most challenging aspect of having this business and how did you overcome it?
The most difficult part of the business is making beads presentable so potential buyers can actually construct their own bracelets in a theme of their choice.  We found the most successful way for the buyer to see and choose was to have a "Bead Party"!    The person who has the "Bead Party" is gifted with a bracelet or necklace of their choice.  

Do you have anyone else help you in assembling these bracelets?
In preparation for occasional festivities (like Pentecost, Mother's Day, Easter, and other holidays), we do have a group gathering of ladies who make bracelets, and we sell them at slightly more than cost as a gift for the ladies in our lives who give so much.  We usually sell those at our Church and most of them are actually chaplets.  

What or whom do you think about when you're assembling a bracelet?

The most fun with this is that with each bracelet, I do think of Sara and I also think of the Blessed Mother with the Miraculous Medal.  When she appeared to St. Catherine, she had many jewels on her fingers and some shined brightly, though others did not.   St. Catherine asked  Our Lady why some were so bright and some were not and Our Lady responded saying that those that were so shiny were graces that had been  requested of her.  Those that were not bright were the many graces that no one had requested.   So, each bead is a grace......it is my hope that they will be requested!

How much do you typically charge for a custom bracelet?

A usual bracelet with 10 beads (with at least 4 of those beads being Austrian crystal or Swarovski crystal would usually run just over $30, plus approximately $2 for shipping in the United States.

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If you'd like to purchase a bracelet or chaplet from Sara's Beads, mention this blog to receive 1/3 off the cost.  (This means you can get a $30 custom bracelet for only $20!)  Contact Marlene Middleton at mmm_tobi@yahoo.comThank you, Marlene!