Local Produce: By Grace Beads

Local Produce: By Grace Beads

If you’re looking for some fun and fresh accessories, then By Grace Beads is your saving grace. Critic caught up with Madaleine, the creator behind this cute handmade jewellery business to find out how she came up with the idea, and what her creative process is.

Madaleine is in her second year of Communication Studies, with a minor in Sports Development and Management. She began making beaded jewellery for herself during high school. Her friends’ support encouraged Madaleine to transform her crafty skills into a business. “A lot of my friends were like ‘Ooh can you make me one?’ so I made a business out of it,” she said. 

Madaleine’s range of funky necklaces, bracelets and anklets aren’t only made of beads but also freshwater pearls, gemstones, charms and even shells. They are the perfect complement to Dunedin’s surfy spirit. “I get a lot of inspiration from things around me. My collections so far have been ‘ocean’, ‘zodiac signs’, [and] ‘colours’…It’s a lot to do with my surroundings at the time.” Madaleine is a Scorpio herself which makes a lot of sense considering her fierce entrepreneurial streak.

Of all the pieces Madaleine has created, her favourites are those she’s made with irregular pearls. “They’re just so cute and match with everything.” In sourcing beads, Madaleine is resourceful and often takes a sustainable approach by finding materials in secondhand shops. “If I find a necklace there that’s got cool beads on it but I don’t necessarily like the necklace, I’ll just repurpose them.”

Crafting a sweet range of jewellery takes time. Madaleine spends at least an hour each day working on new pieces, sometimes even secretly beading during Zoom lectures. Now that she’s flatting, the support from her friends has evolved into flat beading sessions and photoshoots for By Grace Beads’ socials.

Right now Madaleine’s main focus for By Grace Beads is to become more involved with Ōtepoti’s jewellery making community and eventually make connections with local retailers. “It would definitely be cool to be involved with a wholesale, like sell my jewellery to other small businesses that have shops in Dunedin.” 

Critic asked Madaleine for her best advice to anyone starting their own small business. “I keep a diary and I have everything written in that from what people bought, how much it was, [to] how much I’m spending each month…You want to keep track so that you can make goals and adjust your pricing, that sort of thing.” More than anything else though, Madeleine says to always treat it as a mode of personal expression. “Just have fun. Make unique pieces that you want to make, even if you haven’t seen them done before. There’s a market for everything.”

To get your hands on some of the By Grace Beads line as well as keep up with upcoming drops, details on custom designs and where you can spot the next By Grace Beads stall, be sure to follow Madaleine at @bygracebeads on Instagram. 

This article first appeared in Issue 5, 2022.
Posted 6:06pm Sunday 27th March 2022 by Jamiema Lorimer .