We’ve loved working on our children’s jewellery making kits since their launch at the Autumn NEC fair all the way back in September 2011, we’ve had a packaging relaunch along the way and we’re now moving onto the next chapter of their journey with a new name! Welcome Pipkits!!
Our kits haven’t changed they’re still the same great quality, manufactured in Huddersfield in the lovely Pennine hills of West Yorkshire. We’ve relaunched our Sherbets kits and Berries Bracelet Kits into cans and we introduced the Berries Trio last year at Top Drawer in September 2014.
We’re getting ready for our next launch in the next few weeks!! So life is all go here at Pipkits and with our new brand name we’re poised for the next few years!
If you’re new to our kits here’s a little intro for you:
We created a range of children’s jewellery making kits in 2011 after noticing a gap in the market for quality jewellery making kits for children. Our kits contain all the components needed to make the jewellery including tools where required, they teach real jewellery making techniques and the jewellery is designed to last. Full colour instructions are included and all of this comes in gorgeous colourful reusable packaging. Most of our kits make more than one piece of jewellery so you can Make, Wear & Share your jewellery designs with your nearest & dearest. So far they’ve had the thumbs up from lots of creative kids!
Below: Pipkits Berries Trio in Raspberry, creates a beaded bracelet, friendship bracelet and bag charm in a reusable keepsake can RRP £15.99
I started this blog over 18 months ago, sorry there hasn’t been any action on here since then. For those who don’t know in that time I’ve had a donor stem cell transplant, the good news is it did what it was supposed to do & the other good news I’m back at work and we’ve lots going on!
We’ve a new bumper mailout winging its way to you, that’s if you’ve not yet received it. We’ve ventured into some new areas of jewellery design including Silver Art Clay, Chain Maille, Griffin Silks, Resins and of course we’ve added new plated & Sterling silver findings to our existing catalogue!
Our challenge to you! Design a piece of jewellery using at least one item from our new Winter 2015 mailout, post this on our Burhouse Beads facebook page for a chance to win a £50 Burhouse Beads voucher! Ends 28/02/2015
If you’ve not yet seen our mailout it can be viewed here http://issuu.com/burhousebeads/docs/winter_2015_mailout_issuu
All items are available here http://www.burhousebeads.com/winter-2015/c947
We’d love to see what you can make!
We’ve launched another couple of kits this week, well they are finally in stock and winging their way to customers. Many who ordered at the Spring NEC. Based on our best selling friendship bracelet can, which really is best selling, it’s sales are fantastic! These new additions are based on the brights neon trend and hearts & pink which in my experience always sell!
The background to Pippin Kits is quite a story. But I’ve generally kept it quiet, although everyone around me is very aware of it! In the summer of 2011 we visited a friends chalet near lake Geneva. The village had nothing in it, but 15 minutes down the hill was Evian, with a 1 year old and 4 year old in tow we ended up in a little toy shop in Evian selling lovely European branded toys in gorgeous reusable packaging. My husband Andy had often commented that we were missing something in jewellery kits with the knowledge we had! Things clicked and I got home and set about putting all the pieces together. Where’s the story you’re probably wondering??
We took 4 kits to the NEC and had a great response, picking up John Lewis at our first show!
However something was not quite right with me! My health had not been right since I’d had my daughter in 2010. We rushed to get the kits into production and managed good sales in the last 6 weeks of 2011.
Unfortunately in the new year my issues came to an abrupt head with the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma! 6 months of chemo but a good prognosis was what we were told to expect! The first months of chemo were hard, but we managed to add the Surfers can, Berries, Sherbets and Rainbow Brights. With a fantastic team at Burhouse Beads we have enjoyed playing, designing and promoting our little brand.
My story hasn’t been so simple, but by the end of 2012 I was nearly there and awaited an allograft (donor stem cell transplant) at Jimmy’s. This was due to be this April, although I’ve had a few stumbling blocks and now need some radiotherapy to reach my allograft in August, fingers crossed.
More recently we have rebranded the kits, added some more kits, we have friendship necklace cans in the pipeline and an amazing new website.
But Pippin has been a wonderful distraction throughout a difficult time! So my determination to launch this properly is fired by a whole story of its own!!
One of the main product lines we have sold for years are plated stampings. These beautiful components take a glued cabochon or other embellishment and make sturdy quality jewellery.
We stock a wide range of gemstone, shell and glass cabochons and appropriate glues. But over the years we’ve added to this range where possible the latest was glass millefiori cabochons.
We’ve also frequently added to the stamping designs. Our latest addition is child sized bangles, these could also be used by adults with thinner wrists, they fit me!
Our existing pendants match these designs and we’ve now got a lovely range of earwires and ear studs to match.
Maybe we’re known for these, as its something we’ve specialised in since the 70’s. But if you’ve not tried them yet, maybe it’s time?
If you’re anything like me, there’s something very appealing about sterling silver (STS) findings. Like the known magpie effect, I think many beaders are just drawn to the shiny beads and will find their bead stocks overflowing with components and findings bought with no specific idea of what they will do with them.
Anyway this used to be the case for me, then the cost of silver started to rise. The rise in silver prices has definitely had an effect on what people are buying and styles of jewellery being produced.
The nice thing is you can still design with sterling silver with careful planning using lower priced findings. Our primary market has always been to supply basic findings earwires, headpins, trigger clasps etc. We now find ourselves retreating back to basic findings and sourcing better value lines.
Recently whilst reviewing stocks we realised our chain selection was looking pretty sparse, previously reasonably priced chains had shot through the roof and lost popularity so had been sidelined, but with no replacements. So we set off to source some affordable ones, luckily our chain suppliers were also on the same wavelength, so we bring you a fantastic new range of high quality Italian chains but low in price, we have a great range under £5.
The basic behind many necklaces and bracelets is a beading technique using beading wire and crimp. We’ve stocked Acculon for many years, this is a basic tiger tail beading wire which is great for cheap and cheerful but has a tendency to kink if not laid out and stored correctly. We spent a good amount of time researching the more expensive beading wires and our personal favourite was Beadalon and we’ve stocked this for a good number of years now to know that our customers seem to feel the same too. The 49 strand is the best quality, lower strands are cheaper and still great quality. But for top range jewellery it’s wise to buy top line beading wire. Gemstone work tends to sit best on .018, whilst pearls work well with .015.
The next hurdle is how to crimp, the old method was to use a seamless crimp bead which could be squashed flat with flat nose pliers after looping through your end fastening.
Then came the advent of crimping pliers, where a tube could be crimped into a tight tube.
This could then be covered by a bead with a large enough hole or a crimp cover
Then more recently crimps have appeared where the loop is within the crimp and you can crimp a point within the finding. Although we tend to use these more with larger gauge stringing materials such as cord or silver tubing.
It seems the market for crimp continues to develop. We’d be interested to hear of others favourite crimping supplies and styles. Personally I favour a 2x2mm tube and a good pair of crimping pliers!
Our products sit in a little niche market of craft jewellery making. Generally it is jewellery that can be made with dry techniques, wire working and a bit of glue thrown in! Making it absolutely perfect for beginners, but also it can be developed into a fine art!
For those with a love of craft it’s a perfect hobby and many turn it into a career! These are just my insights, we supply many customers and I can honestly say not one of our customers overlap with another, everyone adds there own unique take on this market.
I hope our existing customers don’t take offence at the hints and tips on this blog, but everyone learns their own way and it maybe we have a component or two that make absolutely no sense to you and hopefully I can educate and inspire the use of more of these strange findings!