So where did it all begin? Well, it's a journey that started 7 years ago, with ups and downs, a near death experience, a dream and an angel stepping in to help make the dream a reality. Have I piqued your interest yet? Then sit back and let me tell you the story of how Serenity Bead Shop & Studio came to be.
My name is Cathy Voss and my story starts a little over 7 years ago when I first started making jewelry. It quickly turned into a passion for me. I learned to make chainmaille by watching videos, reading books and a lot of trial and error. Soon I became fascinated with other mediums of jewelry making like micro macrame, wire work, leather, kumihimo, polymer clay and so on. I was fortunate enough to have access to fantastic area teachers that furthered my education. Discovering new methods of jewelry making was so enjoyable and I quickly learned that the only limit to your ability is your imagination! And mine can get pretty out there, let me tell you!
One day a member of a local beading group reached out to me and invited me to come to a meeting to check out their group. I was a bit apprehensive at first and almost didn't go. What a mistake that would have been! It was so amazing to meet other like minded people who shared my passion... right in my own area. After lots of encouragement from these new friends and supportive family, my passion quickly turned into developing my own online business. I was sharing my beautiful jewelry with people and life was good. This went on for several years, my business was growing, my jewelry circle of jewelry making friends flourished and thrived, my family was happy and healthy. Then as they say life happens...
In November of 2015 my world came to a screeching halt. My 48 year old husband suffered a stroke. He lost the ability to move his entire right side. Never before had I been so scared. I had almost lost the love of my life, my best friend, and the father of my two children. Thankfully, my husband is amazingly strong and wasn't going to let something like this stop him in any way. After agonizing months of painful and draining physical therapy, he speedily regained his ability to walk and his speech was improved daily. His right hand, though, that was taking longer and the conventional therapy quickly became boring to him.
A friend, who had recently had surgery on her hand, suggested I should have him try jewelry making. It had helped her and might help him too. I thought, oh he will never go for that, but it wouldn't hurt to try. So I asked him to try a couple of different forms and he hated every one! One day on a whim, I said, “Come on let's go out to the garage.” There I showed him a video class on metal smithing by Kim St. Jean, a medium I had yet to try but always wanted. The two of us stayed out there and started making some simple copper bangle bracelets. Things like hammering, bending, drilling holes and riveting. Doing this, he slowly started getting some of the finer motor skills back in his right hand and was enjoying what he was doing. It was amazing, sharing my art with him and having it help him at the same time.
One night during this time I had a dream. I know, I know, I can hear the groans at how cheesy that sounds but it's true! I literally had a dream that I had opened my own bead store and studio. There were all sorts of people there, shopping, taking classes and creating beautiful pieces of work in the working studio space. Others who had had health issues were taking classes and making improvements just like my husband did. It was pretty great, but alas, it was just a dream. I mentioned the dream to my friends in the beading group and we all had fun talking about how great that would be and that I should totally do it. Well at that point, there was no way it was possible for me to do such a thing, so I just put that happy thought into the back of my mind. My husband made an amazing recovery and eventually went back to work. Things were slowly getting back to “normal”. I started back to work with my online store and doing local shows again.
One day after one of our bead meetings, Laura Lee Knopf asked me if I was truly serious about possibly opening a bead store. A few years back, Laura had worked at a local bead store and loved it. It was never a 'job' to her. While working there she discovered how enriching and inspiring it was to work with other creative artists. Unfortunately, the owner put the store up for sale, and without anyone taking it over, it closed. Despite loving the store and wanting to keep it going, the timing wasn't right and Laura couldn't take advantage of the opportunity.
The idea of opening a bead shop, however, never stopped crossing her mind, but with limited background in business and with the uncertainty of venturing into the unknown alone, momentum was against her. Years later, after hearing me talk about my dream, motivation kicked in with Laura. She realized now was the perfect time, so she approached me about it. Initially we thought it crazy, this dream... but the more we thought about it and the more we talked about it, the more we began to realize we could actually DO THIS together. The dream I had could come true!
After many months of hard work, research, classes with the local SBA, sweat and tears, here we are! We have both worked very hard to make this store become our dream. We want to share our passion with others, provide them with the fuel to feed their imagination, provide the tools to create beautiful jewelry and in turn inspire others.
Thank you to all our friends and family that helped us along this crazy journey! Without the love and support of our spouses, Jon and Rob, we wouldn't have been able to do this. Special thanks go out to Linda Pence, from the former Your Beading Heart, for all her advice on navigating these waters of owning and running our own bead shop.
And if you stayed with us and read this all the way to the end we want to thank you too! We will do our very best to make our store and studio everything you want and more!
Dreams can come true!
Cathy and Laura