The Biz Beat: Stringing together creations at Ballston Spa’s A Bead Just So

A Bead Just So owner Kate Fryer inside her store on Milton Ave, celebrating her 10th year recently
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A Bead Just So owner Kate Fryer inside her store on Milton Ave, celebrating her 10th year recently

BALLSTON SPA – The sparkling and colorful beads hanging along the walls of A Bead Just So in Ballston Spa are hard to miss as you walk in the store along Milton Avenue.

But the beads might not be the only thing that interests you at the store which turns 10 in June 2023. There are tons of charms like cameras, soccer balls and crosses that someone can add to their beadwork creation. 

One of the more trendy items is polymer heishi beads, said owner Kate Fryer. 

“They’ve been really popular for the last couple years and I don’t see them going anywhere,” she said. 

Fryer went to her first bead store when she was 12–Saratoga Beads. 

“I fell in love with it,” she said. “So any time I could get a ride there with my allowance money I was at the bead store making something.”

When she turned 18, Fryer got a job at the bead shop and worked there on and off for around eight years. 

“I had been mostly self taught,” Fyer said. “My mom knew I was really interested so she got me books and supplies and tools and all that stuff and I kind of ran with it. Then when I got the job Linda Schrade, the owner, she fine-tuned my skills.”

When Schrade retired Fryer bought her client list and the customers followed her to Ballston Spa. 

 

8 photos

A Bead Just So owner Kate Fryer ERICA MILLER/ DAILY GAZETTE
ERICA MILLER/ DAILY GAZETTE
A Bead Just So owner Kate Fryer ERICA MILLER/ DAILY GAZETTE
A Bead Just So owner Kate Fryer ERICA MILLER/ DAILY GAZETTE
ERICA MILLER/ DAILY GAZETTE
ERICA MILLER/ DAILY GAZETTE
ERICA MILLER/ DAILY GAZETTE
A Bead Just So owner Kate Fryer ERICA MILLER/ DAILY GAZETTE

“Ballston Spa is home,” she said. “I grew up here, so I’m thrilled to be part of a community where I grew up.”

Fryer said it’s been great seeing the business organically grow and make it through a challenging time like the pandemic when she had to pivot and find new ways to keep her store open. 

During that time Fryer started a YouTube channel on bead making and it remains popular, she said. 

She also came up with bead making kits. 

“Everybody wanted something to do with their kids,” she said.

Those kits have remained popular. 

But Fryer is happy to have people back in the store participating in classes she offers or in the drop-in session to learn how to make something.

Fryer said anything can provide inspiration for a new bead design. 

“Sometimes I see something and go ‘oh I can recreate that and make that my own’ or sometimes I see a bead and it just clicks and from the bead I see a whole design of an earring or a necklace,” she said. 

The best part about bead making is that it’s unique to everyone. 

“You can make it your own–that’s the fun part,” she said. “You’re not going to have the same earrings as everyone else you know, they’re going to be different.”

It’s also a soothing process. 

“The comment I get the most when people are sitting at my table beading is ‘wow this is really relaxing and therapeutic,’” she said. “People don’t expect it to be.” 

She said that choosing what project to do and picking the beads can be one of the hardest parts. 

“But when you sit down and you actually start making your project, stringing your beads, constructing it’s very relaxing and you’re able to just shut your brain off,” she said.

And while the pandemic is over, Fryer said bead making has remained popular. 

“Everybody wears jewelry and everybody likes sparkles,” she said. “Everybody has an inner crow or magpie that just is so drawn to sparkly things.”

“The Biz Beat…” is a weekly profile on a local business. Anyone with suggestions on businesses to feature please email [email protected]

Categories: News, News, Saratoga County, Saratoga Springs

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