How to Choose An African Bead Supplier You Can Trust

by African Beads on July 15, 2013

I’m no stranger to less-than-honest African bead suppliers. In fact, such are the experiences I’ve had buying trade beads online, I now only buy from one or two reputable sellers. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a few tips to help you choose a bead supplier you can trust – and help you avoid making the same costly mistakes I did!

1. Is Your Supplier An Established Entity?

A trustworthy supplier is omnipresent. They’ve made efforts to improve brand reputation and authority with consistent interactivity with customers on social media sites, and by developing a knowledge center or blog to educate customers. Mentions on multiple well established blogs and forums can also be indicative of how trusted they are by jewelry designers/ collectors.

2. A Website Speaks Volumes

It’s surprisingly easy to distinguish reputable sellers from those looking to make a fast buck by examining their websites. A company looking to establish a reputation long-term will often invest heavily in their website, making it content rich, socially accessible (by linking Twitter and Facebook), and easy to navigate.

3. Are They Forthcoming With Information and Answers?

Many suppliers will attest to having close rapports with bead artists in Ghana and Ethiopia, but are rarely forthcoming about the origins of your beads. This in itself is a red light. Then there are those who profess to sell fair trade beads, but do not supply information about what fair trade initiatives they support or are affiliated with. Look for signs of affiliation, and ask questions before making any purchases. If the company omits to provide answers or information you have requested, chances are their products aren’t what they appear to be.

4. Do They Sell Beads Singly, or By the Strand?

Fledgling suppliers who have relatively few overheads often resell African trade beads singly because they yield a far greater profit than when sold by the strand. At least, that’s the theory. In actual fact, selling at wholesale prices significantly decreases the profit margin of the supplier the more beads are bought (because of wholesale discounts), so it’s actually more profitable to sell them by the strand if they can obtain them in quantitative supply. Access to a vast and constant supply also means its likely the supplier has developed a good rapport with artisans in Africa!

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  • Munmun Nishi

    Awesome post!

    Reading this site has been a enjoyable experience.Excellent blog and great information too.I am glad that I came to this page.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this article.
    Munmun Nishi
    Ghana Beads “

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