lawrence chau photo
Name: Katherine Flynn
Occupation: Jewelry Designer (Bumblebee designs shown below)
Imbedded with beads. That pretty much sums up designer Katherine Flynn’s hive known as bumblebee jewelry.
And guess what guys — bumblebee’s one-of-a-kind handcrafted necklaces, earrings and bracelets, rings just might have your honey ooh-ing and aah-ing this Valentine’s Day. If nothing tickles your fancy, don’t fret. Flynn will be more than happy to whip up a piece according to your specifications. Best of all, your wallet won’t be stung with a hefty tab.
Most pieces range from $20 to $70, but there are items priced as low as $10 and as high as $240. You can also complement your gift with a hand-sewn heart or XO-beaded card, which costs from $5 upwards.
Flynn says her designs are “delicate, flirty, fresh, elegant and fun” — words that also describe her website, www.beejewelry.ca.
Of catching the design bug, the 34-year-old says, “I went into a bead store one day and that was it. I was mesmerized by all the colours, shapes and cuts, so I bought some and got to work. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.”
A self-taught hobby that started six years ago has, as of last year, blossomed into a full-time business — one that affords her the luxury of setting her own hours and working from her Mount Pleasant Road and Eglinton Avenue East home.
“I’d design jewelry 24/7 if I could, but I usually spend four to seven hours a day making pieces,” says Flynn. “I’m really not happy if I don’t sit down and make something everyday. I don’t go anywhere without my tools and I get antsy if I’m away from my beads for too long.”
An antsy busy bee thanks to a broad demographic of customers aged from five to 85, who not only morph into repeat customers, but also spread the buzz about Flynn to new customers.
Her creativity is also reflected with the diversification of her business. Flynn takes her beads and tools on the road hosting jewelry Tupperware-like parties at people’s homes. She also conducts workshops where people (men included) can design their own pieces. Birthday parties, office functions, schools and bridal showers are just some of the places Flynn frequents with her workshops.
“I also do custom bridal orders. Bridesmaids often have trouble finding nice jewelry to match their colours. I have pretty much every colour under the sun, so they not only get a great match, but they don’t have to settle for any old design,” adds Flynn.
Retail outlets have come knocking to stock bumblebee, but Flynn thinks getting a business partner with a Midas marketing touch makes more sense.
“(That’ll) leave me more time for designing,” explains Flynn. “Designing a piece of jewelry is a complex thing. You’re creating a sculpture, an adornment, an emblem.”
So speaketh the queen bumblebee, who gleefully signs off her e-mails with the catch phrase, “go home or go sparkly.”