The Bead Shop was first established in 1993; the brainchild of Fay Kersh and her husband Harvey.
Leaving behind a successful hairdressing business (Harvey & Rupert) and several hair salons within the North West, Fay and Harvey set about developing a Design and Manufacturing company, producing luxury gifts for large department stores and boutiques (Jenny Kersh Designs). The business was a huge success and took Harvey and Fay all over the world, winning many business awards and even meeting the Queen!
Fay was diagnosed with cancer in 1990 and the pressures of running a large business (not to mention a young family of 4 children), all became too much.
The couple needed another venture. Wracking their heads for ideas, Fay woke up one morning and told the family she had been dreaming about beads; it was from this dream that the bead shop concept was born. The couple began searching car boot sales, charity shops & antique stores for unique pieces of jewellery and interesting components. They made trips to London in search of jewellery wholesalers, browsed catalogues looking for clasps, chains, threads and glues and even chopped up wooden beaded car-seat covers to sell the beads loose in trays. The concept was new, creative and closer to home. It gave the couple the simplicity and security they needed.
Fay sadly passed away in 1995 leaving Harvey with four children to support and a new business to run. Hard times hit the business again in 1996 when the IRA detonated a bomb in Manchester. The Bead Shop (then situated in Manchester's Corn Exchange building) was destroyed by the impact. They needed to relocate quickly and were welcomed by the iconic Afflecks Palace family, where they would remain for 23 years.
Afflecks suited the business perfectly, it was quirky, alternative, and dedicated to supporting small businesses. Throughout the years the shop expanded from a little space on the third floor, to one of the largest units within the building - this larger space enabled them to teach workshops, expand product ranges and really connect with the Manchester craft community. Over the years the business has taken on many incarnations, opening successful shops in Liverpool, Chester & Ibiza. As life circumstances change, we have evolved the company to suit our needs and how now settled in a new office here in Cheetham Hill.
In 2015 Harvey reinvented himself as a successful yoga teacher, passing the responsibility of the business to eldest son Matthew & his partner Kerri. In 2018 after 5 year living in Vietnam working as a web developer, the youngest sibling Josh re-joined the business - always on the lookout for new challenges, Matt & Josh successfully expanded the business once again, selling haberdashery items across other online platforms such as eBay & Amazon.
In March 2020 and after 27 years of face-to-face retail, the team made the difficult decision to close its Afflecks Manchester shop.
With high streets facing an uncertain future, it felt like the right time to move the business forward, becoming a 100% online retailer. The end of an era, but also the start of a new & exciting chapter for the family.
We are always looking for beautiful new products to add to our website and have devoted a lot of time and energy into turning the online store into an Aladdin’s Cave of bead products.
We hope the site offers you a fun and straight forward shopping experience.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story.
With love from The Bead Shop Family. xoxo