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Find Far Eastern treasures in Monty’s Aladdin’s cave
STEPPING into Monty’s Beads is like entering an Aladdin’s cave. Rows and rows, boxes upon boxes of semi-precious stones, pearls and crystals in every colour you could possibly think of are on offer, along with everything you need to create your own bespoke jewellery.
Four years after it opened, the Trinity Street business, owned by Andrew Pollard, has recently undergone a name change and re-branding.
It is constantly looking at ways it can diversify and survive what is a worrying time for independent ventures.
What sets Monty’s apart is its choice and quality of beads, which are personally sourced by Andrew from his travels to the Far East.
He explains he began bringing back pearls and other beads almost ten years ago.
He says: “I was travelling in China and I was finding pearls which were of great quality and started to import a few and that quickly became quite a lot because there was such a demand for it.”
A shop in London’s Carnaby Street followed, along with plans to launch a second in Cambridge.
“We got quite a long way along the road with that before the other people changed their mind and it fell through. We had a girl working for us from Colchester who suggested the town and it went from there really.”
The shop in Carnaby Street has shut, but the business has branched out into travelling the country to attend bead fairs and has a number of concession stands in larger shops.
Manager Steph De Beaufort joined about a year ago and has taken over the general running of the shop and its hugely-popular jewellery making masterclasses.
Customers can have their jewellery repaired or altered or even have an item made up to go with a special outfit.
She says: “We have a lot of bridal parties, mothers of the bride in particular, who will come in with their dress and shoes and want something in a specific colour made up. Or a bride wants something to go with bridesmaid dresses and within a couple of days, we will create something for them.”
People on the beginners sessions learn to make two bracelets and two necklaces as part of the £25 fee, while there are also classes for more advanced jewellery makers. Steph, herself a hugely skilled jewellery maker, is introducing a tiaras and fascinators session, due to popular demand.
She explains the shop, and its classes are popular with both professionals and amateur makers.
“The tiaras and fascinators class has been popular with florists. They want to learn how to use the wire wrapping to put jewels into bouquets and on to tiaras.
“We find that teaching people has a good knock-on effect for business. They will often love it so much, it turns into a hobby and they are regularly in here looking for the items they need.
“Many start their own internet businesses from home and, become good customers.”
Andrew adds: “Everything is chosen by us. We go to the different countries and choose the pearls ourselves and people like that, they know what they are getting.
“We have customers who especially make the trip from Norway and from Scotland.”
For more, go to www.montys beads.com