Bead Bohemia Celebrates 17 Years in Farmington
Owner Leslie Oglesby's passion for beading started when she was a teenager.
From the window of her Bead Bohemia store in downtown Farmington, Leslie Oglesby can see a place where she spent most of her teenage years.
"I was a candy girl at the Civic," Oglesby says, adding she was also a manager at the Farmington Civic Theater before it was sold to the City of Farmington.
Oglesby spent a lot of time at Yin Yang Beads, located where the Civic box office and restrooms sit now. She took over the business in 1995, when she was just 22 years old.
After the city took over the Civic in 1999, she took a Village Mall space at Grand River and Farmington Road, then in 2007 moved to her current location on the south side of Grand River.
"In high school, I would make little necklaces for my friends," she said. "I've always beaded jewelry, I've just gotten better at it."
Bead Bohemia is best known for its variety of gem strands, but also carries some very unusual items, including "shimmerwing" pendants made from butterfly wings that are collected from the floor of tropical rain forests. In addition to being environmentally conscious, Oglesby said, the pendants provide a source of income for indigenous people in those areas.
Also on the shelves are beads made from Tagua nut, called "vegetable ivory". It is also a product that comes from the Amazon rain forest and sales benefit indigenous people.
Popular items, Oglesby said, are Kumihimo, a very old type of Japanese braid; seed beads, which are tiny and sold in vials; and an epoxy clay that allows creative users to set rhinestones and beads or other items into it. She most enjoys "off-loom bead weaving", a technique that involves weaving seed beads with needle and thread.
Beading has gotten more "mainstream" since the 1990s, which makes the business more challenging, Oglesby said. But she still gets really excited whenever a new shipment of beads arrives and has a passion for her business.
"I live very simply, and I think I've made a lot of sacrifices to do this," she said. "I love it."
Bead Bohemia is located at 33321 Grand River and open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Review the business in our directory, "Like" the business on Facebook or call 248-474-9264 to learn more.