Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Origins of Pixybug Designs...

We are often asked questions about our business when people find out what we do in our "FREE" time.  I thought you might like to hear the story of how Pixybug Designs came to be.

Where did the name "Pixybug" come from?
From the time we welcomed Mina into our lives, we have called her "Twiddlebug" from the tiny bugs that were friends with Ernie on Sesame Street.
Since we didn't want to be sued by Sesame Street, we kept the "bug" and I love fairies and all things magical and mystical, so we added "Pixy" to the "bug" and there we had our name.  We are often called the "PIXYBUGS" which we have become accustomed to and as long as people recognize us and our business that is all that matters!

How did you get started with your business?
Chris gave me an ultimatum in 2007.  "Either start selling what you make, or stop buying beads!"  Well, by then I had been beading quite a while so I was thoroughly addicted to beads and it seemed cruel to cut the tie to something that gives me so much pleasure, an artistic outlet, and a hobby.  So I started blogging in March (here is my first post) and started our business on April 4, 2007 (the day I got my sales tax number from Nebraska in the mail).  Chris and Mina were rather surprised that I took that step, but pleased too.  In July of 2007, Chris had the opportunity to take a lampworking class in Grand Island at a glass store.  It was my turn to issue the ultimatum~ "If I am going to do this, then so are you!".  It was obvious to me from those very first beads, he had a talent for it.  (As a lab geek, he has melted and sculpted pipettes since high school, so this wasn't much of a stretch!)

Where did your Pixy come from?

In 2007, one of Chris's college roommates lost his battle with cancer.  Kevin had suffered and struggled with it for several years, but succumbed to it in July of that year.   His funeral brought most of our college gang back together to find where we had been, what we had been doing, and to meet each others' kids.  Our friend Doug, a talented artist of many mediums, who is currently one of the department heads for art in the Omaha Public Schools, was a perfect fit for designing our icon for Pixybug Designs.  He listened to what I was looking for, and using his oldest daughter, Kieran, as a model, drew our fairy.

Your daughter must be excited to have all those beads and jewelry around!
Uh, NO.  Mina is pretty disconnected from the business and is happy to be old enough to stay at home, instead of having to tag along to shows.  We are often glad for this too, because sulky, cranky teens don't help with sales!  That being said, Mina is following in her father's artistic steps, and is quite talented at working "the flame".  She struggles with making beads, but is a natural at making marbles!  How many teens can say that?!  Not only is she a natural, but she is an award winning marble artist!  Mina won a Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Key for a dichroic marble she made during Christmas break.  Of 1700 Nebraska Jr. and Sr. High art entries, THIRTEEN were given keys, and Mina was among them.  Her marble was sent on to the National level, but did not win at that level.  We couldn't be more proud of her though.  She is a beautiful, goofy, talented girl, and we couldn't ask for anything more!  (No pride there, huh?!)

Do you do this full-time? 
Uh, NO.  Chris and I both have 3 jobs each.  He is a full-time lab tech in the Nutrition unit for the Meat Animal Research Center, works part-time at Ken & Al's (the gas station I work for) in the convenience store, and is Chief Bead Maker, Car Packer, Chauffeur, Farmers Market Sales Rep, and Equipment Schlepping Officer for Pixybug Designs.   I work full-time at Ken & Al's Service (a small, local chain of gas stations/convenience stores) as a bookkeeper and C-Store manager.  I work part-time (Thursdays and Saturdays) at Julie's Xpression's in Hastings helping with the beads.  I am CEO, Promoter, Head of Blogging, Bookkeeper, and Chief Jewelry Designer for Pixybug Designs. We also have a thirteen soon to be fourteen year old daughter, so yes there is barely enough time for sleep with all those titles attached to our names!

Where do you sell your beads and jewelry?
We have several locations for selling.  Marbles and Jewelry can be found at Graham Gallery in downtown Hastings, NE.  Chris sells his beads and buttons at Julie's Xpressions and Imagiknit also in Hastings. We do the Omaha Bead Show in April and the Lincoln Bead Show in October.  We have added the Grand Island Bead Show this year (April 1 and 2) and will be at Flatwater Festival and Harvest Festival at Prairie Loft in  June and October.  We will be at the Geneva Art on the Green July 2 and at the Highland Park Farmers Market in Hastings every Saturday (unless something comes up) from June to October.  The first Saturday of December is the Blue Hill Holiday Bazaar, and we are featured in the Graham Gallery Holiday Showcase in December.  Exhausting, huh!  We also have an Etsy store and we GLADLY do special orders.  We love the stories behind what we are asked to make.
So do you have any questions?  Just drop us a line in the comments and we will be happy to answer it for you!


The Folk Art Tree said...

Good gravy, woman! You are one busy lady! Thanks for sharing the Pixybug story! It is always fascinating to see how a business evolved. I love that your husband is just as involved as you are! May it be a prosperous 2011 for you! Pam

soozie said...

❤ !!!! Loved this !!!

Carla said...

I'm sooooo happy for you! So fun to see people doing what they love to do--and obviously you work hard and have a lot of talent too! Wishing Pixybug an awesome 2011 show season!

Pixybug Designs said...

Thanks Gals! We always say "it keeps us out of the bars"! It is always fun to hear the story behind things! Thanks Carla for all your help in our story!

The Critter Company said...

What a great post!

Lisa said...

I came to visit to see what you made in the Bead Soup Party, but was entertained first with your story of starting your business! Love your story! I'm finishing up looking at all the entries in the 'soup' party. I'm also your newest follower. Have a great weekend!

Pixybug Designs said...

Thanks Lisa! That is wonderful! It is fun to share our story, and read others! The bead soup party was SO MUCH FUN!!! Thanks for following!

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