Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bead and Jewelry Magazine

To all Beaders and Readers,

2016 would  of been the 91st anniversary of  My family's business. Nonetheless, it is the 91st a Bookstein has been in the bead business. Like a family tree, the roots of bead history has numerous branches. It's up to today's Beader or Purveyor of..... To thread the needle, connect the dots and string the bits of beady facts, fiction and facets together. Generations, A Company and a life of a bead all deal with unpredictable forces, yet they all learn from that adversity. Companies adapt modern technologies to increase efficiencies, people consume based on trends, fashion or economic, and beads evolve as well. Today's:  coatings, colors and shapes have all developed in response to some event. Your collection of baubles tells us about your history, your lineage , your design process, and maybe even the fate of One elusive bead.

The distribution of beady knowledge would not be complete without beady friends, publications and social media. I wrote an article about my history in this wonderful industry in Bead magazine, 
http://www.beadmagazine.co.uk/ edition 67. I invite you to take part in my journey , and I hope to Enlighten the mysteries of your favorite baubles. 

Here is a link to my article:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxcc3umKr4zwaWV1cnJTVWRaS0U/view?ts=5661e8c2

Thank You and happy holidays!


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Looking For Love.......

Hi All,

"Lookin' for love in all the wrong places, Lookin' for love in too many faces" , a lyric from the movie Urban Cowboy.  I do live in a big city , and at times like to think I am a bit of a renegade, but like everyone else I am lookin' ......... The word love here, and on Facebook and any social media outlet perhaps means Respect, A Voice, A Ear or just a platform . Are we selling something, educating, letting off steam or touting our favorite music or Sports team, it is different for everyone and is our right! What we put in our newsfeed is how we are judged by many, because we live so far apart and this is the only way we can be neighbors. Regardless of what words we choose and how often we do post, our words are a powerful vehicle.

As powerful as words are, and as I am doing right now therapeutic, there really is nothing like a one to one heartfelt conversation with someone. Many of us have a chance to meet at trade shows , perhaps share a coffee, some rarely get that privilege and get to know one another by instant message, maybe a Skype, frankly, and maybe it is just me, I do not know why people don't pick up the phone more often. Are we really that bogged down by social media, by hearing a person's voice and expressions and even gestures, gives one so much more depth than a text. 

This week was an interesting one for me. I worked, stayed home out of respect of my Jewish heritage for Yom Kippur the day of atonement , and my soon to be fourteen year old son touched the Pope's hand. I did not want to post this occurrence on Facebook, as we found pictures of my son smiling, amongst a crowd of fanatics, all over the Internet. This was a moment for family, and our journey, and I did share this with a select few and even picked up the phone.

I can remember, now years ago, a friend telling me the value of Facebook. I said it does not seem for me, now years later and after many changes and beads slung, the most valued aspect of social media, to me, has been meeting artists, business owners, sports fans and bead lovers. I have gotten to know a few or many through instant message, often due to intriguing Facebook posts. There is nothing like learning about what makes someone tick. Respecting that privilege they shared with you, and perhaps understanding them better.  Next time you " turn to a stranger just like a friend", grasp the power your words may have on them. It's your news, but how it is interpreted is not. 


Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Beadsmith


When I started out at York Beads in 1987 it was the end of the roaring garment district age.  The district and my section of 37th street had businesses that fed off of one another.  Garment manufacturing created an accessory district which begat rhinestone trim and bead suppliers like York.  There were many opportunities – the Internet age had not yet arrived and steady trading amongst importers still existed.

York Beads had a salesman, Hyman Kauff, affectionately known as Hy.  Although Hy had closed his own business (Hollander Bead) before joining York, his ties to the industry did not change.  His luncheons with the same men, also business owners, were a constant and he was accepted by his peers.  Becoming a York Salesman kept Hy in the industry he knew and loved.  Hyman liked the ladies, the meet and greet, and the chance for a sale.  Regardless of his position, his customers called his name.  I, Perry, PBeads, have fallen under the same spell.  I am a Bead Man and I want to thank everyone in my life – my family, suppliers, employees, and most importantly My Customers.  

History may repeat itself even in the smallest of venues.  Economics, logistics and technology are greater than any one of us.  Although I could sell coffee beans or plastics, I am a Bead Man.  One of my recent quips has been “before there were Mad Men there were Bead Men”.  When news got out that York was closing I immediately received a call.  It was Larry Weiss of The Beadsmith.  I was never one to over-analyze – being a third generation Bead Man was a blessing and much of the way was paved for me.  Larry started out of his garage from scratch.  Today Beadsmith is an industry leader and I am honored that he called.  I believe my "Bead Stylings" and I can fit into their model, regardless of never having the title of salesman.  The goal of distributing Beadsmith brand products to the world is exciting.

The Beadsmith now has a number of second generation family members at the helm.  I have corresponded mostly with Avi Weiss.  One term he often refers to in his emails is “Team”.  Decisions are not just made; they are discussed, pondered and analyzed.  Avi has shared my emails with Larry, Steven, Ronnie, and Robin, who in turn have discussed the matters at hand with their Czech partners.  In baseball, the ball goes “around the horn”.  In Cateret, New Jersey, the bead bounces from ear to ear with the world watching from the stands.  I look forward to the power of the Team.

In today’s virtual world relationships can become fragmented.  In our industry, these relationships are Bead Bonds and they can be forged through email, text or instant message, on Facebook, in a store, or at a trade show.  They can be between stores and customers, designers and clients, wholesalers and manufacturers.  All it takes is that one connection and a Bead Bond is born.  I remember visiting my first California bead shop and I’ll never forget the owner saying, “What would a bead store do without The Beadsmith?”  That sentiment is a result of the Team philosophy and the Bead Bonds it creates.

I remember Hy Kauff and I am sure his customers do, too.  I would love for York Beads to be remembered fondly.  And, I hope that the Bead Bonds I have built over the years will endure this change.  I am proud that I still have the opportunity to serve you and I welcome you to come visit this bead man and the team at The Beadsmith.

With Gratitude,

Friday, January 9, 2015


Beadwork By Kerrie Slade

Hi Planet Bead,

  Thanks for all your support. We are closing the doors Jan31 and we are trying to keep the doors open to our store through the last day. We are offering what I termed as 'Woot" Boxes ( a lot of bead loot) in two sizes, 8 kilo worth or two shoe boxes for $250 with shipping $285 international and $425 with shipping for 16 kilo or four shoe boxes, $500 international. There are pictures of "Woot" Joy on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBeads and consider them memories of YORK , premium seed, fire polish and pressed beads imported over last 20 years. Also, a free pattern by Melissa Grakowsky featuring Antique Beads and superduos will be sent to you with purchase. Thanks Melissa and all the other amazing bead talent that I have had the pleasure to deal with through www.yorkbeads.com 


Thursday, November 20, 2014

End of an Era.

As a third generation " Bead Man" , like in any family business, one wants to make the past generations Proud. Since I walked through the YORK doors post-university, legacy and commitment have been important. There have been many changes :  The Wall came down, 9/11, and the explosion of the Internet. Amongst all these changes and the fact that I was just a business major, not a jeweler or artist or collector by any means, I felt the need to reinvent myself, and the company.

I am very awestruck reading bead history books. Many sample cards that have been published in print are from companies that no longer exist. The Great Depression alone wiped out a generation of different bead families. World War II brought new opportunities and one was the growth of York Novelty Import, which had been established several years earlier on December 9, 1924.

It saddens me to tell you that York Novelty Import, Inc. and www.yorkbeads.com will be closing shortly. One of our staff members, Kelly Stevenson, has been with us for 29 years. Like myself, he has seen the changes in the garment/accessory district from its most bustling to today where hotels and coffee shops dominate the atmosphere.

When you have been in business this long, "family" offers different meanings. The York family is our customers who had us ear-marked as a destination, the artists and Jewelry designers we have been so fortunate to work with and see flourish, and the faces that have walked through our door daily. It is our employees, who, on average, have been with us for over fifteen years. Marjorie and Mary greeting you at the door, Kumar first too arrive, and Alfred sending you our newsletters. I want to thank them for their service, hard work, and dedication.

This Thanksgiving week, in honor of our ninetieth anniversary we are welcoming world renowned beading artist Helena Tang Lim with old-time York customers like Marg Yama and Jennifer Chasalow VanBenschoten in attendance. As much as it has been about the beads and finances, it's nice to know that York will end as it began, with family.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

90th Year

www.yorkbeads.com is really or legally York Novelty Import, Inc. We were Establish Dec 9, 1924 by Boris Weisman and Sol Bookstein. I started coming here as a Child, putting wood beads in a bag ,  packaging for Woolworth. I was fed Twinkies by the workers, I loved coming Xmas time where we had our
own Christmas tree kit and ornaments which we used to sell. I have seen power tools, Yo-yo's and more come through this place, and as a teenager I got enthralled with the beauty and myths of African trade beads. There was something about those beads.

Dad used to ask me to quiz him about the different beads, like baseball card statistics , he knew the color numbers and origins. We were not just Czech Beads at the time, we sold West German and Japanese glass and plastic, shell and pearl from the Philippines and much more. We were always known for Czech Glass and was a distributor since post World War II.  One of the few vendors whom visited us and we them.

Getting Ready for our Ninetieth anniversary we thought we would put some beads on sale. Most cover the last two decades of Importing from Czech Republic,  from Gemstone Fire Polish to seed beads but a few hints of the popular items today like Aged Stripes, Spikes and Magnet Clasps. You can even strike a bargain on some gold plated beads. Hope you enjoy and take advantage of them and note the quality and history behind them.

Best Regards,


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Skyscraper to Skyscraper

A follow to my article, page 32 of the current August 2014 Bead and Button: 

 I mentioned jobbing. A popular term in the eighties, jobbing is comparable to out-sourcing. Jobbing is procuring an item that you did not import to satisfy customer demands. I imagine Amazon or Ebay can be considered a conduit to this phenomenon. In the 80's and prior, manufacturers just had neither the time nor Google desktop to find that missing bead or rhinestone.  The city was our own personal marketplace or year-round bead show. We imported more than just Czechoslovakian glass beads: we had merchandise from Taiwan, West Germany,  Japan, the Philippines , India as well as domestic items, many from Providence, Rhode Island. Having this collection, and being in a big city can bring you many other requests. "Do you have SS20 crystal AB Rhinestones, Kidney Ear Wire, or maybe a 12/0 Three Cut in Opaque Gray? Companies had beads outside their specialty stranded in boxes.

These were the days where we let our "fingers do the walking", Yellow Pages were like our Bibles and you could go to the Directory of each Skyscraper lobby in the garment district  and discover a specialty Importer.  Having a store front was Great, but that hinted at the term "retailer". If you worked on the Sixteenth floor, and were willing to brave the elevator situation, you could find that Swarovski dealer of choice.

Or if you picked up the phone you may have 100 mass of 3mm Black Fire Polish at your door step much quicker than UPS or JABLONEX could deliver. Even African Trade Beads were a phone call away in Harlem.

These Skyscrappers in the garment district were like personal department stores. There were whole floors  of beady merchandise hidden from the street level eyes, much more exclusive than your favorite URL.

I  have studied bead history books, and I've noticed many New York-based importers from the 1920's and pre-WWII credited for importing that trendy "bead of the moment". Yet after the depression and the war, all of these companies disappeared. A new crop of bead import company sprouted up during this time, of which York Beads is one.

But when i was a "kid" ( just out college), there were importer names such as Sheru Bead, Morris Berger, Di-Mar Imports, Elliot Greene, Wall Bead, Eric and K Gottfried, and Wepra, Ruben Bead. Many of these companies were never well know to the public, as were not retail store fronts, but they were the hidden treasure chests of the New York Skyline. Names with change, syllables and all, but thebeads will not.

On My last Visit to CJS, which is also on an UPPER floor not meant for the Public, I noticed this box of stones in envelopes. While I am not a stone person, i am a vintage Person, and i noticed that these packages marked "K.S. & co.", and "Made in Austria", both signs of Vintage. One Stamped N.Levy Corporation, another name I  have never heard of, and were out of Providence in the same box of Morris Berger goodies. I have always said that beads leave a trail: Memories, markings and for some, a maddening mining march!