In celebration of beads and other things beautiful

Seller: Cali Craft and Gems
Name: Janet Belstead

Besides a variety of beads, bidorbuy seller Cali Craft and Gems supplies crystals, minerals, gemstones and jewellery.

Cali Craft and Gems started off as a part-time hobby, selling suncatchers at flea markets in Port Elizabeth. For those who do not know, suncatchers are objects made out of glass and other shiny materials. Hung in the window, in direct sunlight, they catch the sun’s rays and spread them throughout the room. Depending on the materials and the shape of the suncatcher, the end result can be a glimmer of light here and there dancing on the walls, or the full spectre of rainbow “captured” in your room.

For our suncatchers, we used a variety of beads to create interesting effects. We soon found out that the customers often wanted to purchase only the beads. As a result, we started stocking a wide variety of beads and beading products.

Within our first year of trading, I was given a raw crystal point by a relative and told to “do some homework”. Well, need I say more. Almost immediately I went on my first rock-hunting shopping spree. I loved every minute of it. There was – and still is – such a wealth on offer! All I had to do was acquire some, and then acquire some more, in order to sell to my customers – and add not a small number to my never-ending private collection. I can not resist beautiful objects. That is why Cali Craft and Gems stands for “all crystals, gemstones, beads and other beautiful things”.

Since 2004, the purpose of Cali Craft and Gems is to be a main supplier of crystals, minerals and gemstones to the holistic, esoteric, and Wiccan communities, as well as to several other individuals who simply have an attraction to these beautiful items. There is a definitive niche in the market for these products and related items. They have proven to be popular on the Internet sales website as well, thus expanding our customer base to all over South Africa, plus worldwide. We have customers in neighbouring countries, Brazil, Spain, UK, New Zealand, Hong Kong, etc.

Together with esoteric and holistic products, Cali Craft and Gems currently supplies crystals, minerals, gemstones, semi-precious beads, glass beads and other beading products, as well as jewellery – sterling silver and hand-made bead items – and related products. We have recently included Swarovski crystal beads into our range, and currently have the bicones in 179 colours, which is the largest colour range currently available in South Africa! Swarovski bicones are traditionally used in making jewellery (especially bridal) and other hand-made products.

We are taking the gemstone category by storm and are sincerely hoping to be in the top three sellers for our region this year (much to hubby’s dismay, as I’ve maxed out his credit card on international purchases!)

Cali Craft and Gems Cali Craft is looking at having a physical shop in the near future although there is currently no need for a full-time shop. This is because the majority of the sales are from the Internet. Cali Craft and Gems has its own web site, plus a strong sales outlet on bidorbuy, the South African auction site and marketplace.

At any given time, Cali Craft and Gems has well over 500 items listed for sale on bidorbuy. Thanks to our online presence, our products are permanently available, even for those customers who are simply too far from our shop to pop in and buy what they want in person. Being on bidorbuy is very good for my business and I try to persuade other people to join BoB. I have already “recruited” a few sellers to the site along the way.

That does not mean that we neglect the offline aspect of our business. We are frequently at shows and festivals in the PE region. In that way, we manage to reap the benefits of both the online and the offline world!

Regarding shopping online, it must be said that, at one stage or another, everyone is apprehensive about buying something they haven’t physically seen. I believe that if you sign up with a reputable site like bidorbuy and join the forum, you are well on your way to a good buying experience. The forum is in place for old and new members alike to discuss matters and to ask for advice. Yes, you may come across a “bad apple” once in a while. However, you will be fine if you use your common sense and if you turn to the forum for help when in doubt. Although you can not physically handle the merchandise you are purchasing online, good and reputable sellers will have decent photographs of the items and clear descriptions, with all the relevant specifications and measurements. In other words, you will not be “buying blind”. Another good piece of advice to follow is to read the ratings that the seller has received from other buyers. This should give you a good idea on what level of service or quality of products you are likely to receive.