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We're Open: A Rockport shop with a niche, but loyal following

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Posted at 1:25 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 14:25:49-04

ROCKPORT, Texas — Kathleen Hahn opened The Bead Studio, in Rockport, in 2015. Hahn calls The Bead Studio a “full service bead shop,” because of all the variety she offers, from different types of beads to classes to teach beading techniques.

“My focus was to get unique and eclectic things in here, not just the little round beads, that’s what Michael’s and Hobby Lobby are for,” Hahn said.

Bead types available at The Bead Studio range from bone, coral, gemstones, and more, and Hahn works with vendors who travel the world, and bring authentic products from countries all over the world.

Five different women teach classes at The Bead Studio, to show different techniques to people interested in learning. Connie Bradley is one of those teachers, who teaches people techniques with seed beads, which are really small beads.

“Most of the people that I work with have beaded before, but the whole idea is still to learn something new, and to learn to make a project that hopefully teaches you new techniques that you can carry forward into your own work,” she said.

Bradley also likes to spend time at The Bead Studio because of her love for beading. Bradley is the president of Little Bay Beaders, a non-profit group of beaders with around 50 members, including Hahn. The group typically meets at The Bead Studio, as it is a place for the members to hang out and do what they love.

“Not only do I love beads, but I love the camaraderie, and I’ve made a lot of really good friends here,” Bradley said. “I think it’s a great place to come and find other creative people. It’s just an opportunity to gather with other people that like to do creative things, and we have a lot of fun.”

As a non-profit, the group helps other organizations out. The members often create jewelry that they donate to other groups to auction off. Recently, the group donated three pieces to Human Society and Adoption Center of Rockport, which were auctioned off for more than $300.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not the only hurdle Hahn has had to deal with, as she was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

“We didn’t quite recover from the hurricane, we were hit really bad here,” she said. “I’ve gone through every dime I have, but I love it enough, I’ve always worked, I don’t know anything but work, and I stayed open. I cut my hours, if I had to deliver beads to somebody, or I’d go out and deliver them outside, or whatever, I did that.”

Despite the setbacks, Hahn is determined to be persistent and continue running the store. One thing she said that is encouraging is that she’s seen more young people interested in the store recently.

“More kids are coming in and hanging out too, which is really nice, and they make their own jewelry, and a lot of them sell it at school. They get here, and they have a good time, and we try to teach them to get them beyond what they know,” she said.

If people are not interested in creating their own jewelry, but are interested in the products available at The Bead Studio, customers can choose what beads they want, and Hahn or someone else will create the necklace for them.

“They’ll get together and make a necklace, and we’ll kind of help them with it, and basically we’ll guide them through the process, and then we’ll finish it for them,” she said.

The Bead Studio can be found at 812 Henderson St. in Rockport. It is open from Monday to Saturday, and classes are by appointment only.