Spirited Bead will mark an important milestone by celebrating its 20th anniversary in a two-day event May 17 and 18.
According to owner Karen Lewis, a.k.a. Klew, the secret to longevity is passion, devotion and continuity.
"I'm a maker ... a maker from the get-go," Klew said.
Spirited Bead has operated at the same location, 435 W. J St., since opening its doors. Klew also operated a second store in Ridgecrest for 15 years; however, she closed that store last year in an attempt to "semi-retire."
"I feel 10 years younger just having done that," laughed Klew.
The store owner said she never dreamed that she would one day own and operate her own craft store.
"Years ago, in another life when I lived up in the San Jose area, there was this little mom and pop shop that was up the street from my restaurant," Klew said. "He was closing out, and had been there for some years. He had this cavernous, long shop full of shoe boxes filled with beads and what-nots."
Klew said she purchased the boxes of beads, not knowing what she would do with them.
About 32 years ago, she discovered polymer clay, and this discovery would forever change the course of her life as she now designs and creates stunning beads.
"I picked up the clay, and it was like we had known each other and were old friends," Klew said.
As a young child, Klew said she used to be a "hippy kid" and put beads in her hair, which were heavy at the time. She found that she could create beautiful beads out of the clay that were much lighter in weight. Not knowing how to make jewelry, she hired someone to create pieces using her beads. Working as a manicurist, she sold her pieces to her customers as well as gifting them.
"It just kind of snowballed after that," Klew said.
After moving to Tehachapi, she worked out of her home creating her own pieces.
"You would think you would get a lot done by working at home, but you don't. You are just like a bee, flipping from flower to flower, and by the end of the day, either everything gets done or nothing gets done," she said.
This epiphany led her to rent the building which is today expanded and filled with tools, beads and crafting supplies. She used money her mother left her after passing away as seed money to start the store.
"In the spirit of my mother, we opened the Spirited Bead on Mother's Day," she said.
Since Mother's Day has not proven to be a good day to celebrate her anniversary, Klew said she observes the anniversary on a weekend close to that day.
Store manager Karena Krail has worked with Klew for more than 14 years.
"It is a pleasure and an honor to work for such an amazing and inspiring renowned artist," said Krail. "Over the many years, she has taken me under her wings and shared her knowledge on business and art adornments. Not only has she been a great employer, but she has also been a wonderful friend, mentor and part of my family."
Krail will also premier her own finished jewelry during the event.
Spirited Bead will celebrate the milestone from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 17, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 18, with two Make and Takes featuring a pair of leather earrings and cork bobble key chain. Customers are invited to participate by making the items for a nominal fee of $5.
Cake and refreshments will be served from noon to 4 p.m. Sales associate Debi Sewell will also be on hand to answer questions as a designer and teacher.
"Thank you to all of our customers that helped make it happen!" Krail said.
For more information, call Spirited Bead at 823-1930.