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Meet Cathy Begun of The Elegant Bead in Centennial

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cathy Begun.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Cathy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Everyone needs a bit of bling to “shine and sparkle!” to make every day feel like a special occasion. I’ve had the gift to do what I love-designing my jewelry collections for The Elegant Bead for the past 24 years! I start by creating pieces that I love, as I find a need for them in my own wardrobe and lifestyle, and I am delighted to share as well, my creations with my customers to suit their desires and occasions. I love working with my customers to help them find jewelry for their everyday wear as well as special occasions! I take great pride in my work and I enjoy seeking out beautiful beads and unique finds that reflect The Elegant Bead’s high workmanship standards.

I have always loved accessories, jewelry in particular. I started The Elegant Bead after searching for bracelets to fit my wrist, as the ones I was finding in stores were all too big. I figured if I was having a hard time finding bracelets to fit my wrist, others probably are as well. I was shown how to finish off the ends of a bracelet securely and designed a few bracelets for myself. Being so excited about my new bracelets and of course wearing my newly designed creations, my family and friends requested some for themselves. The Elegant Bead was launched in May 1995 from my kitchen table!

As I gained more confidence in my skills as well as my style, I was attracting more clients, expanding my collection to include coordinating earrings and necklaces seemed obvious. From my humble beginnings, I was buying the beads that I thought were pretty, yet unique, but that I knew I could design into one-of-a-kind jewelry. Then, many of my materials consisted of base metals, Czech glass, Swarovski Austrian crystal, as well as other findings that “spoke” to me. I knew early on that I had wanted my collections to be a one-of-a-kind line, and that still holds true today, almost 25 years later! I am very flattered to have many clients since the very beginning who will still treat themselves as well as others to new pieces today. Many of my clients have also become dear friends throughout the years. My collections have been in many resorts in Phoenix, and the Artisan Center in Cherry Creek North.

Today, my collections include dazzling Swarovski crystals, stunning sterling silvers and gold vermeil, unique gemstones and beautiful findings. Being the buyer as well as the designer, I love choosing the beautiful stones, beads, and unique pieces that set my jewelry apart. Everyone one of us is different, so to me, it makes sense that your individuality is highlighted in your jewelry. The thrill of choosing beads and findings individually is quite satisfying, sometimes I will be shopping for a particular piece for a customer, other times I will hand pick and delight in the unexpected treasures I may find. Inspired by all of my surroundings, my pieces absorb all that inspo from travel, {I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Mexico, Malta, Italy, Croatia and Paris}, gardening, The Colorado blue sky, interior design, and fashion.

I credit my grandmother and mother for their style genes, as well as their fashion influences on me growing up. I am a fraternal twin and my twin sister is one of my muses, as well as my BFF.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, not always. I would say that marketing myself over the years has been a learning curve. The internet was fairly new and that was a huge learning curve for me, my mother-in-law who was quite tech-savvy, helped me to write my quarterly newsletters to mail to my clients to keep my name fresh in their mind. Today, my newsletters are sent monthly via email to my growing client base.

Throughout the years, certain materials and colors that I loved to use often would be discontinued, so I would have to tweak my collection to accommodate the changes. In 2008, when the recession hit, a favorite vendor that I loved and had purchased most of my unusual clasps from for many years, stopped designing that style due to their cost, they were not being able to offer it at a reasonable wholesale cost and they had to completely revamp their style of clasps, therefore I also had to rethink my designs, as their clasps were part of the designed piece.

Most of the bead stores are “mom and pop” stores, and many have closed in my area, so I do most of my shopping on-line thru trusted sources and when the bead shows come into town a few times a year.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Elegant Bead – what should we know?
The Elegant Bead has been around since 1995! I am a self-taught jewelry designer and still wear most of the hats, as a buyer, designer, producer, marketer today. I am the face behind my brand, as I am always wearing my jewelry, even to the grocery store, as I tend to run into many of my clients there.

When I started, our kids were in elementary school, and I was volunteering in their classrooms. I wanted to wear my designs, but not feel like a walking billboard, but to have my pieces be a reflection of my casual lifestyle in Phoenix. My collections reflected that my styles were appropriate to wear to volunteer in elementary school, but also could be worn to take out my husbands’ clients for dinner and other occasions.

Within each collection that I design, each piece is different, all with unique materials used, although some styles may be repeated, each piece is a one-of-a-kind. I have one style that I love to design and they are very popular due to versatility. They are either a 40″ or 60″ inch rope style necklace, most have been eclectic mixes, some color-blocked, even a single color, no two are the same, even if I were to use the same base palette mix! The beauty of these pieces is that they can be worn long, doubled, or tripled, can be wrapped as a bracelet multiple times and they “layer, stack and mix” with other necklaces beautifully which highlights your individual style! I love to see how my clients choose a new style for themselves and absolutely embrace it! I have honed and finessed my style with components that I use and it is recognizable by style.

I am the most proud of The Elegant Bead Collections, in that it has stood the test of time, my pieces are unique, they are hand-designed and created with love and that I have a lovely loyal clientele from all over. I am so honored to see my customers wearing and enjoying my jewelry! I know that some of my earlier clients still wear their earlier pieces today, and that makes me feel so flattered as well as proud.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I feel that my success has been based on honesty, sincerity, consistency as well as design and style, materials used that my clients have come to know and recognize. I know how I would like to be treated and I believe in my heart that I treat each person that way, whether they come to my studio, the pop-up booth at shows or networking events.


  • Earrings range from $50 – $95
  • Bracelets range from $68 – $90
  • Necklaces range from $58 – $225

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Michele Blake

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