I’ve been hearing about the phenomenon that is RBEADS from my friends over in Brooklyn for a while now. For the past year, every chick has been tricked out with stacks of glowing marbled bracelets, color coordinated to match the outfit, of course. What are these things? I thought in passing, until RBeads founder Raquel Falack called me and asked me to come see her work. So I headed over to Brooklyn one day to check out her home studio and see her at work. Now, I grew up in Brooklyn- and as I tell everyone who asks- not the cool parts, and I swear I still have a hard time getting on this Brooklyn is Awesome train. But maybe it really is? Maybe it really is a hotbed of creativity and yupsterness in the best way possible? Not that this has anything to do with Rbeads, but still. My brain is on a ten year delay in processing the coolness of Brooklyn. Kind of like those wedge sneakers: DOES. NOT. COMPUTE.

But back to Raquel. Over in Brooklyn, Raquel told me about how she started making her own bracelets as a hobby two years ago. She had seen someone wearing something cool one day, and she basically hunted the internet and local craft stores and started beading her own. She experimented and made a bunch of bracelets and the response was amazing. All her friends wanted some. So she basically just thought up a name and decided to sell them. Eventually she made her way to the bead centers of the Garment District and “spent days walking in and out of bead stores and just daydreaming.”  She started building connections in the industry and started expanding her business by doing trunk shows, boutique shows and word of mouth. She became addicted to jewelry making and all she wanted to do was create things. By now her bracelets are sold in boutiques throughout NYC and Miami. Each bracelet is one of a kind; she uses different materials as agate, dyed jade, Laborite, hematite and more. “Walking in the street and seeing people wearing my bracelets makes me so happy and satisfied. Making people happy and seeing ten enjoying their RBEADS makes me smile,” Raquel says. “My style is fun and anything goes! Just stack them up and smile!”

Raquel describes her process as an almost manic creative impulse, and we all know I can relate to that. Sometimes I have an idea, and I just HAVE to figure out how to do it, that minute. Even if all the craft stores are closed and I have no supplies. I’ll macgyver something out of household goods in my kitchen. Or I’ll literally be itching until I get the idea done did. I love to see creative people at work. I love to hear about the itch. I’m sure you’ve had it, even if its just about something small.

Despite being a local phenomenon, Raquel recently opened up her website. I’m guessing she wants worldwide bead domination? Its a great gift idea for Valentine’s day, actually. Even if you are just gifting them to yourself. (We all know that sometimes the best presents are the ones you give yourself. You just KNOW it will be appreciated, unlike other times when gifts are met with an “oh-thanks.”)  I know women who collect sets of these things! They are priced really well, sets of 3 or 4 go for under $100. And singles are around $35, depending on the bracelet. Oh, and I even convinced Raquel to do sets of napkin rings, for those of us who are more design obsessed than fashion obsessed. See below.

Check out RBEADS HERE.  I know this reads like an infomercial, but really, I’m just happy to support other creative women doing their thing!

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