Sometimes you have to see it to believe it.
For years I’ve heard of this amazing North Shore native who made beautiful clay bead jewelry. But it wasn’t until I stepped into Sandy Rueve’s new Wilmette store—She Beads—and saw the endless shelves of clay, and the thousands and thousands of extraordinary beads that had been rolled by hand (40 rotations each), that I really understood how special her jewelry is.
In the early 1990s, Rueve designed jewelry and accessories as a hobby. She worked on a medical team assigned to the championship winning Chicago Bulls basketball team. One evening as she quietly beaded some jewelry in the Bulls’ locker room, Michael Jordan asked if she might make a bracelet for him. Deciding that the beads she’d been buying in bulk weren’t good enough for Jordan, she set out to create beads especially for him.
And this launched the beginning of her global business—She Beads. Every finished piece of She Bead jewelry or accessory has Rueve’s “SB” signature bead right near the knot, so there’s no mistaking a knock off for the real thing.
Brushing her signature curls from her face, Rueve admits that she’s happiest when she’s working with the clay. “There are days where I have to be ‘the president’ and take care of the business side of things,” she says. “But I’m my most passionate when I’m designing—that’s what I love.”
She Bead has now become a family business as Rueve’s two children—Andrew, 25, and Alex, 21, have become partners. “You can’t imagine how great it is to have them on board,” Rueve adds, whose beads have been seen on everyone from moms to local news anchors to MTV’s Music Awards’ red carpet.
Over the years, Rueve has worked with select charities and developed what she calls “The Charity Bead Collections.” These collections reflect her dedication to the personal struggles of others. “Our purpose isn’t just to donate proceeds, but to become an advocate for education, to grow awareness, and connect people with similar experiences,” explains Rueve.
Next month, Rueve and her children will open a new flagship store in Australia, where She Beads has an enormous following. But before they leave, they will host the grand re-opening of their Wilmette store at 821 Ridge Road on Saturday, June 19 from 10 a.m. -10 p.m. A day full of food, fun, and beading frolic are planned, including raffle prizes throughout the day. After the grand reopening, She Beads will offer bead-making classes and be available for private parties for girls—and boys—of all ages.
“Our reopening is well timed to pick up some He Beads for Father’s Day,” laughs Rueve, who is quick to add that fashion forward men of all ages are wearing her bracelets.
For more information on She Beads, visit sbstore.com.