Creations, Prayer Beads

Etsy Anglican Prayer Bead Vendor Comparison (Part 1)

Before I started creating Anglican prayer beads (APB) back in 2013, I conducted market research on the existing Protestant prayer bead vendors. I had been an artisan since 2006, so that seemed a good place to start.

In 2013, I found only 7 Etsy vendors selling a total of 160 sets of Anglican (Protestant) prayer beads. Three vendors were offering less than 20 APB in their Etsy shops. Most of the APBs offered were very traditionally designed. Some were not very imaginative or well made or were made using eye pins (wire loops), rather than the beading wire and metal crimps I planned to use. Several of these vendors primarily focused on jewelry or Catholic rosaries, with APBs as a spin-off product line.

God’s urging and the scarcity of serious APB vendors on Etsy  (and elsewhere on the internet) led me to jump into the APB market in early 2013. I was sure I could strongly compete by producing Anglican prayer beads that were not only functional, but also beautiful and well made.

I began by creating a 16-page full-color Anglican Prayer Beads booklet containing APB history, pictures, instructions, and sample prayers.

Prayer Beads Booklet

The next step was to determine my pricing. Back in 2013, Etsy APB artisans were charging $10-40 for a set. Rather than following my competitors’ typical practice of pricing APBs based on component costs, I decided to choose components that would be profitable at a flat $32/set, including my APB booklet and a velveteen pouch. To further set my products uniquely above my competitors, I also included a lifetime restringing guarantee and made my APB booklet available for $2 via digital download.

Since my initial foray into the APB market, I have further improved my APBs by using professional quality non-kinking (softest drape) 49-strand color- or clear-coated stainless steel beading wire. Beading wire with fewer strands may irreparably kink.

I also am now the only APB vendor I know of who uses silver- or gold-plated Magic Findings, instead of less reliable and much cheaper metal crimps, to secure APB beading wire. Patented Magic Findings not only create a much sturdier bond, they also look like a round silver or gold bead, enhancing the APB design.

Magic Finding

When joining two ends of beading wire, I thread each end through a Magic Finding and back through it again, utilizing four of the Magic finding’s seven holes.

Magic Finding Pliers

Then I use the Magic Finding pliers to crimp the Magic Finding into a round bead shape. This creates a study and beautiful bond.

(Images courtesy of Fire Mountain Gems.)

In addition to these competitive advantages of my APBs, each set of my Anglican prayer beads is unique. I typically use glass or gemstone beads and a variety of crosses or other symbolic pendants. I sometimes create my own crosses and pendants using molds, bezels, and resin. I have also commissioned a glass artisan to make colorful dichroic glass crosses for some of my APB. Inspired by the desire to make some of my APB multi-functional, I am one of only a couple Etsy vendors who make Anglican prayer bead necklaces.

I have been successfully selling my Anglican prayer beads through both my Etsy shop and my personal website for over three years now. In anticipation of adding APB chaplets to my product line, I again conducted extensive market research in May 2016 regarding other Etsy Anglican prayer bead vendors. To learn the surprising and enlightening results of this research, see Part 2  and Part 3 of this series.

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