About Us

Meet the Blue Door Beads team!

Who are we, what do we like, and what do we do in our spare time outside of the bead world?

Sara

I made my first pair of earrings when I was 8 years old at summer camp. I won’t ever forget that feeling of instant gratification by creating a wearable piece — right away, I knew I was hooked! My favorite part of working in a bead store is having a table full of customers that don’t know one another, who then work on projects together and leave as friends. Another perk of owning a shop is having the whole place all to myself after store hours! My favorite stone is carnelian, love orange. I am originally from Southern California and went to college in Colorado, but I am now proud to call the Bay Area home since 2002. My other hobbies and passions are backpacking, road biking for fun and charity events, soccer, traveling, snowboarding, sewing and Sunday morning garage sales. Most recently, when I am not beading, I am spending time with my daughter (a.k.a. Bead Baby) who was born August 2011.

Lydia

Although I have been beading since age 12, my favorite jewelry techniques are currently metal stamping and wire work.  Teaching others how to make jewelry is incredibly inspiring, and I am always so pleased when customers and students return to the shop to show me the jewelry they’ve made since taking my classes! When I’m not making jewelry, I enjoy spending quality time with my fiancé and our dog, Oscar, taking snapshots, weaving wall-hangings, and singing karaoke. I also enjoy taking mini vacations, both near and far: visiting college friends as far north as Portland, OR and as far south as Long Beach, CA; wine tasting in Napa; andcollecting beach glass in Monterey & Fort Bragg (for wire-wrapping, of course!)

Kim

Crafting is my favorite pastime. I love coloring, art-journaling and collaging. I began my jewelry-making journey in college, and started a small jewelry business called icewaterjewelry. My favorite technique is wire-wrapping gemstones to create necklaces and earrings. It is so much fun to work at Blue Door Beads and be able to improve my techniques, while learning countless new ones! The staff and customers never cease to inspire and amaze me with their imaginations and zest for creating. When I'm not working, you will usually find me cooking, reading, or playing with my pup, Blue.

Rachel

I am originally from Chicago. I have lived on Piedmont Avenue for 17 years. I consider this neighborhood my home. I am a photographer by trade, but I am also passionate about all kinds of art…especially beading and jewelry-making. I was taught beading by my mom and have been working with beads for 20 years. It is such a great experience to help people with their personal beading projects. I get such satisfaction helping people create their own artwork. I am constantly inspired by our customers’ ideas! I am an avid snowboarder, sailor, and love the outdoors. I volunteer for the National Park Service riding and taking care of their horses. I love the Bay Area for all it’s outdoor and creative opportunities, and working at Blue Door Beads is just another way I get to be creative and support the neighborhood that I call home.

Malaya

When I was young, I would always accompany my aunt on her trips to the local bead store. I was always drawn to all of the design opportunities, and I enjoyed the endless amount of time we would spend together on one project.  That was what started my love for beading and crafts (particularly printmaking and sewing) in general.  Beading was such a special time that brought me and my aunt together, and now I enjoy being able to help families come together in the same way at Blue Door Beads.  Watching people make something for the first time, plus realizing they are capable of something like that, is an amazing experience — and I get to do it for my job, which I think is pretty rad!  

There are many facets to my family history, and one of the most important to me is my grandma's immigration from the Philippines.  A lot of my printmaking and textile work talks about being born third generation and also belonging to two different cultural backgrounds.  I never want to let myself forget what my elders gave up to allow me to live a creative life and make the work I do today.  I think it is important to not let go of who we are, and embrace our differences.  Living in the Bay Area for the past few years has definitely helped me define these experiences for myself and opened up conversations among the community that I feel very grateful for. Can't wait to meet y'all in the store and see what projects you are working on!

Marilee

Shortly after moving to the Bay Area from Chicago, I took a basic stringing class. My instructor became one of my closest friends, as well as business partner — together, we owned Broadway Bead in Walnut Creek, and then later on High Strung in Oakland. Working at Blue Door Beads is a treat for me. It allows me to see old friends and make new ones in a great environment. I never cease to marvel at the creativity of the beading world! I favor wire-wrapping as a technique and like working with semi-precious beads and different metals. Recently I've become interested in working with resin. I'm an avid reader and enjoy walking, gardening, and exploring hidden treasures in Oakland's neighborhoods. I am always taking classes, learning new techniques and crafts. I love to travel! I have two grown children, both married, and one delightful four-year-old grandchild.

Salaine

As a child, I got my first grass stains rolling down hills on Oakland's soil, and am grateful to be able to create with the community as an adult. Although I've always been the artistic type, it’s only recently that I have fallen in love with jewelry-making! I put art on the back burner for several years, and working at Blue Door Beads has reignited my passion to make things again. Prior to joining the team at Blue Door Beads, I was a mixed media illustrator taking influences from Japanese animation and Art Nouveau. My absolute favorite thing about working here is empowering people -- seeing them light up when they've learned a new jewelry-making skill, and using that skill to make their own finished pieces!

My crafting hobbies are quite scattered, but the ones that have been able to hold my attention as of late are learning how to DJ, writing essays on scientific communication, and making felted motorcycle vests for my cat. When I'm not creating, I enjoy organizing small-scale community events, playing Overwatch/board games/Dungeons & Dragons, being sassy, and practicing hand-lettering.

Maya

Jewelry making was the first craft I picked up as a kid and I dove right into it. One of the most enjoyable aspects about jewelry making at the time was that it was a great source of income! I was always thinking of ways to make money, so I started selling earnings, necklaces, and bracelets to my family and friends. I stopped making jewelry for a while and turned to sewing, then drawing. I now attend California College of the Arts and I will be going into the individualized major (combining textiles, printmaking, and jewelry metal arts) next semester because I can’t choose one craft to focus on. You can catch me in Blue Door Beads wearing ridiculous amounts of color and patterns because that's what I do best!

Jane

I am a graduate of Piedmont High School, and now attend CalPoly. I have lived in the same house in Oakland for my whole life. I interned at Blue Door Beads for a year during high school and then was hired as a full-time staff member. I began making jewelry when I was 12 years old, and have been self-taught since then. The first pair of earrings I ever created were made of purple pearls and silver ear wires. I still wear them today! During my time interning at Blue Door Beads I have learned a great deal about the beading world. My favorite techniques that I have learned are knotting and wire work. In my free time I love skiing, playing lacrosse, and doing any type of water sport. I love dogs and have fostered a total of 8 puppies, not including my current dog. After endless begging and pleading, my parents finally let us adopt our dog, Quinn. I’m always at peace when I can get away and go on a hike with Quinn! I love traveling internationally, and every Spring Break I go down to Mexico to build houses for the people of Tijuana. I am currently planning a trip to the Galápagos Islands. I love working at Blue Door Beads and have loved getting to know all of the people in the beading community!

Sarah

I am a filmmaker, dancer, and jewelry-maker raised in the Bay Area. I'm often perched on places of great heights, cutting into perfectly ripe avocados, and doing my best to make people laugh. My mother never left the house without accessorizing and through her passion for jewelry, I became obsessed. I eventually created my own line called Suit & Armor Jewelry. Blue Door Beads has further enabled my passion for jewelry and has opened the doors to learning even more techniques that I love, like beading with knots! 

beautiful beads.
Erin G., Crafterateur blog  |  June 2015

Reporting from Blue Door Beads! This is my favorite bead store ever, and I’m one picky lady. Knowledgable and friendly staff, a large assortment of beads and findings, great lighting (makes for clear, creative thinking!), reserved customer parking (!!!), …. The list goes on and on for why I enjoy every visit here.

Read the full article on Crafterateur

Our Next Bead Stop — Blue Door Beads
Bead Design Studio magazine  |  October 2013

The first time Sara Mancini made a pair of earrings at summer camp, she was hooked. Although she describes the earrings as the ugliest things she’s ever made, she loved the feeling of making something herself, and it was enough to keep her coming back for more. As she grew older, she continued to make jewelry and visit bead stores everywhere she went, daydreaming about one day opening a shop of her own…

Read the full article [PDF]

Blue Door Beads’ Sara Mancini quoted in article about historic Yone bead store in S.F.
SF Gate  |  January 2013

…Like 32-year-old Sara Mancini, who in June opened Blue Door Beads on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. “My customers come in with photos on their phone from websites like Honestly ... WTF, and they can hang out here and we’ll help them make the piece,” she says.

“I have no desire to have an online shop. I want to bring this back to one-on-one personal service. I feel like that’s been kind of lost lately.”

Read the full article on SF Gate

Get creative with your holiday gift-giving at several craft classes around Oakland
Oakland Local  |  November 14, 2012

Whether you want to celebrate a Crafty Christmas or a Homemade Hanukkah, there are plenty of classes in Oakland and the East Bay to help you with your holiday giving.

Beads can be used to create earrings, necklaces, bracelets and holiday cards in a series of workshops at Blue Door Beads. One class even features wine and a pizza dinner for a more social crafting experience.

Read the full article on Oakland Local

Blue Door Beads on Piedmont Avenue
The Crest, Piedmont Gardens’ Newsletter  |  November 2012

A great new store has opened on Piedmont Avenue that is chock full of beautiful and interesting beads. You can design your own necklace, bracelet, or earrings, get help, or do it yourself. You can take classes and learn how to make anything made of beads. The choice of beads is overwhelming. The Blue Door Beads is an oasis of beads of all shapes, sizes, and colors. What a fun place!

I discovered the new store shortly after it opened. I walked in and asked if they repaired broken necklaces. Of course they did! So I have had two necklaces and a pair of earrings repaired and new earrings designed and made for me. The owner, Sara Mancini, is a charming, friendly, helpful young woman. She is assisted by Lydia Chapman, an equally charming young woman.

Read the full article [PDF]

Behind the Blue Door: Beading on Piedmont Avenue
Bead Society of Northern California Newsletter  |  October 2012

New bead society member and new mom Sara Mancini has started a new bead store!

Blue Door is on 4167 Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, CA. Sara has oriented it towards the do-it-yourself movement that has become a worldwide phenomenon with everything from clothing, to jams & jellies, to greeting cards and leather journals. Creating handmade jewelry has been a logical next step for many people looking to save money without having to eliminate quality from their lives.

Read the full article [PDF]

Do-it-Yourself Jewelry an Inexpensive Treat
Bead Society of Northern California  |  September 2012

People of all ages enjoy creating handmade jewelry: make-and-create environment cultivates inspiration and relaxation.
The do-it-yourself movement has become a worldwide phenomenon with everything from clothing, to jams & jellies, to greeting cards and leather journals. Creating handmade jewelry has been a logical next step for many people looking to save money without having to eliminate quality from their lives.

Folks looking to create their own wearable works of art need look no further than 4167 Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, CA, where new mom and avid beader Sara Mancini has just opened her dream store, Blue Door Beads. Mancini has created a “make-and-create” environment where customers of all ages can select beads, have a seat at the in-store workstation, design their jewelry, and create finished pieces. Staff is available to provide project ideas whether you are creating in the store or buying new supplies to take home.

Read the full article [PDF]

Behind the Blue Door: Beading on Piedmont Avenue
Piedmont Patch  |  July 12, 2012

Beaders, as they are called, have several reasons why they bead. The repetition of stringing beads is relaxing, or the recognition that comes from wearing one’s own designs is rewarding. One reason, more specific to the Bay Area, is that it does not take up a lot of space, said Lydia Chapman, 28, store manager of just-opened Blue Door Beads on Piedmont Avenue

“You don’t have to have a studio, you just have to have a shoebox, and when you’re ready to make something, you can just pull out your shoebox,”; said Chapman, a 15-year veteran of beading.

Read the full article on Piedmont Patch