It was a confluence of many different events that lead to a little family business called Lytha Studios. It was partly being in the right place at the right time, partly a passion for self employment mixed with commerce, and partly a sweet little lovebird named Lytha.
I was in the right place at the right time - Virginia Tech - 1993 - just as the World Wide Web was being born. There I learned HTML and how to create content for the WWW. In my junior year, I started a little business creating shop websites. Soon, I created a site of my own for my seed bead jewelry. It never sold a single darn thing. Ever.
Eventually, I started making gemstone beaded jewelry, which amazingly did sell. I augmented it with Celtic themed gifts, and my "dot com" was officially alive.
Around this time, I also go married! It was the summer between my junior and senior year, and my best friend and dearest love and I married after a five year courtship. That bearded guy off to the right there - he's been my sweetie since we were sixteen.
Where does Lytha fit in? Everywhere (naturally), which any lovebird will tell you is just as it ought to be. Eric and I bought Lytha about a year before we married. We took her anywhere we went. I wanted to work from home so she would have company all day. She was the queen of the house, worshiped by the humans (again, as it ought to be), and naming the business after her seemed like the most natural thing to do.
By the time I earned my degree, and celebrated my first anniversary, Lytha Studios was turning a profit, and my plans of getting an advanced degree in mathematics morphed into plans to make Lytha Studios the awesomest little shop on the Internet. I was teaching classes on HTML and jewelry making at the local YMCA, and having the time of my life with my hubby, my birds, and my little shop.
And the rest is history! Lytha Studios has changed over time - slowly turning away from being gift oriented and going back to its roots with beads and jewelry supplies. Lytha's place has been inherited by a gorgeous little gal named Ostara (she's pictured to the right, as well).
Eric and I have recently celebrated our nineteenth wedding anniversary - and how lucky we are with our son, our furry and feathered kids, and our little family business that lets us all be together all the time.
See also - my jewelry shop:
Erin H. Weik
Owner, Maker, Designer, Curator, Head Honcho - Bead Master In Chief
Owen & Ostara
The Office Kid & The Office Bird
Please scroll down to the "Additional Information" section for detailed and extensive FAQ's about my beads and findings!
CONVOS - I try to be convo friendly, but I get a LOT of convos, and I sometimes miss one. If you haven't heard back from me, please don't be offended, and please do resend! I don't always answer at night, and on weekends, as a girl (this girl anyway) needs a little bit of down time.
HOW DO I MAKE THAT? You're more than welcome to convo me to ask how to recreate any of the examples shown in my shop - the designs pictured are there to encourage and inspire, and I'd love to share the parts lists!
SPLITTING PACKAGES - I generally do not split packages, especially for smaller beads and findings, which are generally prepackaged and not, well, split-able.
DISCOUNTS & COUPONS - My personal philosophy on selling is that I want to make everything available at the same best price to everyone. To that end - I don't offer shop discounts or coupons - when you browse my shop, you're seeing my best price.
SMOKE FREE - Our office is smoke free, as are the people (myself, my husband, my son) who work there. However we are not allergen free - we have several darling birds who live where we work. We are also likely to bring dander or other allergens into work - we keep (are kept by?) dogs and cats at home. Our office also includes candles, soaps, incense and other aromatherapy supplies, stored in the same vicinity as our beads and jewelry making supplies.
BOXES - I get asked where I get my shipping boxes from all the time. They're just the right size for beads and jewelry, and they come from here:
Please feel free to contact me, if not via e-mail, then via phone, convo or snail mail.
Erin Weik, Owner
Lancaster, VA 22503
Accepted payment methods
★ United States First Class - $4.50 USD
★ Canada First Class - $10.95 USD
★ Europe & Australia First Class - $14.95 USD
a few heavy items in my shop will be more
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All customs forms will be accurately declared. EU buyers please note - VAT is not included in the listing prices, and may be charged to the buyer at delivery. All tariffs, VAT, and/or duties imposed on international deliveries are the responsibility of the buyer. International orders are shipped via US First Class International Mail, and normally take two-six weeks for delivery. Please allow extra time for delivery from October-January.
Orders are shipped in 1-3 business days (Monday - Friday, excluding holidays). You can expect a confirmation of shipment with tracking information when your order goes out.
Returns and exchanges
Don't like it? No problem! You can return items for any reason for a full refund of the price of the product within 60 days of receipt. Buyer is responsible for original and return shipping costs.
Please note that items that have been altered (leather or chain that has been cut, bags of beads or findings that have been partially used) are no longer eligible for a refund.
Once in a blue moon, I make a mistake and send the wrong product - please just let me know, and I'll take care of things as quickly and as painlessly as I can.
Additional policies and FAQs
My love affair with TierraCast began in 1996 when I first discovered their beautiful Celtic beads and charms, and I've been using these beautiful components ever since. I use TierraCast beads, toggles, bead caps or charms in nearly every project I make! These components are manufactured from start to finish in the United States, and the quality and workmanship is phenomenal - better made and better priced than many precious metal alternatives.
TierraCast beads and jewelry components are FDA certified lead-free. TierraCast is made from the Britannia pewter alloy, and it exceeds both the CPSC standard and the new California law regulating children's jewelry content. Britannia pewter is a culinary grade pewter - it is so safe you can eat and drink from cups and plates made of it.
TierraCast beads and jewelry components start with the Britannia pewter base, and are electroplated with various metals to create the finished piece. While ordinary plated jewelry components are notorious for wearing or rubbing off, leaving the base below exposed, electroplated finishes are much thicker and more durable, and will easily withstand reasonable wear and tear.
TierraCast beads and jewelry components with the Antique Silver and Bright Silver finishes are electroplated with pure silver (also called "fine silver" or ".999 silver"). These finishes look exactly like sterling silver. These finishes, like sterling silver components, are susceptible to tarnish. However, they can be cleaned with a soft jewelry polishing cloth, or with a gentle liquid cleaner.
TierraCast beads and jewelry components with the Antique Gold and Bright Gold finishes are electroplated with 22k quality Gold Plate. This finish will not tarnish.
TierraCast beads and jewelry components with the Antique Copper finish are plated with genuine copper.
TierraCast beads and jewelry components with the Antique Rhodium and Bright Rhodium finishes are electroplated with Rhodium. Rhodium is a metal in the platinum family, and is scratch resistant and does not tarnish. These finishes are a slightly darker grey than the Antique and Bright Silver finishes, but they blend well with sterling components.
Antiquing is a chemical process that gives depth and detail by creating dark areas along crevices and recessed areas, and consequently making the polished areas stand out more. Most of our TierraCast beads and jewelry components have antiqued finishes to bring out the detail. Some pieces are not antiqued (notably the Hammertone Collection), and have a brighter appearance. Each piece will specifically state whether or not it is antiqued or bright in the description. All of the TierraCast copper components are antiqued. Antiquing is a common process - it is used in sterling charms, bali spacers, etc, to bring out the detail of the piece.
GOLD, SILVER, COPPER & GUNMETAL PLATED FAQ:
I carry some basic silver, gold, copper and gunmetal plated findings and beads in my shop. (They'll be *explicitly* listed as such - no surprises!) These are plated (as opposed to electroplated), which means the plating layer is much thinner than the electroplated TierraCast products.
These items WILL TARNISH, and the finish WILL WEAR. They're a lot less expensive than sterling or gold-filled, and they are NOT as good as sterling and gold-filled. Please keep that in mind when you purchase - refunds/exchanges will not be accepted on plated items that have been used and tarnished, because that is *what happens* to plated items.
CATS EYE FIBER OPTIC BEADS FAQ:
Cat's eye beads come in many colors and shapes. Some of our beads have special effects - in addition to the plain, polished variety with also carry acid washed "iced" beads, and extra sparkly faceted beads. Colorful, velvety cat's eye beads are the perfect complement to Swarovski crystal.
Fiber optic cat's eye beads are made from a special glass (the same glass fiber optics are made from) - hence the name and the effect! All of our beads are GRADE A cats eye beads, and made in China.
Cat's eye beads are mass manufactured, relatively inexpensive, and are usually sold by the string. Due to the mass production nature of these beads, you should expect to receive a few "duds" when ever you buy a package of these beads. Every string will have the occasional cracked or mis-drilled bead.
CPSIA - My supplies are not intended for use in children's jewelry.
WOW! YOU MADE IT THIS FAR:
Thank you so much for taking the time to read all this! Happy Beading! -- Erin