CJS Sales is a place of dreams.
In short, it is a wholesale bead/chain/jewelry/everything supplier.
I first discovered CJS probably a year ago through For The Makers, a now defunct subscription box that had great tutorials. Their site seems to be down, but this was the link to their blog post. I didn't have a tax ID then (which you need to shop there), so I squirreled away the post for when I decided to bite the bullet and get one.
I finally got a tax ID a couple months ago in November--and the first thing I did was look up CJS, but only to discover they lost their lease and are going out of business.
So, everyone out there, you have until the end of February to visit.
The elevator doors will open to 5,000 square feet of pure treasure-hunting fun. The first time I visited, adrenaline kicked in and I was so excited I was sweating. You're handed an empty box, told you can sling your coat over a chair, and are basically given free reign to dig and roam. There isn't much in terms of 'customer service', everyone is friendly, but there is no hand-holding. It's just you, and the beads.
There is some method in the madness: a room dedicated to metals, to chains, to plastic beads, etc. I personally kept mostly to the glass beads, which is what I mostly work with.
I could probably spend hours here.
Unfortunately, they're only open M-F 9AM-5PM, which are the hours I work. They are only a few blocks down from my job so I've been able to sneak away during lunch breaks or if I happen to leave work early I've been able to pop in.
I've definitely heard stories of people flying in from around the country just to shop and source. If your haul is too heavy, CJS will ship it to you. I've witnessed people spending thousands.
You pay by the pound--so far my visits have ranged from $100-$160 (there is a $100 minimum). Because they are closing their doors soon, they've been running huge discounts--not sure of specifics. The owner, Carl, has discretion and the final say.
This definitely isn't a place where you go hunting for a specific thing--it's for inspiration.
- Prices are currently very, very fair.
- Will definitely find things you won't have been able to find otherwise.
- Not open on weekends, limited store hours.
- If you find something you love, will be very hard to find it again.
MY LATEST HAUL
Carl took $20 off my order & didn't charge me for a bag his son threw in for me. (By chance you're reading, I love you both.) I paid $100 bucks total. I mostly get glass beads, and the prices per pound vary for plastic and for metal.
For the glass beads, a lot of the beads in the baggies are still strung. This was a bundle of about 13 strands. Whenever I empty the bags I'm always astounded at how many there are!
While you won't know what you'll find, there are definitely things I look out for.
- Certain colors: mostly pinks/blues
- Smaller sized beads for earrings
- Faceted beads in oval/drop shapes
- Center drilled beads
Each time I go I get a little more picky--on my first trip I went a little bananas. I have since settled down and have been more critical.
This was a very pink-heavy haul.
You pay by weight, these stars were definitely heavy but I couldn't resist.
Not all bags are heavy and full. Sometimes you'll find these small ones with only one strand. Which are great because they weigh very little.
I have no idea the final worth of what I purchased, but I definitely think I got a great deal.
MY FAVORITE BEADS I HAVE FOUND AT CJS SO FAR:
You will see that I love center-drilled drops. These are a creamy blue and different sizes.
This is a bag of clear, center-drilled drops. This is a small bag, I wish there were more!
This is a bag I combined two different finds with. The first time I visited, I found a bag of the pink, white and tan beads. Then I subsequently found the blue. They're the same bead, just different colors.
I absolutely love the pink drops and I'd cry with happiness if I am able to find more.
I found a small bag of these leaves and thought they were beautiful. (Plus very very light.)
These round rose quartz beads have been very fun to work with.
I have no idea what these are, but they're gorgeous and heavy.
I had a woman look into my box and I almost had to fight her off for these.
I'm hoping to visit one last time before their doors close, but I'm going to have to carve out the time somehow with my schedule.
If you live in/near/can get to NYC and have a tax ID number, I highly recommend you visit CJS. It's worth it.