When you buy as many jewelry beads online as I do, you often learn how to spot a good deal when you see one. I often look for the cheapest price per bead when I’m comparative shopping a different online jewelry supply sites, but lately I’ve been paying a lot more attention to online beading stores that offer free or discounted shipping.
Shipping charges can be especially expensive if you’re only ordering a small number of beads. I once ordered $10.00 worth of beads and jewelry supplies (seed beads) through a website and ended up paying $8.50 just to ship them! That means my cost per piece nearly doubled by the time my order was complete.
There are, however, some quality jewelry supply websites that offer free or incredibly inexpensive shipping on a regular basis, and those are online beads stores I find myself going back to more and more! Here are a few:
Artbeads.com – FREE shipping with no minimum order: I don’t know if this was always the case or not, but Artbeads.com now offers free standard shipping on any order for the United States. That means that you can buy $1.00 worth of beading supplies and, as long as you don’t mind a short wait, you’ll get it shipped to you for free! They also offer free priority shipping on any orders of $75 or more, which I’ve taken advantage of a couple times in order to get a jump start on a big craft show that I decided to attend at the last minute. Artbeads is quickly becoming one of my favorite online stores to shop at for jewelry supplies because it’s easy to navigate and has a great selection. They also offer $1.00 shipping to Canada and have some relatively inexpensive international shipping rates as well.
CreateForLess.com – Free shipping on $100 or more: If you’re buying a lot of craft or jewelry supplies, then you may want to consider taking advantage of free standard shipping at CreateForLess. They offer free standard shipping on any orders of $100 or over. This isn’t quite as generous as the shipping offer from Artbeads, so I tend to keep a list of items I need from CreateForLess and then order them all at once to get the free shipping when I can. The nice thing about CreateForLess is that they do offer much more than just jewelry and beads, so if you’re a particularly “crafty” person with a lot of different interests and creative endeavors, then you might be able to get a lot of your shopping done in one place! And don’t worry if you are primarily a bead jewelry maker: they put all their beading a jewelry making supplies under one category so they’re easy to find!
Amazon.com – Select Free Shipping on Bead and Jewelry Supply Orders: Amazon.com’s shipping policy is a little more complex than the previous two examples, but you can still get free shipping on a lot of beading and jewelry supplies. Amazon.com is famous for it’s $25 or more free standard shipping pledge, the free shipping only applies to items that are fulfilled by Amazon.com. That means that if you go to Amazon.com and order a dozen different things (a few CDs, some beads, some house supplies, a pair of shoes) then some of the items in your order may come with free shipping, but some may carry an additional shipping fee.
One bonus trick with Amazon.com: if you really find yourself in a bind and need your jewelry supplies quickly from Amazon.com, then you may be able to sign up for a free one-month trial of Amazon prime. That gives you free two-day shipping with no minimum on a variety of Amazon.com stocked and supplied items. If you don’t like the service, then you can cancel it within 30 days. If you do like the service and find yourself ordering a lot of things from Amazon, then it only costs $79 per year and it can substantially decrease your shipping costs if you regularly order things with express shipping from Amazon.
Remember that “standard” shipping is usually the slowest way to get your package, so don’t rely on the free shipping offers if you positively need something quickly. I’ve had standard shipping orders take 3 days to arrive and I’ve had them take 13 days to arrive! There are just a number of shipping factors that you can rarely control.
But for the price (free!) I would strongly recommend going with as many free or discounted shipping deals as you can when you’re order your beads. That will lower your cost of production and may, in some cases, even allow you to sell your jewelry for a little less than you normally would.