Beading has been part of my life ever since I was in middle school. It wasn’t until sophomore year of high school that beading became a creative endeavor to me. Many friends and family liked some of the jewelry I made and I even managed to sell some of my bracelets. However, back then I never thought I’d get the chance to one day interview Bead Style’s editor-in-chief, Naomi Fujimoto.
Bead Style, a sister publication of “Bead&Button,” is a beading magazine produced by Kalmbach Publishing. The magazine has become a hit with beginner beaders and people in search for creative expression. It offers a large collection of easy but challenging beading projects, beading techniques and information, and interesting articles on talented beaders. As a beader myself, I was thrilled and especially nervous as I entered the Kalmbach building. Naomi greeted me in the lobby and showed me the way to the beading room where the staff creates some of the beading projects for the magazine. The room was filled with boxes stuffed with different beads. It was paradise; there is nothing more exciting to a beader than a room full of beads. Walking into her office, I was greeted by an excellent collection of beads scattered on a desk. I was sure Naomi was working on a new project. There were so many beautiful beads, it was rather difficult not making something right then myself.
Naomi earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degrees in sociology and in human development and social policy. After finishing her studies out of state, she moved back to Milwaukee in 1999 and worked in market research. About four years later, in 2003, Bead Style was preparing for its launch in the fall. With the encouragement of a friend who worked at Kalmbach Publishing, Naomi applied as an associate editor for Bead Style and was hired on to the team. Over the years, she has worked hard and climbed all the way to the top to the editor-in-chief position.
I was surprised to see how friendly Naomi was. I often thought that the publishing industry was very harsh and most employees were too busy or stressed out to be amicable people. “It’s not like the Devil Wears Prada.” Naomi said. I laughed and nodded because she hit the very idea I had in mind. Although I’m sure there are publishing jobs out there that are as harsh like in the movie, it’s comforting to know that not all publishing jobs are like that.
Naomi emphasized how much she loves working with her co-workers and how important teamwork is. The job of an editor has changed over the years, especially because of technology. It is more demanding and requires a lot of skills and multitasking. With the help of her co-workers, Naomi can do her job more efficiently. “My coworkers are very smart and creative,” she said. “My manager is also very supportive.”
I had a wonderful experience with Naomi. I learned many new things about the publishing industry and what it means to be an editor. It was more than just an interview, it was a casual conversation between two people. I was happy to connect with her in other things such as blogging and beading ideas. Because Naomi offered so much insight on publishing and beading, I’ve compiled some tips for people interested in submitting their projects to the magazine.
ANY LEVEL IS WELCOMED
Bead Style doesn’t look at you’re beading level. If you have a project you think is easy, pretty, fashionable, and matches with the theme of the magazine, try submitting it. Bead Style won’t reject you only because you’re a beginner or too advanced at beading.
Bead style receives an enormous amount of submissions. Many are not accepted simply because the product (bracelet, earrings, etc) resembles or uses similar techniques and beadwork as others who have been published. Turning in something unique and creative is important.
WRITING IS HARD
If you can’t write instructions for your project, that’s ok. Show and explain how to make your project and Bead Style will help you by writing clear instructions for the publication.
KNOW THE MAGAZINE
If you really want to submit something, know what the magazine is about. Get a subscription or if you’re unsure, buy a copy of an issue and study what the magazine is about. Look at what’s been accepted in the past. Do some online research on the magazine. Make sure to look at the magazine’s website and look for their submission guidelines.
Producing the magazine takes a lot of time and effort. Everything is done months before the magazine for every issue is published (ex. May’s spring issue was probably already put together last year). Make sure to know what they are currently accepting.
LESS IS MORE
Sending links to your blogs or online stores shows Bead Style what you can provide, but they want you to choose what designs you think fit well with the magazine. Make sure to go through your projects, read what the magazine is about and choose a few projects you’d like to turn in. Can’t choose just a few, you always have other chances to submit work.
CONTACT AN EDITOR
Be sure to get in contact with an editor so they know who you are and that you’re interested in submitting. Check the magazine’s website first before attempting to contact an editor individually. Most magazine websites now-a-days have submission guidelines and editors’ contact information for you to communicate through or ask questions.
REJECTION IS NATURAL
Don’t take it personally if your project or design is rejected. Sometimes submitters turn in amazing work but the magazine already has a set amount of projects to put in the magazine for that issue or your design doesn’t fit the theme of the magazine too well. With so many submissions and requirements, there are countless submissions that have to be rejected.
DON’T GIVE UP
If you don’t get into the magazine the first time you submit, you can always try again.
With these tips, I hope that many of you will have the motivation to submit a project idea to Bead Style whether “beading is life” to you or if you think this would be a fun experience. As for me, perhaps I’ll consider submitting a beading project one day, but for now I’m just happy I got the opportunity to meet such a nice woman like Naomi.