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Notable Minnesota Moms:Kristi Anderson and Stephanie Nelson


By Julie Burton

Kristi Anderson and Stephanie Nelson both have a "thing" for jewelry. And after many years of being unable to find pieces that they really liked in any stores, they decided it was time to design their own. As it happened, while Stephanie was visiting her father at the University of Minnesota hospital, a nurse taught her how to make jewelry, using the proper tools and techniques, and Stephanie taught Kristi what she learned. The two women began shopping for beads, and creating jewelry that they enjoyed wearing. They sold their pieces in their store, The Wobbly Moose in Nisswa, MN, where they also sold custom-painted ceramics. As the demand for their jewelry took off, they decided to close the store and focus solely on jewelry making. And this was how farahbean (childhood nicknames combined to create the company name) came to be.

Kristi explains that much of her creative inspiration comes from the "actual bead." "I love the beads, the color, the texture, the shape," Kristi says. "It's fun to see it transform into something someone wears and loves." Their jewelry does not commit to one particular style. "You can wear our jewelry with jeans and a t-shirt or to a formal event, it's very versatile, says Kristi. And their ideas come from a variety of sources. "Anything can really tip us off, a magazine picture or someone on T.V.," Kristi explains.
And other than being somewhat guided by the current clothing trend as far as determining whether a necklace will be long or short, Kristi and Stephanie mostly create jewelry they like, and that they would wear.

Kristi and Stephanie thoroughly enjoy and are motivated by the creative process that they share. "Kristi and I love to collaborate - besides coming up with the ideas together, it is just great fun to be able to work with my best friend," Stephanie says. "Now that we have been designing jewelry for roughly seven years, we have made lasting relationships with vendors from all over the country. For the past two years, we have bought the majority of our beads from the Gem and Bead Show in Tucson, AZ. Walking the shows and meeting people evokes inspiration for our designs."


Stephanie feels fortunate that her love for design evolved into a small business. The complaint she hears most from her husband and children is that the beads are taking over the kitchen counter. That being said, they wouldn't change having their mom work from home.

Kristi also likes that her sons and daughter get to see that in addition to being "mom," she is also "artist" and "business owner." "My daughter has said she would like to work for me one day, and I've told her she can take over [the business] with Stephanie's daughter. My sons like to look through my beads, and my oldest has actually put pieces together for me to sell. I think this helps the boys realize they don't need to always be macho and tough, and can have a respect for and enjoy beautiful pieces of art."

Although Stephanie and Kristi do not do any "official" marketing, they have managed to sell their pieces to jewelry in boutiques in Minnesota, Arizona, Texas and Florida. Local stores include Nordstrom at the Mall of America in Bloomington; Juut in Wayzata; Grethen House/N'etc., Gallery 360 and Blue Bird in Edina; and Ivy and Karma in Minneapolis. They also do occasional trunk shows.

To add your name to their mailing list and for more information on their jewelry, send an e-mail to andykristi@aol.com.
Kristi lives in Long Lake, MN, with her husband and three children, and Stephanie lives in Lakeshore, MN, with her husband and two children.

Categories: Advice, Ideas & Stories, MomShare,

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