Ordering Questions (previously FAQ)
Frequently Asked Questions
For information on shipping and returns, click here. For answers to other frequent questions, scroll down.
On September 12, 2021, we moved to a new ecommerce platform. The new site has greater functionality that allows us to offer you a better shopping experience. We hope you enjoy the new site. There are some small hurdles that may impact customers.
1. If you have a customer account, you will need to reset your password.
2. Your order history from the previous platform is not available in your customer account. If you need to see your order history, you can search your order confirmation in your email inbox or contact us.
3. If you have a gift card that was issued prior to 9/12/21, the code you received will not work on this site. Of course, we will still honor your gift card balance. Please contact us. There are a few different ways we can input your gift card balance and we want to use the method that's easiest for you personally.
Do you charge sales tax?
Yes, we are required, by law, to charge sales tax to all orders shipping to Michigan and Wisconsin addresses. At this time, we are not required to collect sales tax on orders shipped to other states. This may change in future, as our business grows.
Tax Exempt Organizations (tribal governments, schools, colleges/universities, non-profits, etc) in Michigan and Wisconsin
We can create a customer account for your organization and manually set you as tax exempt. This is the only way to avoid being charged sales tax at checkout. Fill out this form with your information for us to get started.
If you are located outside Michigan/Wisconsin - if your shipping address is outside these two states, you will not be charged sales tax. You can still fill out the tax exempt account request form and send your exemption documentation to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resident Tribal Members
If you are an enrolled tribal member residing on a reservation in Wisconsin and are therefore tax exempt, let us know in the order comments. Your order must be shipping to your on-reservation address. We’ll need your tribal affiliation and your tribal id # for our records and we will remove the sales tax from your order and adjust your payment.
Michigan Resident Tribal Members - you are still charged sales tax. You can apply for your annual sales tax refund with MI Form 4013, which is available from your tribal government's designated tax office.
Tribes, Colleges/Universities, K-12 Schools, Non-Profits
We're happy to work with your purchasing contact or team to get you the cultural materials you need to best serve your community. Please fill out this form if you require paperwork from us to become a vendor in your purchasing system. We prefer payment by debit/credit card. We can acquire materials not listed on our website and are able to submit quotes/bids, if your organization requires.
Can you match beads?
We can try! You can send us 5-6 beads sewn onto a piece of paper or cloth. (Please do not send loose beads). Be sure to include your name and contact information. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not checking our PO Box as frequently. Please let us know if you send a sample; that way, we’ll know to make a trip to the post office.
Mail samples to:
Bead & Powwow Supply
PO Box 1570
Mt Pleasant, MI 48804-1570
Do you have a catalog?
No. We are Millenials and don’t understand how print catalog ordering works. Or how to make a catalog. Or why…. All of our inventory is online at this website.
Do you offer discounts?
Sign up for our newsletter. We frequently send out coupons. We also offer bulk discounts on beads, rhinestone banding, fabric, and stickers. Click here to read details.
What tribe runs this business?
Bead & Powwow Supply is owned by Ellie Mitchell, who is Anishinaabe (Eagle Clan) and an enrolled member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe is made up of the Saginaw Bay, Black River, and Swan Creek bands of Anishinaabeg, whose homelands cover the shores of Lake Huron from just north of present-day Detroit to areas around present-day Alpena and west to the middle of lower present-day Michigan. The Saginaw Bay, Black River, and Swan Creek Anishinaabeg were signatories to the 1819 Treaty of Saginaw. Later treaties in 1855 and 1864 established the modern Isabella Indian Reservation in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Bead & Powwow Supply warehouse and office are physically situated within those original treaty boundaries.
Besides Ellie, Bead & Powwow Supply staff have represented a number of tribes, including other Saginaw Chippewa members and descendants, several Odawa tribes of Michigan, and some non-indigenous folk.
I'm not Indigenous. Can I still purchase from you?
Absolutely. We happily welcome business from anyone (except Enbridge, war criminals, and the owner's former spouse). Anishinaabeg hold certain items sacred and feel they should not be sold/shared, so we simply don't sell those things. Anything on this site is open for intertribal purchase. While we welcome business from anyone, please note that we are Indigenous folks who specialize in Indigenous beadwork and art. We may not be able to answer questions about other styles of beadwork, though we will try to help you to our best ability.
Please also note that purchasing from an Indigenous woman-owned company does not absolve the purchaser of racism, colonialism, sexism, domestic violence, or cultural appropriation. Purchasing from Bead & Powwow Supply does not imply that the company and its owner or staff, condone or support any acts, speech, or attitudes of previous or current customers.
Can you tell me about beadwork from ___ tribe?
No, because we are not from ___ tribe. We have no right to speak about the traditions, art, teachings of other peoples. Please see above question which explains the community affiliations of the staff of Bead & Powwow Supply.
Then, can you tell me about Anishinaabe beadwork?
Technically, we could, but we're not going to, unless we know you (and even then, maybe not). Anishinaabeg, like other Indigenous peoples, have rules about knowledge. Knowledge is earned and doesn't need to be known by everyone. Also, we highly value humility and do not hold with ideas of expertise, especially for people at our lifestage. Lastly, Indigenous cultures and art are often exploited by outsiders and we don't want to contribute to that (for an example see basically any history book).
That said, click here for a list of books, museums, classes that focus on Indigenous (mostly Anishinaabe) beadwork and art. This list might be very helpful for students who need academic sources.
Are you gonna go to ___ powwow/art show/gathering?
At this point, we are focusing on ecommerce. Any plans travel, pop-up shops, art shows, storefronts, etc, are on the back-burner while this public health crisis continues.
Can I change my order when it is placed?
Yes, if you Contact Us within 24 hours or sooner of the time your order was placed. We try to get orders out as soon as possible and we cannot guarantee that requested changes can be made more than 24 hours after the order is placed. Once orders are shipped, they cannot be changed.
Can I order over the phone?
Ordering online is faster. We do accept phone orders. Please remember that we are a small family-run business and business matters often take us away from the phone. If we do not answer right away, please leave a message with your full name or email and we will return your call.
Your website says ___ item is out of stock, but I was wondering if you have some in your warehouse...
In a word, no. Unlike many of our competitors, our business model was designed around ecommerce. That means that our website is our main selling space and everything we have is listed on here. We also use software to make sure online stock levels are accurate. What’s on the website is what we have. This is especially true with 16/0 Seed Beads, 13/0 and 15/0 Charlottes, and all of the stock from Beader’s Paradise. We don’t have secret stock piles of these items reserved for customers who use the right word combination - we promise. That would be a pretty good way to go out of business.
Note, there are occasional exceptions to this. Sometimes, requested items are en route to us, or just arrived. This is most likely to happen with things like needles, certain 11/0 and 10/0 Seed Beads, and 11/0 2-cuts. However, as the coronavirus pandemic continues, even that is becoming less likely. So, it doesn’t hurt to ask us, but don’t be surprised when the answer is “no.”
When are you getting more stock of ___?
We're trying to keep our shelves stocked with beads, thread, needles, and all the other items you've come to rely on us for. It's become an increasingly difficult task since March 2020. You can read more in-depth and candid reflections on business on our blog. We order inventory every week but we honestly don't know what will receive until we open the boxes. Here's some tips for bead shopping during this time of supply chain disruption.
- Sign up for the notifications on the item page. You will receive an email when that item is back in stock. We also use that list to prioritize purchasing items, so this is highly recommended.
- If something you need is in stock and you have money, order the item. We cannot predict when items sell out or when we'll get more. It's not uncommon for us to send out 40+ hanks of a single bead in one order. We may be well-stocked on Tuesday and have empty bins by Wednesday.
- Be flexible with your color choices. If one yellow is out, maybe it's a good time to experiment with another. After a decade of selling beads, we've noticed there are two methods on this issue: those flexible on color and those insistent on certain finish/color combos. Both are valid ways of approaching beads and beadwork. We respect both but will note here those who are more flexible seem a lot more satisfied with their end products and life in general. Take from that what you will.
- If you are planning a large project, like an adult set of powwow beadwork, plan ahead. If you can't get enough beads for all the fill, be strategic. If moccasins and leggings have different dye lots in the fill, it will be very noticeable because they're close together. But hairties and moccasins with different fill would hardly be noticeable to the casual observer.
- Contact us. We're no longer able to offer beads by the 1/2 kilo or full kilo because of the supply chain chaos. But we still happy to help you find what you need. Just please be understanding if it takes us months to do what used to take days.
Do you sell wholesale?
No, we offer our products at retail only. We offer bulk discounts on several categories of products. Click here for more info.
Please note that many businesses use “wholesale” as a marketing buzzword on offerings that are not really wholesale. Check out our listings. Many of our items are priced similarly or lower than some companies’ “wholesale.”
What are dye lots?
Beads are made in batches, which occasionally yield varying results in color. This phenomenon is known in the industry as "dye lot variation." At any given time, we may have multiple dye lots within the same color of bead. Our policy is to offer the same dye lot to fulfill an order but sometimes, we don't have enough to meet your needs. In this case, we will send you multiple dye lots. If you order the same bead from us multiple times, you may receive different dye lots.
What size thread should I get?
Not sure what size thread you need for your beading project? Check out this helpful guide we've created. Click here!