Two businesses open, work together


Two businesses, one space.

SD Chic Beads and Brookings Custom Image came together to open their businesses in one location at 419 Main Ave. on Sept. 2. 

“By combining our shops it works out great because if I need to go work in my shop on something I can go and somebody’s still here to run the shop,” said Karen VanderWal, the owner and artist of SD Chic Beads.

SD Chic Beads and Custom Embroidery and Screen print share a space but are two different business. SD Chic Beads is a self-owned and ran business. VanderWal does not have any employees. She designs, makes and sells are of her own products. Custom Embroidery and Screen prints is owned by Brenda Pitts.

“We’re still trying to figure out what the hours of the store will be,” VanderWal said.

VanderWal said someone will be in the store from around 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. but the hours are still fluctuating.

Pitts and VanderWal got to know each other at the Brookings Arts Festival and through Pitts having some of her products in one of VanderWal’s previous store locations.

According to VanderWal, the store on 419 Main Ave. is her third downtown location. She had a holiday store and a store on Third Street.

“My entire life I have always been happiest when I have been creating things with color and texture,” VanderWal said.

She makes necklaces, earrings, bracelets, custom jewelry and products made out of buffalo leather.

“They get really happy when something matches their eyes or makes their outfit. It’s fun to see their faces light up when they see a piece that speaks to them,” VanderWal said.

Paula Kurtenbach, a lecturer at SDSU, said she first saw Vanderwal’s products at a horse show. 

“I think she has excellent quality at a reasonable price. Her products last a long time and they make great gifts,” Kurtenback said. 

Pitts is able to knit, screen print and embroider. She can add monograms, lettering and words onto various products including but not limited to towels, clothing and blankets. She also has all of the rights to make the SDSU custom logos.

“As the equestrian team, we’ve used Brookings Custom image since it opened [six years ago],” said Natalie Gilbert, the graduate assistant of Intercollegiate Athletics.

According to Pitts, it can take “five minutes to four months” to design and stitching can take “two minutes to five hours.”

“That’s what I like about this shop business because there’s so much to learn,” VanderWal said.

VanderWal said she started her business in the late 90s and she has been doing art festivals and shows since the late 2000s. In addition to having her own shop, she wholesales to different types of business across the state.

“I didn’t expect to meet as many people and make as many really close, good friends as I have. That’s been the best part of the journey so far.”