Outside looking in: An insightful view of the "Bead&Button" office

Posted by Cassie Donlen
on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

As I’m well into my third week here as associate editor for Bead&Button, I can happily sum up my entire experience thus far with just one word. Wow!

It’s amazing how such a small word like “wow” can express how I’ve felt during my short time here. Having been a contributor to several beading magazines and jewelry-making books throughout the years, I thought I had a pretty decent grasp on the publishing side of the beading industry. In some sense this is totally true, but I totally failed to grasp the magnitude of the in-depth amount of involvement from so many people and departments within the company that goes into making each issue of Bead&Button the best it can be.  It’s really quite impressive.

During my first few days, I kept thinking to myself, “Wow! This is all so cool. I bet there are tons of other beaders out there that would LOVE to see what goes on behind the scenes at Bead&Button. Who wouldn’t want to gain more insight of where the creators and editors of Bead&Button hang out every workday?” After approaching my boss, Julia Gerlach, about giving our blog readers a backstage tour of our offices, I grabbed my camera and started snapping a few photos. Now, if time and space were not an issue, I would love to give you the entire grand tour of Kalmbach Publishing Co. as the building is large and holds way too much talent. But to be as brief as possible, I will keep today’s photos contained to just our small area of Bead&Button. Think of it as an outsider’s view looking in. Now you can develop a better mental image and make a deeper connection with the magazine that you so love.

photo a

Behold the Bead&Button offices. This area contains the offices for the editor, Julia Gerlach, and the three associate editors Connie Whittaker, Stacy Werkheiser, and yours truly (photo a). Only the window frame of Julia’s office is visible on the right side of the photo. Us associate editors are like three ducklings in a row following Julia’s lead. In my case though, I’m the baby duckling and frequently ask Connie and Stacy for advice and guidance. I figure if I spread it all out between the three of them, it won’t be so obvious that I’m asking a lot of questions. Smart move right? 

Straight down towards the end of our hallway on the left-hand side is where you will find Lora Groszkiewicz, the editorial assistant for Bead&Button (photo b). She is like the hub of the office and takes care of all the phone calls, emails, article proposals, and contracts. She also gets first dibs on admiring all the amazing jewelry pieces that arrive in the mail! Yep, she is one lucky gal. She also is brimming with information and her upbeat, bubbly personality is quite contagious. 

photo b

The editorial offices for Bead Style are at the very end of our hallway past Lora’s desk. Art Jewelry is on the opposite side of Bead&Button. It’s amazing to be surrounded by all things bead and jewelry related. But I also enjoy revealing that the Cabin Life editors sit right between Bead&Button and Art Jewelry. I call it where the beaders go for retreats. A logical thought, right?

Let me zoom in to share a view of my office (photo c). It is very clean at the moment since I just moved in. Maybe I should share a photo a few months from now to see how nested I have become. I love the view outside overlooking the pretty green field that is brimming with white Queen Ann’s Lace flowers. Yes, I know it can be considered a weed but an entire field of them is quite pretty. Hmmm… that just had me realizing that the color white might be a common sight from my window year-round. I guess I'm a bit apprehensive about my first winter here in Milwaukee. From what I hear, once the snow arrives it never melts until spring. Yep, insert the word “Wow” right here too. 

photo c

Now we can move on to more entertaining areas. I present to you the Crown Jewels of Bead&Button (photo d). Well, I’m not sure what this case is officially called but in my mind’s eye, that seems perfectly appropriate. A huge feature of each Bead&Button issue is the fact that each project is fully tested and remade by the editors. This is our way of guaranteeing that each project’s instructions are 100% accurate. This case displays some of the editors’ remakes from both the printed magazine and the online B&B Extra, which, by the way, is great feature for subscribers, showcasing additional free projects with each new issue. 

photo d)

I would be remiss without showing you our playground (photo e). A room stuffed full with all things bead related, for me it's the equivalent of getting new monkey bars on the playground in third grade. This is just a partial view of the room. There are so many beads, findings, tools, and what nots that the thought briefly crossed my mind that I might become buried in here. Just a big avalanche of beads cascading down upon me. Thankfully, beads don’t weight much and I could pick and choose my favorites while digging myself out. 

photo e

Finally, the truly most important part of Bead&Button is right here in this photo — story kits (photo f). Each project from every issue of Bead&Button gets assigned to an editor. The editor is responsible for creating a kit that houses most of the relevant hard copy information pertaining to each project (a lot of the process of course is done digitally but the kits are how the entire process is tracked). During the editorial process, each kit will get routed to all four of us editors to proof for accuracy. The kit also gets routed to the art department for layout and design, and includes input from the illustration department if illustrations are involved, and photos from the photography department. Needless to say there are a lot of deadlines to be met, which is a good thing as it keeps the entire process rolling smoothly along. 

photo f

I’m looking forward to experiencing the entire editorial process from start to finish. We had a fun staff meeting last week where we divied up the projects for the February 2015 issue. We all played nicely and didn’t fight over who got assigned to each project. It helps having a great selection to choose from most certainly. Can you believe that we are already working all the way into February?

Well, I hope you have enjoyed seeing a new perspective on the operations behind Bead&Button. I couldn’t wait to share with our blog readers, as I just knew it would totally pique your interest. If you would like to read more background information about the entire Bead&Button team, please visit our website on the meet the staff page.

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