With a master's degree in finance and a position with a respected Wall Street investment bank, Lise Zettwuch seemingly had a life many people dream of.
Her firm relocated to Tampa in the early '90s, but after it moved its Florida branch back to New York, Zettwuch stayed here and took a position with local technology titan Tech Data.
But she was feeling unfulfilled, so she quit her job and left the corporate world to open , a decision she says she has never regretted.
“I was tired of the nine-to-five,” she recalls. “I had no flexibility, no time to be with my kids.
“There were no bead stores around at the time, so I decided to go beading.”
From Bank to Bead Shop
Despite being an expert who dealt mainly with numbers, Zettwuch says she always had a creative side, making her foray into the world of beading a natural transition following decades of rigid structure and analysis.
“I’ve always been creative, and I really should have followed that suit," she says. "But you can’t make money as an artist, so I went into a career that could pay the bills and feed my kids.
“I always thought if I could do something that I loved, and have the flexibility to enjoy life, it would be perfect.”
She started having that perfect life shortly after opening her shop upstairs from her current location in December 1999. Zettwuch says her beading business took off and continued to grow every month.
Soon, she had to relocate to a larger shop downstairs, and she has been there ever since.
Being at the forefront of the beading craze helped her forge an identity in the area, and her customer-friendly style and practices quickly won people over.
“I was one of the founding stores in the area, and I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I let my customers guide me toward what they wanted,” she says. “In fact, sitting and beading at these long wood tables was their idea. They didn’t want to just take the beads and go home. They wanted to use them right away.”
It's About More Than Just Beads
Over the years, Something About Beads has expanded to include other techniques such as metalsmiting, soldering, lamp work and polymer, or clay, forming.
Although the shop offers numerous classes and services, Zettwuch says the staff encourages people to explore their creative side.
"We have everything you need to get started, and we like to help people be creative," she says. "But we try to make people make it themselves because 99% of the time they're going to love it."
The shop now hosts events such as birthday parties, girls' nights out and even bridal parties.
It’s also a popular place during holidays, as Zettwuch says she has men come in with their kids to purchase and create gifts for their wives and moms.
The Best of Both Worlds
As the beading world has evolved, so has Zettwuch.
After deciding she needed to return to corporate life for the benefits such a career provides, she partnered with a former customer, Sandra Holt, to help her run the business.
"Lise asked if I'd like to work here, and it fit in with my schedule," Holt says. "I love it because beading is your own psychiatrist. It's therapeutic."
But just because Zettwuch has one foot back in the world of business suits and Powerpoints doesn’t mean she’s about to give up on the one aspect of her career that has brought her the most joy.
“I love what we do here. It’s peaceful," she reasons. "People come here and relax. They enjoy their time here, and they leave with something that’s one of a kind. So I have no regrets.”
Address: 3422 Tampa Road
Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday