Ava Motherwell began to travel around the United States doing trunk shows at shops and in hotel suites. She also sold her beads at the New York Fashion Boutique, the Rosen Show, bead society shows, gem shows, and the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle Gift Shows. But since she was frequently the only bead exhibitor, she felt out of place and frustrated because only a few buyers were looking for beads. In 1992, to specifically attract bead buyers, Ava put her first one-day bead show together in Washington D.C. with 8 vendors: “Ava Motherwell Presents….”
In September 1993, Ava met a representative of Colored Stone Magazine. Ava talked about organizing a show in Tucson, Arizona in February of 1994. Colored Stone told her that if she did a show, they would list in in their Show Guide. As soon as she returned home, she contacted her bank, took out a business loan, called the Windmill Inn in Tucson, and booked a three-day show. Next, Ava called bead colleagues and friends. Some of the vendors from that first show are still with her today, including Andrea Guarino, The Bead Goes On, Marilyn Berg, and Talisman Associates. That first show was swamped with customers every day. People were thrilled because this was the only exclusively bead show among the several gem, mineral, and fossil shows in Tucson. Due to this success, Ava added a second Whole Bead Show the same year in Monterey, California. By the third year, Ava was organizing seven Whole Bead Shows throughout the United States.
As they say….the rest was history.
(Article excerpt written by Alice Korach