Glittering beads, charms and baubles are a way of life for Concord's "Bead Lady."
Kathleen Reeder opened up her shop, "The Bead Lady," eight years ago in downtown Concord.
After 17 years as a chef, Reeder said she "took a break and took a job as a hostess at the speedway club."
While working at the speedway club, she worked her way up to the boutique in the club, where she began to work with jewelry.
Reeder soon realized she enjoyed creating jewelry and began drawing up plans to start her own jewelry boutique. Within two weeks of deciding to start her own business, Reeder signed a lease for a building on Cabarrus Avenue.
Today, Reeder owns and operates her jewelry boutique on Union Street in the heart of downtown. Her boutique offers thousands beads of every shape, size and color. She has beads made out of glass, gemstones, wood, ostrich eggshells and even recycled records. Customers come in to Reeder's shop and choose beads to make a customized piece of jewelry. Customers can also choose from many pieces of jewelry that Reeder and members of her staff design in the shop.
"I know it is the Burger King slogan, but we definitely live by the motto, 'have it your way' here at the shop," she said.
Even though Reeder stays very busy as a store owner, jewelry designer and mother of two, she still finds time to give back to her community. Reeder and her staff support several charities throughout the year through jewelry designs, events and discount prices.
"The Bead Lady" is currently involved in the "Light up a Life" campaign, a fundraiser for the Hospice and Palliative Care of Cabarrus County. Reeder and her staff provide handcrafted angel ornaments which people can purchase. The proceeds go toward the Hospice and Palliative Care of Cabarrus County to help people living with life-limiting illnesses.
She also hosted an event for the Children's Tumor Foundation, where 20 percent of the proceeds from the event were donated to the foundation.
Another charity Reeder is passionate about is Miss Jackie's Treasures of Truth, a multifaceted aid-organization. She donates jewelry and jewelry designs to Miss Jackie, which she then sells to help support several mission trips to South Africa. Reeder also sponsors other groups in the community including local softball teams, animal shelters and even Miss North Carolina. Reeder and her partner, Justin Reeder, have two boys, 5-year-old Wyatt and 8-year-old Gabriel. Reeder started the business when Wyatt was three days old. She has been committed since the start.