Ornamentea began as Bedizen Ornaments, a jewelry designing company, started by Cynthia Deis in the kitchen of a tiny pink house in Raleigh, North Carolina. Cynthia loved making pretty accessories out of vintage buttons, antique copper chain and hand dyed ribbons and she shared her creations with the world under the trade name, Bedizen. She began selling her work to one local boutique in 1995 and within a year found herself in Manhattan, taking orders from boutiques and catalogs all around the world. Beads and trims filled the pink house and her patient husband saw his back yard draped in ribbon drying from a fresh dye bath and his bathroom sink filled with chain soaking to remove years of accumulated gunk before being fashioned into some thing new and pretty. The cats slept on the shipping boxes; the delivery guy learned that if no one answered the door he could walk around back and see the entire staff having a meeting on the back porch. The business soon outgrew that kitchen counter and moved to a little studio in downtown Raleigh. Cynthia still walked to work, but now she needed to wear shoes.
The studio space was on a busy downtown street in an area that was undergoing a renaissance. New bistros and nightclubs sprouted and the sidewalks got a bit busier. Cynthia’s patient husband, Galen, took a sabbatical from his job to see if he could help her get through a busy season of catalog orders and trade shows. He quickly realized that their unused front room in the studio would make a perfect bead store. Galen spent his first month away from the button-downed corporate world wearing a tool belt and wielding a drill, but after a few very late nights Ornamentea was born. The first store was only nine feet wide and barely six feet deep. The walls were filled with beads from Cynthia’s collection and her favorite things; soap from France, flat Chinese silk shoes, colorful wooden flowers, Mexican tote bags. The store became a hit and within two years Galen had enlarged it time and time again and a new location seemed necessary.
Ornamentea moved to the current location in 2002. When Cynthia and Galen first found the building their friends were incredulous. It was a worn-down looking metal building with a forbidding industrial garage door, chipped tan paint job and neglected swath of grass. They painted it a bright apple green (since weathered to a neon green!) and got to work adding vintage wall-paper, trim, molding and three pick-up truck loads of plants. Since ‘new’ store fittings didn’t appeal to Cynthia, Kim Joris was enlisted to make custom furniture out of old shutters, doors and salvaged trim. The store seemed so big (1600 square feet!) that they’d never fill it up!
Since Ornamentea opened it has indeed filled up; with beads, ribbon, metals, jewelry making supplies and more. There is a large work table for beading, a couch for relaxing, and a classroom that is decorated like your grandma’s living room. Beads are still found in old jelly jars but there are now thousands of strands of glass, crystal, pearls and stones. The whole space is inspirational, with book shelves made of old shutters, walls papered with vintage magazine pages and lighting made from recycled tin cans.
In 2005, Cynthia and Galen decided to expand their store family by adding a second store in north Raleigh. For years, Cynthia had dabbled with book making and paper arts and this store would provide a home for crafts of that kind, as well as other items that Ornamentea could not accommodate. Panopolie opened in August of 2005 with a line around the corner of the shopping center of eager crafters. The walls were filled with a different mix of beads and jewelry making supplies, plus paper from Nepal, Italy and Japan, scrap booking supplies from 7Gypsies, and felt and felting supplies. Panopolie is also inspirational, with walls collaged to look like sketch book pages and painted with quotes and freehand sketches. Visitors love the special programs, like the late night crafting slumber parties or early morning mom-and-kid crafting breakfasts. After 4 and a half great years, Cynthia and Galen made the difficult decision to focus their efforts into Ornamentea, and Panopolie closed it's doors on April 30, 2010.