Who are you? & can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Paulena Gidda and I am the owner of Bullets n Beads. I am also a 23 year serving police officer who grew up in a same British Columbia community and currently reside in Vancouver B.C.
What exactly is Bullets N’ Beads?
Bullets n Beads is an ethically based jewelry brand that utilizes previously fired bullet and bullet casings, semi precious stones and Swarovski crystals to create unique jewelry. Partial proceeds of sales are donated to organizations that assist other first responders and veterans dealing with ptsd along with causes near and dear to our heart.
What inspired you to start Bullets N’ Beads?
I started Bullets n’ Beads as a means to deal with my own ptsd after a serious car accident that left me unable to exercise. The act of creating with my hands and filling my mind in a creative manner allowed me to subside my symptoms.
I started to up-cycle bullet casings and full bullets and people started to comment and want to buy them. Around the same time I lost some dear friends to ptsd and decided this had to stop, there had to be help out there and created Bullets n’ Beads. I have a long history in the family of military, police and fire personnel this seemed to the perfect solution.
How did you come up with the name?
I actually didn’t…My husbands friend came up with the name and it just kinda stuck so we ran with it…
Part of your proceeds assist first responders and veterans dealing with PTSD, can you tell us about that?
10% of all proceeds of sales regardless of whether it’s on line, at a pop up or in store is donated to a worthy organization to assist in our communities. My brand ambassador is Karen Lee Batten who is a NC country music award winner and a incredible humanitarian for community causes so Bullets n Beads has been fortunate enough to have involved in fundraisers for cancer, wildfire relieve, flood relieve on top of ptsd awareness.
Is there a favorite product?
My favorite piece is my Angel Tears. I utilize a full 7mm bullet which is wrapped in laser etched filigree metal and looked like a teardrop. It’s beautiful, elegant but powerful. I don’t mass produce pieces but this is one of my reoccurring best sellers and is also created in memory of a dear friend who took his life due to ptsd.
What is your favorite part about running Bullets N’ Beads?
My favorite part…That each jewelry piece is handmade, from real ammo, by a veteran and are limited release pieces… How many companies can say that and when I see someone wearing a piece I know they know that! That’s special.
What is your least favorite part about running BulletsN’Beads?
There is just never enough time to do and complete the ideas in my head! I always feel like I’m behind… I probably am which makes me feel like the company could be further, bigger, better, etc… Time.. Never enough
How do you spread the word about your company?
There’s always Instagram and Facebook but I am a very hands on person. This company is me and I believe that successful businesses needs a face that started and have a purpose as to why it started. There has to be a heart and soul with an honest story and it can’t be about money. For me it’s a cause! I attend every event, market, fundraiser that I feel is aligned with our business and speak with everyone and anyone I can!
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
Growing up my Dad had always told me several things that I remember to this day…
1)You can do anything you put your mind to but you have to work hard for it because the world doesn’t owe you anything.
2)Know your worth. People treat you how you let them treat you
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
To any young female out there thinking of starting a business, it’s scary it’s hard but it’s what you make it. What you put in is what you are going to get out. Know your strength and weaknesses and learn from them to be a better person, boss and leader in the community. If you have a chance to help a person or a buck. .. Help a person it will come back tenfold. .. Karma.