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Creative creations and beautiful sentiments

Grassroots Tehachapi



Karen Lewis, known as Klew, is known internationally for her polymer jewelery.

My daughter and I started a fun tradition when we moved back to Tehachapi a couple of years ago. Mommy, daughter dates at The Spirited Bead.

It's one of those unique, tucked away businesses that makes Tehachapi a special place for me.

Karen Lewis, known as Klew, opened The Spirited Bead 19 years ago this May. Klew said customers encouraged the idea of a storefront after seeing her work at craft fairs. The idea took off and Klew and her assistant began working on the details.

"A year or so later when my husband and I both lost our moms, we pooled our resources and opened The Spirited Bead in honor of them," she said.

They opened on Mother's Day.

Growing up in Tehachapi, there was always a sad joke that stores and restaurants don't last long here. So if you have a favorite, be sure to visit it a lot while you have the chance. That's not the case with The Spirited Bead. It was bursting with fun purchases and creative creations back when I was still in my teens.

So what keeps it going strong?

"Commitment, drive, passion, customer service and stamina," Klew said.

While Klew and the gang at the bead shop are committed to the community here in Tehachapi, Klew said a lot of her business comes from out of town guests.

"Everyone who has come in has been happy to bring in their visiting friends. Although they claim my store is dangerous ... due to the wide variety of temptations," Klew said. "This being a small town really helps to keep our loyal customers, as well. Our out of town customer base is actually larger than our local one as I have an international following for my Art Beads, so I was kind of counting on that to keep us afloat."

The store is a lot to take in all at once because of so many beautiful and inspiring temptations. Thankfully, they have a staff of talented and patient people to help uncover the creativeness within us. They also host a variety of workshops, some by internationally known guest instructors.

"What I love about owning my own business is the ability to share my art and watch the growth within each customer as they develop and grow their style. It is a community within the community. We all help each other grow, myself included," Klew said.


Klew and her Art Beads are internationally known and appreciated.

Klew helped me with a very personal and sentimental bracelet. I had no idea what to do or what to make when I brought in a string from my dad's guitar. I just knew that I wanted to keep the string with me as a memory of him. She helped me find a style that was completely me and patiently helped me thread the beads on the delicate string. It was a special experience for me and left me with an amazing gift.

Over the years, she's had many special moments like this with the community.

Recently, "A gentleman from South Dakota came in to finish a piece for his niece that his brother didn't get to finish before he died and he wanted to honor his brother and do that for him. We had a nice afternoon as he shared his intimate story with me. We both shed a few tears that day and I will remember him fondly," she said.

Do you know an inspirational group, individual or program that should be featured in an upcoming Grassroots Tehachapi? Email me at

See you next time!


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