Ruby Romano has been at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market with her business RuBeads for four years. Consistently vending at the market allows for SFAM vendors to establish a meaningful connection with the Sequim community.
Seasoned market guests might remember something unique about Romano’s relationship to the market, however: she first started her business when she was only 12 years old.
Now 16, Romano’s ambition and high-quality pieces are what make RuBeads stand out as a truly exceptional small business.
From RuBeads, you will find hand-beaded necklaces, bracelets, eyeglass holders and earrings. She’s recently added hand-sewn zipper pouches, sandwich wraps, reusable, bookmarks and dryer sheets.
“It’s constantly changing,” Romano says. “I started out with all beadwork, now I’m expanding into sewing. I make everything.”
Romano shares that her business is her primary outlet of self-expression, “I like picking out the beads and fabrics and being able to express myself in that way.
“It’s all super colorful; that’s what I really like in my work.”
Romano says she’s learned lessons from operating her own business that put her ahead of her peers.
“I pay my taxes on my own,” she says. “In my freshman year personal finance class, I remember the teacher saying, “In the future, you’re going to have to learn how to do this. I realized I was already doing those things!”
As for her social life, Romano values the flexibility RuBeads allows her.
“I try to spend at least a couple hours a day beading or sewing, but if a friend wants to hang out, I can just decide to go,” she says. “It’s great. It’s my business, I’m my own boss.”
Romano’s skill has grown impressively over her time as a youth vendor at the market.
“In the beginning, my work wasn’t at the level it is now,” she says. “I think people underestimated me. Initially, a lot of people seemed more impressed with my initiative to start my business. Now it’s the quality of work that I hear people comment on the most.”
She attributes RuBeads’ emerging reputation to her sharp attention to detail.
“Ever since I was little, I’ve always been an observer,” Romano says. “Because of that, I tend to catch things that others might not. I consider myself a perfectionist. I tend to redo things over and over.”
While her perfectionism helped Romano establish her high-quality standards, she shares she has also learned the value of relaxing into the process.
“The market has helped me let go of imperfection a little bit,” she says. “When I’m done with a piece and I notice that there’s one different shade bead, I’ve learned to let it go. I don’t need to take the whole piece apart.
“These details are part of what makes my work handmade and one of a kind.”
Romano has ambitions to one day open a business that features local artisans. But first she has some world traveling to do. Romano says she’s excited to explore northern Europe after high school.
For now, the folks of Sequim are lucky to have this gem of a small business.
“Being at the market has been a great opportunity for me,” Romano says. “I love what I do and the market is a place that allows me to keep doing it.”
Find RuBeads every Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market, located at Sequim Civic Center plaza, or on her Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/RuBeadsAndSewing).
Emma Jane Garcia is Marketing Manager for the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market. See www.sequimmarket.com.