About John Bead


John Bead has undergone significant changes since being founded in 1954 to become the bead empire it is today. Here, you will discover an abundance of high-quality products, from beads and crafting supplies, to the most popular jewelry components. John Bead is an established wholesaler, selling to retailers, manufacturers, distributors and resellers with a business license. Customers can visit and purchase in our showroom in Toronto. 

1953 - 1977

Our journey begins with Fritz and Betsy John as the couple moved to Canada in 1953 from the Czech Republic to Toronto Ontario. The business originated in the family home as it first imported pointed and cushion back stones that the John family hand-set into brooches and sold as finished pieces. Through innovation, inspiration and drive, they began trading Czech Seed Beads, inspired by Fritz’s parents who worked in those factories back home. They hoped to introduce the quality and timeless elegance of Czech crystal culture into the world of western DIY crafts and design.

1977 - 1983

The company found a home for its first commercial location on Spadina Avenue in Toronto’s Fashion District. Solidifying their mark through innovation in the 60’s, such as being the only source able to supply the demanding textile industry with Czech and Japanese seed beads. Selling authentic African Trade Beads and German Wooden Beads in the 70’s. As well as creating a line of Native American crafts and glass beads which initiated a long-lasting business relationship that remains strong today.
Betsy John at the Spadina location in Toronto's Fashion District, circa 1977

1983 - 2003

Customer and product growth necessitated a move to an 11,000 square foot building in East Toronto so that John Bead could best serve all customers, suppliers and employees. In 1989 Fritz John took a well-deserved retirement and their son Mike John, who had been an integral part of the business, became President. Sadly Fritz John passed away in December of 2000.
The three generations of Johns in one photo. From left to right, Mike, Betsy, and Daniel John.

2003 - Present

Increased sales meant company growth continued into the 2000’s and required several moves to expanded facilities, each one larger than the last. Since 2003 we have been located in a 100,000 square foot building  with ample area for our wholesale showroom, bead and craft outlet, and warehouse space to store our products. In 2007 Daniel John joined the business full time as Vice President, signifying the third generation of John’s to have joined the company.

Co-founder Betsy John can still be found several days a week at John Bead and is the highlight of many customer visits to the showroom. She is often found chatting with employees, designers and clients.

2019 and Beyond!

We are delighted to celebrate 65 years of business in 2019, John Bead aims to reflect the needs of its customers while guaranteeing the highest of quality in both service and products. This third generation, family-owned and operated company believes in emulating the highest standard of practice by hiring passionate professionals, sourcing the highest quality materials and ensuring the best prices. We thank everyone who has supported us along the way, and welcome the future with enthusiasm.