Meet Mandi Olaniyi: Happy Accidents

We launch 2023 with an introspective and innovative beader who designs pieces that are elegant and timeless classics, from simple to complex, jazzy to regal.

Mandi Olaniyi is a self-taught beader who “jumped into beading and started designing.” She calls her designs “happy accidents” as they seem to “just happen.” Mandi named her jewelry design business Bead Woven Dreams.

“I started working at my local bead store, 1Stop Bead Shop, back in October of 2013, and worked there until it closed in 2019,” shared Mandi. Her work led to teaching, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Mind you, Mandi didn’t immediately take to teaching beading because she assumed she wouldn’t enjoy writing instructions…which she was surprised to find she did enjoy, and again, her future evolved without plan.

Along the way, two of Mandi’s designs were featured in Bead & Button, the first of which Mandi submitted as a trial “to see how it works and what they were looking for.” Not only was her submission accepted, the necklace was featured on the cover!


The 64 products listed in her Etsy shop have proven to be popular, and most recently, she’s been pleasantly surprised by the popularity of her Byzantine Crystal Cross, published in 2022.

Mandi’s philosophy of beading is fascinating!

Here is her explanation:

To me there are two types of infinities. There’s the expansion. You start from a point, that point being you, and you reach up and out into an infinity that just keeps going.
Then there’s the second. You start from a point, that point being you, but this time you reach down and in. There’s a lot to explore in this space as well. Reaching down and in is where I create from. It’s from the internal infinity where my inspiration arises. Imagine it as reaching into a flower, and as you go further in, more petals open. This is how each and every one of my designs unfold.
With no plan or idea, it’s almost like the design just unfolds before my eyes as I play with beads and components. It’s kind of meditative, zoning out without expectations. Once I stop and pay attention, I’m so pleasantly surprised and delighted.

Letting her mind wander, the magic happens. (Curiously, when a new piece or component is complete, her beading buddy, feline Fiona, jumps up from her usual spot, curled up by Mandi’s feet, to try to steal the piece from the bead board! Gotta love those kitties!)

What’s in Mandi’s beady future? Her journey has been one of twists and turns and surprises around the corner, and Mandi is happy to simply discover what’s next. And so, Mandi, we wish you many more happy beady accidents!

Beading buddies, I will take this opportunity to also wish you all many happy beady accidents in 2023…as well as much goodness all around!

Until next month, bead on and bead warm,


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