When I returned to the hotel, I searched some of the Etsy shops that sell supplies. I discovered that even with shipping costs, the Etsy shops have beads that are much more affordable! For example, a 16 inch strand of 6mm lapis beads is only $5.45 at Etsy's Wildwood Bead Company plus shipping at $1.99. The same strand which was about the same quality at any of the mentioned stores costs about 5 times that. I recently purchased a strand of oval lapis beads at my local market for about $12.00. The exact strand - color, size, quality and amount of beads was $65 in NY. Charms were sold by the piece, or a package of 12, or a package of 72. The least expensive individual charm at these stores cost $.65. Most small charms were $1.00 per piece. I bought some tiny fortune cookie charms for $1.40 each. On Etsy I found small charms in packs of 5 or 6 for about $.10 to $.50 each with minimal shipping.
Check out Superdraven:
A third example: 10mm resin flower cabochons. NY stores were selling these for $1.00 each. The 20 mm flowers were $2.00 a piece. Back2beads on Etsy has this collection of 24 10mm flowers for $3.40 plus shipping $3.20 to the USA. Still a deal! This shop has an amazing assortment of colors and different quantities to meet your needs.
I am going to enjoy shopping for beads and supplies on Etsy - from the comfort of my own home. It's a great way to support these independent businesses. There are some great deals to be found on Etsy!