Swifties revitalise craft shops, deplete stocks in hunt for friendship bracelet beads at People's Park Centre 

"So make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it."

Hannah Martens | February 24, 2024, 05:46 PM



With little over a week left before Taylor Swift lands in Singapore for the Eras Tour, many Swifties are flocking to local craft shops.

Why? They are stocking up on beads to make friendship bracelets. And, FYI, it's a proper trend among the fans.

Photo by Lee Wei Lin

The phenomenon of the friendship bracelet

The making, wearing, and trading of friendship bracelets among the Swift fandom has been a key feature of the Eras Tour from the very first few shows.

Some say this trend came about as fans wanted to swap friendship bracelets with one another when they meet at the Eras Tour.

Others point to the lyrics of Swift's nostalgia-laden "You're On Your Own Kid" which go:

"Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned

Everything you lose is a step you take

So make the friendship bracelets

Take the moment and taste it

You've got no reason to be afraid"

Fans have been turning up at Swift's concerts armed with beaded bracelets that incorporate Swift references into the design, such as song titles, lyrics, her cats' names, and more.

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Whatever it is, Taylor Swift is the reason why young people are turning up in droves at sleepy craft shops like the ones we visited at People's Park Centre on Feb. 23.

Photo by Hannah Martens

Joslyn, the lady who runs Shinobeads on the second floor of People's Park Centre, said that while she observed a steady rise in customers since Swift's concert tickets went on sale last year, it only started to get more crowded in the last few days.

Calvin from Koi Ming Enterprise also noted an increase in visitors to his shop since last weekend, particularly younger people looking to get beads for the concert.

Good to see people get creative

Calvin told Mothership that seeing young people frequenting his shop and buying beads to make bracelets makes him "feel young again".

"They have fresh ideas, and they want some new colours which we provide...We provide much variety of crystals and beads that they want. So we are glad that we can fulfil their creativity."

Calvin also expressed his excitement seeing all the young patrons coming together to create and craft something new.

For him, craftwork like beading and making beaded bracelets can help one to slow down in a fast-paced environment.

Koi Ming Enterprise has been around for 30 years, with Calvin and his brother Alan running the shop in the latter half after taking over from their father.

Photo of Calvin and Alan from Koi Ming Enterprise

They have been selling beads and crystals for many years and keep on top of trends.

Right now, alphabet beads seem to be one of the more popular items.

These are definitely high on a Swiftie's list as they are needed to spell out Swift references and song lyrics.

Calvin took the opportunity to advise Swifties to broaden their creativity and try other types of alphabet beads which he displays in his shop.

Indeed, we spotted a wide range of alphabet beads, from shiny metallic cubes to multi-coloured transluscent ones that look suspiciously like gummy candies.

Photo by Hannah Martens

Photo by Hannah Martens

Photo by Hannah Martens

Enthusiastic fans

Joslyn admitted that things have been hectic as she has been working non-stop over the past two weeks.

It has gotten so hectic that Joslyn's parents, who are in their 70s, have been chipping in. Joslyn's father mans the shop alongside her while her mother packs beads into smaller bags at home.

Joslyn noted that the Swifties who visit her shop are often bursting with enthusiasm, and don't mind sharing their plans to dance at Swift's concert "till they drop".

Some even told her that they plan to wear an armful of bracelets to the concert.

Most fans buy around S$10 to S$30 worth of beads, and Joslyn would advise them on the number of bracelets their haul would yield.

Unlike Calvin however, the surge in demand for alphabet beads couldn't come at a worse time for Joslyn.

Being a small shop with limited space, Shinobeads does not hold a lot of stock. It recently ran out of alphabet beads and could not restock in time due to shipment delays over the Chinese New Year.

However, Joslyn assured Swifties that the stock will arrive next week, just in time for Swift's last three shows in Singapore on Mar. 7, 8 and 9.

Photo by Hannah Martens

The power of friendship

Bracelets exchanged by Swifties are a mark of friendship and camaraderie; both Calvin and Joslyn have witnessed this bonding take place inside their craft shops time and time again over the recent months.

To Calvin, one should treasure a friendship like this, where strangers slowly become acquaintances and then friends.

If presented with a friendship bracelet by a Swiftie, Calvin would receive it happily, noting that it is a nice gesture.

"I think anyone would be happy to receive a gift from someone, a valuable gift. It may not be expensive, but it's the heart that counts."

For Joslyn, the friendship bracelet brings many people together as she has seen complete strangers talk to one another and bond inside her shop. Despite not being a Swiftie herself, Joslyn said that the excitement shared between fans is very tangible.

"I feel they are very supportive, I feel they are very united."

Top photos by Hannah Martens