Pick Up Sticks Mentors Part 1: Hondo and Alice

Alice Seely, an early Pick Up Sticks Mentor

It’s impossible to talk about the “Why” of Pick Up Sticks without talking about the people who have mentored us through the years.  When we started going to trade shows, we had no idea how the business worked, and we made it a practice to get to know the people who looked like they had figured it out.  Luckily for us, a lot of those people became our friends.  Some became like family.  This is our story about a couple of those folks.

Our earliest mentors were David Hall and Alice Seely, aka Hondo and Alice.  We ran into David at one of our first San Francisco shows, and we were immediately drawn to each other because of the New Mexico connection.  As Sabrina says: “David is a fast-moving high energy freakishly intelligent man.  His hair is like Einstein, and the brain inside is just as valuable.  Alice has the kind of beauty that hits you hard.  Hard with envy.  When I look at her, I wonder if I have ever looked so pretty.  At any age.”

David, Glena and Sabrina

Besides being gorgeous herself, Alice makes gorgeous jewelry  and she paints and she creates tapestries, and together they run a retail store and iris farm  in the incomparably beautiful Hondo Valley in southern New Mexico.  These are folks who have been creating and selling art for a while, and they know exactly how to do it.  We’re lucky to have met them.

Alice Seely designs

We asked them to put together a little narrative of what they originally thought of Pick Up Sticks.  Here’s what David sent us:

“My name is David Hall.  My partner, Alice Seely, has been designing and crafting pewter jewelry for fourteen years.  We attend various trade shows around the country and have had a customer base as large as 500 galleries, museums, airport stores, and National Parks.

About ten years ago I was attending the San Francisco gift show and was standing outside taking a break.  I struck up a conversation with a very attractive tall woman and we soon discovered we were both from New Mexico and had a common background in the area where I live – near Ruidoso, New Mexico.   Glena said this was her first trade show, that she and her partner, Sabrina, had been worried that their jewelry ideas wouldn’t work, and that very few stores would be interested.  She went on to say that a trade show was a substantial expense and they weren’t sure they could afford the risk of many more.

The Hondo Iris Farm in full bloom

I was curious about what they had designed and accompanied Glena to her booth.  At first I wasn’t sure about their product – it just looked like a bunch of charms and chains.  But then I looked closely at their jewelry and was amazed.  The images and sayings were better than anything I had seen—catchy ideas, fun, great graphics, and tremendous detail.  I told them their only problem was going to be to get people to look closely at their pendants; that their product would appeal to anyone who was interested in detail and their customer base could span age groups from 18-70.

My main message was to tell them to keep working, keep going to trade shows.  I told them they would get their foot in the door that year and next year their sales would double.  I predicted that in five years, if they continued to develop and expand their market, they would be very successful and able to make quite a good living.  I also told them they had to streamline their booth display to make it easily shippable and simpler.

I am not always right in my predictions, but I was dead on in seeing how great they were.

Over the years, we have continued our friendship; we make it a point to have dinner together at common trade shows, we know each other’s families, and they have become great friends.  I am, however, disappointed that they didn’t take Alice and me with them on their recent exciting trip to China. “

Well, David, we’re sorry we didn’t take you along as well.  The trip would have been much more memorable with you along for the ride.

Many thanks to David and Alice for giving us such invaluable insight and for continuing to be our friends through the thick and thin of it.  Please be sure to check out their websites, and if you’re a store owner, take a look at their wholesale site .  They do beautiful work.


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My best friend designs pewter gifts. Nice article!

  2. […] series on the folks who have been such incredible mentors to us over the years.  As we said in our post about Hondo and Alice, we never could have been so successful without the help of our fellow artists.  Carol Hall […]

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