Pick Up Sticks – Valentine’s Day Ideas

We’re exactly a month out from Valentine’s Day, and if you’re like most of our retailers, you know that this holiday is a sales opportunity you don’t want to miss.  According to a 2012 study by the National Retail Federation, “Love may not cost a thing, but consumers this year are set to spoil their friends, family and loved ones this Valentine’s Day in a very big way. According to NRF’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGinsight, the average person celebrating the holiday will shell out $126.03.”

To help you steer your customers in the right direction,we’ve put together a collection of great ideas for anyone on your Valentine gift list.  At Pick Up Sticks, we believe in showing your love to your best girlfriends as well as the women in your family.  Check out our favorite charms for best friends. . .

bestfriend valentines day copy

As well as Mom. . .

mom valentines copy

And Grandmother. . .

grandma valentines day copy

And Sisters. . .

sister valentines

February 14 is an especially good time to catch the impulse buyer, the last-minute shopper who runs in the door looking for inspiration. It’s our suggestion that if you haven’t already, you add a display near your cash register or check out area with a few necklaces put together, or have your employees wear a fun necklace or two reflecting a very personalized “love you” message.  One of our floral retailers offers an initial charm tied with a ribbon around each vase that goes out with a dozen roses.

We’d love to hear your ideas for Valentine’s Day sales as well.  Feel free to comment here or send your photos to marketing@pickupsticks.net.

And of course, Happy Valentine’s Day from Pick Up Sticks Jewelry!

Advertisements

Pick Up Sticks and Winter Markets 2013

Pick Up Sticks Atlanta Booth

Pick Up Sticks Atlanta Booth

As I write this blog post, Sabrina and Bruce are in the midst of packing their bags for the Atlanta show, which starts on January 11 and continues through the 15th.  (Atlanta International Gift Market – Americas Mart, Merchandise Mart, Booth #802, Atrium, Handmade, Building 3, 2nd floor).

Sabrina in Atlanta Booth

Sabrina in Atlanta Booth

They’ll be traveling next week, carting two weeks worth of warm outfits, fur-lined boots (Sabrina will be, anyway. . .) and all the pre-market excitement that accompanies Pick Up Sticks when someone from the company heads to Market.  From Atlanta, the two of them will head to Chicago to the Beckman’s Handcrafted Show at the Chicago Market ( Booth #8-6030, Jan 19 – 22, 2013).

Bruce with the Pick Up Sticks crate, pre-setup

Bruce with the Pick Up Sticks crate, pre-setup

And just a few days after Sabrina and Bruce return to New Mexico, Glena and Candace head to the New York International Gift Show at the Javits Convention Center, which will run from January 27 – 30, 2013 (Booth 8531, Personal Accessories).  Later in February, Glena and Candace will be in Las Vegas, NV, at the Pool Trade Show at Mandalay Bay from February 19 – 21.

It’s our bread and butter, the market season. We love seeing old customers and meeting new ones, cultivating the community that makes up our very loyal, creative and fun retailers.  Our greatest goal is always to help you build your business and make your retail space a success (well, that, and finding just one more amazing new restaurant in each city we visit. . .)

Glena and Candace at the New York International Gift Fair

Glena and Candace at the New York International Gift Fair

We’ve written about Market many times before, and it bears repeating.  When you show up in our booth, we’re going to treat you with respect and we’re going to help you buy within your budget.  We very clearly mark our best-sellers so that you’ll know what works for our other retail customers.

And as always, your credit card never gets charged until the day we ship, which is a date you choose. If you need a quick ship, we’re all about trying to get your order out within a day or two of your order being placed.

Be sure to take a look at our post from last year, in which Glena and Sabrina list their Top Ten List of Tips for Buyers. A buying plan, comfortable shoes and carrying lots of business cards are just some of the great advice you’ll find in that post.

Chicago booth

Pick Up Sticks is all about fun and whimsy and human stories and great connections. Going to Market reinforces all of those qualities and we’re always excited to get in the booth and show you our new designs while we hear your stories about satisfied customers, display plans and how much you enjoy selling our jewelry.

To check out our official calendar, go to http://www.pickupsticks.net/US/press_show_sched/press_show_sched.html.  If you’re in Canada, Pick Up Sticks will be in Toronto at the CGTA Show, Toronto International Centre and Toronto Congress Centre, North Building, #11359, (Tani Investments), from January 27  – 31, 2013.

For those of you in the UK, find us at Top Drawer Spring, Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Olympia, London, England – Stand ZA 31 from Jan 13 – 15, 2013, and at Spring Fair International, Birmingham, England, Listed as Absolutely Devine, Hall 18, Stand 18D66, February 3 – 7, 2013

If for some reason you won’t be on the road this year, feel free to check out our online store at http://www.pickupsticks.net.  Call the studio for ideas or with any questions.

Otherwise, can’t wait to see you in Atlanta, Chicago, New York or Vegas!

New Designs AND a Discount for Exclusive Pick Up Sticks Retailers

1-photo charms 2013

It’s crazy to think about it, but in just a couple of  weeks we’ll be opening our booth at Beckman’s Handcrafted Show in Chicago.  Before we head to Chicago, we’ll be in Atlanta from January 11th to the 15th.  More details to follow on our market schedule in just a couple of days!

So, yeah, we’ve been a bit busy for the past few weeks.  And Sabrina’s been busy all fall, designing some amazingly fun new charms for the Winter 2013 show season. We sent out an e-mail blast in December with news of these designs and a reminder that exclusive retailers would, as always, receive a 10% discount on any orders placed and shipped before January 11, 2013.

1-dotnecklaces

If you missed that e-mail, here’s how it works. If you’re a Pick Up Sticks Jewelry exclusive retailer, we’re going to give you a bonus of a 10% discount on any order placed and shipped by 1/11/13.  It’s just our way of saying how much we appreciate your hard work and your loyalty to Pick Up Sticks.

1-letters (2)

Being an exclusive retailer is easy – you just have to order $1,500 within a 12 month period. Once you’re in that category we’ll protect your zip code and place your business name on our website so that Pick Up Sticks fans can find you.

And who knows?  You may be really close to that status.  Just call the studio to find out what it would take to get you to exclusivity.  Once you’re there, you’re entitled to the discount as well.

Don’t you love these new designs? We’ve had an overwhelming response to all of them, and we’re pretty sure your customers will love them too.

1-trinkets

If you’re headed to market, we’ll see you soon.  If you prefer to order from home, just be sure to hurry and get in on this amazing discount – it ends next Friday, January 11, 2013!

Fighting Cancer with Great Love – Pick Up Sticks Style

Glena, Bunny and Sabrina in NYC, circa 2004

Glena, Bunny and Sabrina in NYC, circa 2004

When we published our Thanksgiving Every Day post back on November 21, we wrote that we had hoped to get it online earlier but that “. . .our week got preempted by life. . “

What we didn’t tell you was that the preemption was a diagnosis of State 4 Colon Cancer for our very best friend, Pick Up Sticks copywriter and blogger, Bunny.  The week before Thanksgiving she went to the emergency room in Santa Fe, with a referral from an urgent care doc convinced that she had appendicitis.  Alas, it wasn’t her appendix acting up.

Bunny and Sabrina on the Plaza, Santa Fe, July 2012, with a high school friend, Kerry

Bunny and Sabrina on the Plaza, Santa Fe, July 2012, with a high school friend, Kerry

Like everyone else, when we heard the words “Stage 4”, we found ourselves in a bit of a panic.  As some of you who have seen us all together at market know, Bunny is our family.  She is like our sister, but loves us like a best friend and we love her back accordingly.  We’ve know each other since first grade and we’ve shared prom dresses and rides with bad boys in pickup trucks and days on the lake in bikinis and several marriages starting and ending and a thousand family dinners and dancing all night in dive bars in New York. . and meeting you in our booth at market.

Glena and Bunny at the Logan High Prom, looking hot in 1977

Glena and Bunny at the Logan High Prom, looking hot in 1977

Bunny’s a freelance writer and we’re just one of her clients, but when she writes about Pick Up Sticks, it’s from the heart and from long experience.  She was with us at our very first retail show (Country Thunder in Phoenix) and has helped us nurse this business into fruition from day one.

So it’s only natural that in her healing process, Pick Up Sticks plans to be a major player.  On the day of her diagnosis, when several of her numerous friends were in the hospital room, her friend MariAnne fingered her Pick Up Sticks necklace and said, “I need a special Bunny charm, one I can wear that will remind me to say a prayer and send a good thought to her every minute of every day.”

Bunny, Sabrina and Baby Shasta, circa 1978

Bunny, Sabrina and Baby Shasta, circa 1978

That idea grew, and Bunny’s Mom, Betty, who is one of our exclusive retailers in Logan, NM (our hometown, of course) looked through the catalog and found a charm that expressed Bunny perfectly.  She then ordered every single one we had in stock, put out the word, and in the past three weeks, has sold almost 200 charms.  She’s sold them at a higher profit margin, putting all that money made into a benefit account for Bunny, who unfortunately, will have rather high out-of-pocket costs for the next six months while she begins chemo treatment.

We’re taking it one day at a time, trying to deal with what could be a dark diagnosis, and we’re watching Bunny turn it into learning and loving experience, which is what she does with her life every day.  For those of you who know her, you can follow her journal entries at www.caringbridge.org/visit/bunnyterry.  Send along an encouraging word if you’re so inclined.

Bunny and Glena at the 12 Shores Golf Course at Ute Lake, Thanksgiving 2011

Bunny and Glena at the 12 Shores Golf Course at Ute Lake, Thanksgiving 2011

We’re honored that Pick Up Sticks charms are adorning the necks of women from Maine to California who are daily reaching up to hold that charm and Bunny’s well-being between their fingertips, wishing her well and saying a prayer for her.

She’s slated for 20 chemo treatments at the end of which her oncologist will explore surgical options.  She’s got one under her belt and is feeling great.  And she gave up the blog for this ONE post. . .otherwise she says she’ll be back with a vengeance next week to talk about new designs or something like that.

Bunny and Glena in the center of lots of Logan girls, Summer 2011

Bunny and Glena in the center of lots of Logan girls, Summer 2011

If you have someone in your life who is going through something difficult and you need a little help picking a special charm for them, let us help you out.  This charm project for Bunny has been one of the most rewarding things we’ve been involved in since we started the business.

And of course, we’d appreciate your prayers and good thoughts sent her way.

Pick Up Sticks and Charm Bracelets – History on Your Wrist

Pick Up Sticks newest charms on a charm bracelet

We’ve written about charm bracelets before, back in the early days of the blog.  At Pick Up Sticks, we learned quickly that women of all ages love unique jewelry that tells a story, with pieces that commemorate special occasions and milestones in one’s life. For centuries, charm bracelets have been the perfect way to tell one’s story. They are truly the original timeless classic.

Is it the universal appeal of the sound a charm bracelet makes, that feminine jingle jangle as you move your hands in an expressive moment?  Is it the fact that folks have to get up close and personal to check out your charms and hear the tale of how important each is to you?  How many of us have a charm bracelet that belonged to our mothers or grandmothers, and how intriguing are the stories conveyed by those heirlooms?

Dee Long Lansford’s charm bracelet

We love this photo of Sabrina’s Mom’s charm bracelet, started when Dee was a teenager on a European trip with, of all things, Seventeen Magazine.  It’s easy to imagine a group of pretty young girls in shops in Germany (the beer stein), Paris (Eiffel Tower), Switzerland (cuckoo clock) and Venice (gondola pole) going through charms and laughing with delight when they found the perfect trinket to symbolize their travels. The photo in the charm is Sabrina’s Dad (with her Mom on the reverse side) and is, coincidentally, the first photo charm Sabrina ever saw.

Want to know the story of charm bracelets themselves?

The Egyptians wore them in 3000 BC to let the gods in the afterlife know who they were in the social hierarchy. The Babylonians wore charm bracelets in 700 BC because they believed charms had special powers. In medieval times, charm bracelets were worn to identify your family of origin and the fiefdom in which you lived.

Queen Victoria wore them in the late 19th century, first as a fashion statement, and then as a way to mourn her great love, Prince Albert. She had her personal jewelers create charms with locks of Albert’s hair and others with his photo. And at the 1889 Paris Exposition Tiffany & Co introduced the general public to a chain link bracelet with a single heart pendant hanging from a link.

1-bracelet smaller

U.S. World War veterans introduced the women in their lives to charm bracelets when they brought home charms from the various European cities and South Pacific villages they’d visited. Charms were inexpensive gifts, easy to carry, and soldiers were anxious to commemorate the positive aspects of their travels.

In the 40’s, you could get charms out of gumball machines – they were universally available to anyone with a whim for creating their own jewelry. Historians believe that even cavemen in prehistoric times wore charms and amulets to ward off evil spirits and to demonstrate one’s prowess to an enemy, And over time, in all these cultures, adding charms has always been a way to mark milestones in one’s life.

And now we do it. Charm bracelets have experienced a revival in popularity since the turn of the new century, and at Pick Up Sticks, we’re combined double-sided photo charms conveying a message with coordinating trinkets to create very personal wearable art for each charm bracelet customer. Our vintage inspired charm bracelets offer each customer a chance to tell her own story. Which, evidently, is what all women have been doing for centuries. And centuries. And centuries.

That’s why we do what we do and why we create Pick Up Sticks jewelry – so that we can tell our stories and hear your’s.

If you don’t have a charm bracelet yet, or if you want to help a friend/daughter/niece/loved one start that tradition, consider starting with this Pick Up Sticks bracelet and a charm or two. It’s a unique, one-size-fits-all treasure that future generations will cherish.

Pick Up Sticks – Thanksgiving Every Day

BB011

This Thanksgiving week, all of us at Pick Up Sticks are feeling some pretty extreme gratitude for a number of things both complex and simple.  We’re alive and doing well, the New Mexico sun is shining and the forecast is that it will stay that way through the holiday, and our kids and parents are all healthy and happy.

Ch002

We started to post this last week with a reminder to you to order charms showing gratitude so that they could be sold for Thanksgiving.  But our week got preempted by life (as weeks sometimes do), and when it was over and the dust had settled, we all agreed that we’d much prefer to write a post about a year-round attitude of gratitude.

LVo47

We’re big on Thanksgiving at Pick Up Sticks.  When you love family and friends and food as much as we do, Thanksgiving is a much-anticipated holiday.

WD010

But we’re also big on thanksgiving, little “t”.  The type of thanksgiving that you do every day when you wake up and notice yourself breathing, when you get a phone call from a long-lost friend, when the sun shines through your patio window just right, when you find a book or a song that makes your heart smile. We’re big on hope as well, and we’re very thankful for what that hope gives us right now.

We’ve created a number of charms over the years, and we’ve found that our customers share those sentiments.  We know this because, besides the initials, the charms that remind us to be grateful, enjoy our life, love ourselves and others – those are the charms that year after year consistently sell very well.

QU015

We hope your holiday is filled with lots of love and laughter and food, but more than that, we hope your entire year is filled with those things.  We’re very thankful to have you as customers.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Pick Up Sticks Retailer of the Month – Blackbird Art

Pick Up Sticks Jewelry, Blackbird Art

This month’s Retailer of the Month, Blackbird Art located at Ocean & San Carlos in Carmel, California (831-624-8688), gets the prize for being the place we’d like to visit most this month. With winter creeping into New Mexico, spending a few days in Carmel definitely sounds like something that would make us smile.

Deborah Vielle of Blackbird Art (aka Doud Craft Studios) says that Pick Up Sticks Jewelry is something that makes her smile. “When I think of Pick Up Sticks,” she says, “I think of a quality, affordable product that really sells itself! The simplicity of the styles makes it appealing to a wide variety of customers.”

Carmel is a unique location that attracts people from all over the world and Deborah says its great to see people of all backgrounds who really enjoy shopping at Blackbird. She’s noticed that Pick Up Sticks seems to bring people together. “Creating a personal necklace and finding a charm that is perfect for themselves or a friend just makes for friendly and often humorous exchanges it makes people laugh and feel good.”

When we asked her why she chose Pick Up Sticks over some other image-based jewelry, she had a quick answer:  “When something works as well as Pick Up Sticks, I don’t mess with it! I think what is unique to Pick Up Sticks is that there is a strong and winning combination of humor and heart and we appreciate that and need those reminders.”

“And the photo of Sabrina and Glena kind of says it all! It is the PUS attitude that really attracts and resonates with many, many women!”

Deborah has good advice for displaying and merchandising the line as well.  “Don’t be shy! Have a large selection and let your customers have access to it. I have it readily accessible so that my customers can turn over images and enjoy reading and begin to connect the message on the charm to themselves or a friend.”

“I find my customers just naturally begin to build a necklace and that it is important then to have a good selection, I try to keep up with the initials especially and frequently call Pick Up Sticks for fill-in on the four initial styles I carry.”

Yes, four.  That’s what she said. Like some of our other retailers, Deborah at Blackbird Art has found that having a variety of initial styles available makes for very happy customers.

We asked her what she sells the most:  “We sell lots of the queens, the word candy, several initial styles. I have just experimented and found strong sellers from several categories…we replace our inventory frequently.”

Deborah gets to work in a beautiful place, and we like that she is so positive about her Pick Up Sticks experience.  She tells us, “I really appreciate the great personal service I receive from everyone at Pick Up Sticks!”

We appreciate Deborah and Blackbird Art. We just wish we could fly in for a weekend of shopping this month.  Now wouldn’t that be perfect?

Inspiring Spaces of Pick Up Sticks – Candace’s House

By now you all know Candace – she’s the voice behind your phone order, the friendly face at market, the adorable blonde who could probably sell ice to Eskimos.  She never meets a stranger, and she says all the time that one of her favorite things in the world is getting to know Pick Up Sticks retailers in the booth.

Candace and the very adorable Jemma

We’re lucky to have her.  Her enthusiasm and positive disposition make it a pleasure to come into the studio every day.

Ndomukong, the sweetest German Shepherd in the world, according to Candace

Her house reflects all those qualities.  Warm, friendly, comfortable. . .when you drop in on Candace at home, she’s smiling and just as enthusiastic as she is with Pick Up Sticks customers.

She lives there with her husband Joe, her two year-old daughter Jemma, and two dogs who run the show – Luke the Shih Tzu and Ndomukong from the previous photo.

Candace loves snuggling up in front of the fireplace with Joe and Jemma and the dogs, but the kitchen is quickly becoming one of her favorite rooms.  She’s rapidly learning to cook for her little family, and even offered to share her recipe for pecan bars.

Candace is a Pick Up Sticks treasure and we couldn’t run the studio without her!    Let us know if you try her recipe. . .

Candace’s Pecan Bars

Crust Ingredients:  2 sticks unsalted butter, 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, ½ tsp. salt

Filling ingredients:  1 stick unsalted butter, 1 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/3 cup honey, 2 tbl spoons heavy cream, 2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Line 9×13 inch pan with foil with 2” overhang on all sides.

Make crust by creaming together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the flour and salt and mix until crumbly.  Press the crust into the foil-lined pan and bake for 20 min until golden brown.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling by combining the butter, brown sugar, honey and heavy cream in a saucepan and stirring it over medium heat. Simmer the mixture for 1 minute, then stir in the chopped pecans.

Remove the crust form the oven and immediately pour the pecan filling over the hot crust, spreading it to cover the entire surface.

Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 20 min.

Remove the pan and allow the bars to fully cool in the pan.

Use the foil overhang to lift out the bars and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut and enjoy!

Pick Up Sticks Halloween Costume Ideas

Shelley, Sabrina and Raynee, pirating it up

We had such a great response to this post last year that we decided to repost it.  If you’re looking for quick, goofy costume ideas, feel free to borrow one of these. . .

All Hallow’s Eve, aka Halloween, is one of our favorite days at Pick Up Sticks.

Sabrina as a 24-pack. . .

We love an excuse to don our tackiest, goofiest outfits, hats and makeup, and we figure you do too.

Glena as Medusa and our pal Angie as an over-done beach bum. . .

Halloween always provides a great excuse for a party. . .

Sabrina as Tammy Wynette. . .we think. . .

And it also provides a great excuse to do something really obnoxious with lots of big hair.  You know the saying, “The bigger the hair, the closer to God.”

Sabrina’s granddaughter Rhili

You can grow wings. . .

Bruce and Sabrina

Or horns. . .

Bruce’s nephew, Rance

Or a whole new personna with dryer vent parts. . .

If you’re still stumped about costume ideas, we borrowed a few from Real Simple Magazine:

  • A green clown wig + a schoolgirl outfit = Broccoli Spears
  • A plastic laundry basket with holes cut out for legs + white balloons + a shower cap = Bathing Beauty
  • A white dress + a pipe-cleaner halo + leaves in her hair and “dirt” on her face = Fallen Angel
  • Black clothes + yellow electrical tape down his torso + toy cars + Velcro = Highway
  • A pig nose + a blanket = Pig in a Blanket
  • A blue T-shirt + cotton balls + tape + a water gun = Partly Cloudy With a Chance of Rain
  • A polo shirt + khakis (or madras shorts) + a name tag = Jay Crew
  • A clear umbrella (preferably dome- shaped) + party streamers or metallic ribbons = Jellyfish

Whatever you are this year, be your funnest, most interesting self.  And enjoy!  We plan to.

Pick Up Sticks Retailer of the Month – Visions Spa

Visions Spa at 26800 Beck Rd., Novi, MN is our Retailer of the Month for September, and Anne Bond, the owner, was more than happy to give us some helpful info for other retailers.  Anne says the words “unique and fun” are what always come to mind when someone mentions Pick Up Sticks Jewelry Company.

They chose our line over others because they felt like we have a wide variety of charms, with lots of artistic flair.  And who are we to argue with that?

The store at Visions Spa is a retail space of 2,000 square feet that separates a salon and spa. Citing their display as “everything” it takes to get Pick Up Sticks in the hands of customers,  Anne at Visions says catching a customer’s eye as they make their way to the cash register is the real secret to success with this line.  “Clients have fun with this jewelry – we love how it creates new interest in the store.  And it’s great fun to watch the clients read the charms.”

Anne says she’s thrilled that Pick Up Sticks is selling so well.  Evidently she took her husband along on her market trip to Atlanta and he was a bit skeptical about how quickly jewelry would move.  Neither of them has been disappointed – “Pick Up Sticks sells like crazy in our shop,” she says.

Visions Spa also appreciates the speed with which new designs appear in the line. That’s what keeps collectors coming back for more.

Check out Visions Spa at their website or like them on their Facebook page.  And tell them we sent you!

%d bloggers like this: