Pick Up Sticks – Just Another Day at the Studio

We know there are some incredibly interesting jobs out there, jobs that we’ve all dreamed of.  Secret shopper for Neiman-Marcus. Rolling Stone reporter assigned to hang with Jay-Z and Beyonce. Taste tester for Ben & Jerry’s. Ski instructor at Aspen. Personal Assistant to Bradley Cooper.  Those are all good, right?

Yeah, we’d like one of those. We’re pretty sure we could be VERY helpful to Bradley Cooper.  But since we don’t get to hang with celebrities, we’re going to go out on a limb and say that working at Pick Up Sticks is pretty crazy amazing.  It’s never boring, it’s creative, it’s relaxed, and, honestly, it’s almost always fun.  Here’s a quick look at what we do all day, some days.  Other days we sit around the studio and brainstorm while eating taquitos from The Foxy.  Just another job hazard – great New Mexico fast food.

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The above photo is Candace and Leigh dressing Judy up for her wholesale show debut.  This is just one example of how we load her with Pick Up Sticks. . .we’ve seen lots of different pictures of our customers’ own Judy and we’d love to see more.  If you’ve perfected the Judy-loading method, let us know your secret.  As far as we can tell, you’re all doing a great job of creating your own beautiful versions.

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“Which wholesale gift shows to attend? Who is going where? Where should we stay? How should we get there? And most important of all-what great restaurant do we get to try while we’re there?” These are just a few of the questions that get asked and answered daily at Glena’s desk.  Other tasks like talking to Sabrina on the phone about the creative process, paying the bills, payroll, inventory control, design decisions, and bookkeeping are just a  few of the jobs she tackles. If there’s a number to be crunched, Glena is the girl to do it.  Just hand her a pile of data and she’s a happy camper (there’s that finance degree showing itself. . .).  Of course getting to come to work every day with her dogs, her Mom, with Candace and Leigh and with Treyla, the newest Pick Up Sticks girl, is the biggest treat of all. (Hmmmmm. . .would you like to see a post on the “Dogs of Pick Up Sticks”?  I’m thinking YES.)

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Ever wondered how the “pulling and checking” process works when you order? This is Leigh checking an order she’s just pulled from the stacks of bins of inventory behind her.  Those bins hold every single charm in our line.  Leigh picks up the order from our fancy printer, walks to our “Walls of Bins” and removes all your charms from their assigned bins. From there, the charms and trinkets go through a two-pronged cross checking process. Leigh and at least one other Pick Up Sticks girl look over your order to insure that it’s shipped to you as quickly and accurately as possible.

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Check out that great orange wall. We are all about color and whimsy at Pick Up Sticks.

Here’s a glimpse of Candace at the heart of the studio, on the phone, typing an order. Behind her is our handy-dandy fancy printer that basically does everything except pick up lunch from Twin Cronies Drive-In (more of that New Mexican fast food). It not only prints your typed, emailed, or faxed orders, it prints our catalogs, the post cards, bio cards, images for studio use, AND your order forms (whew)! It is possibly the hardest worker in the studio!

By the way, Candace is wearing the 30” Small Link Chain with a AN058 Grow Strong Charm.

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Judy isn’t the only display that gets a face lift before a new show season begins.  The display boards have to updated with all the new season’s designs.  Glena is somewhat of a p-touch (label maker) guru, so she get the boards measured, p-touched and ready for Candace and Leigh to pin all the new charms and trinkets on the boards.

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Here’s Candace attempting to organize the board that holds the potential/proposed new trinkets.  This highly systemized process (most days) is studied intently and rearranged daily to make sure we’re creating the perfect trinkets to go with all our photo charms.  How are we doing with that?

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And finally, here we share with you the highlight of our day. Leigh (lucky Leigh) is handing your orders over to our favorite FedEx driver(eat your hearts out ladies)!!!

We didn’t get a chance to include a picture of Treyla in this post, but plan to do an entire blog post introducing you all to her soon. Hopefully she’ll agree that working at Pick Up Sticks is almost always entertaining and interesting!

We love what we do. Now if we could just get Bradley Cooper to drop by with a couple of pints of Ben & Jerry, life would be perfect.

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Employee Favorite Necklaces – Leigh’s Favorites!

Leigh wearing her favorite Pick Up Sticks necklace

Leigh wearing her favorite Pick Up Sticks necklace

Leigh Spurling is one of our relatively new employees in the studio at Pick Up Sticks, but she’s no less a fan of our charms and trinkets than the rest of us.  We asked her to put together her favorite necklace and here’s what she chose:

“I love the Grow Strong charm (AN058), with Candy Initials “L” (CWI0L) and “S” (CWI0S), on a Stainless 20” chain (SS020).”

Leigh's Favorite Necklace

Leigh’s Favorite Necklace

“Grow Strong” is my favorite charm because that feels exactly like what I am doing with my life right now. In the past few years, I’ve endured some difficulty and hardship. Without going into detail, I can honestly say that, looking back, I see that I did in fact grow stronger despite some really  distressing times.  And I know without a doubt that I would never have wanted an easier path to where I am now.

This simple statement, “Grow Strong” alone says and means so much (probably to a lot of folks).  I will no longer underestimate myself nor others. I also hope to use this as almost an inspiration to others.

And, of course, I chose the initials for my first and last names.  I love how Pick Up Sticks has so many different initial lines so that we can use individual choice to find the perfect way to personalize our jewelry.”

Thanks, Leigh, for joining us at Pick Up Sticks.  We love your choice and your story!

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.

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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.

The Inspiring Spaces of Pick Up Sticks – Sabrina’s House

Sabrina and Bruce, dressed for a night on the town at a benefit in downtown Albuquerque. You’ll more frequently find Sabrina in Austin Powers pajamas and Bruce in a wife beater and cargo shorts, but here they look especially nice in their black tie attire. Sorta like trained monkeys, Sabrina says.

At Pick Up Sticks, we know that the process of creating is equally as important (or possibly more so) than what gets created.  Having a space that inspires you, that envelopes you with light and sound and creativity, that frees you to do whatever it is that you do best, having a space that expresses you and therefore feeds your soul. . .well, that’s what makes it easy to get up in the morning and be the piece of the puzzle that IS Pick Up Sticks.

We decided it would be great fun to run a series of the Homes of Pick Up Sticks.  Everyone at Pick Up Sticks is an important part of the creative process, whether they’re designing the collage art or giving retailers advice on orders or helping customers come up with display and promotion ideas.  Pick Up Sticks is a team effort. Seeing how everyone on that team feathers their own nests just might inspire you to surround yourself with your own brand of inspiration.

Annie the poodle in the master bedroom. Vintage western movie cards, soft and worn bedspread, New Mexico sunshine coming through an east window, and an Art by Erin print. It’s a great place to wake up. . .

We start this series with Sabrina, the creative force behind almost all of the charm images at Pick Up Sticks.  Sabrina has always lived in homes that are eclectically furnished and decorated.  Walking through Sabrina’s house is frequently a bit of sensory overload – there are so many intriguing gatherings of artwork, kitsch, texture and color to admire.  There really aren’t words to describe how incredibly fun and inviting her house is.  These photos will have to do.

Sabrina’s house isn’t Sabrina’s place without the poodles.  Here’s Joan, the queen mother of all poodles, wandering through the kitchen, waiting for Bruce to show up and drop something delectable on the floor.  I’ve frequently sat at that bar, waiting for Bruce to drop something delectable on my plate.  Cooking and entertaining are two of the things Bruce and Sabrina do best. . .

Here’s detail from the kitchen.  Mucho booze, because as Sabrina says, they like to do a lot of entertaining, two friends at a time.  Also on display is a vintage neon beer sign, an antique elephant marketing sign (printed on linen), and the piece de resistance, the yard sale poodle collection.  Rules are simple for the yard sale collection – never, never, never spend more than $10, and the poodle has to be the prefect mix of tacky, funky and beautiful at the same time.

Every artist should have an inspiration room, and so, of course Sabrina has one (obviously Annie feels inspired sleeping there).  With its hand-painted mural, Frida Kahlo doll, vintage watchmaker’s desk, and lots of antique and industrial pieces available to be physically handled and played with, this room gives Sabrina a break from the cerebral task of designing online.  It’s the place where she decides what shape a charm should take, or how a compass might look on a piece, or how a trinket might match another vintage piece.  Looks like fun, doesn’t it?

Here’s where the real nutcutting occurs – Sabrina’s graphic design space.  Joan and Alice love this room, since its where their girl hangs out every day.  Every piece of furniture in this room is especially soft and snuggly, since everybody has to be comfortable to get work done.  Of course, Sabrina is forced to sit in that desk chair while the poodles lay nearby and sigh or snore their inspiration.

And at the end of the day, its the living room where the poodles congregate, leaving little room on the sofa for Sabrina and Bruce.  I’ve been there and seen it – there’s frequently three standard poodles, their two masters (that’s a very loose term) and me, all on the couch watching a little True Blood on a Sunday night.

Sabrina’s house is filled with New Mexico light, kitsch, color and poodle love.  It’s no wonder Pick Up Sticks’ designs are so whimsical and appealing.

Next week:  Glena’s house.  You’re gonna totally want to live in this place.  Amazingly enough, there’s a poodle there as well.  Plus the closet of all closets – you won’t want to miss that post.

We’d love to see where you live and how you inspire yourself.  Send a photo to sabrina@pickupsticks.net and we just might put the place where you create on our Facebook page!

Pick Up Sticks New Designs and See You in Dallas!

Pick Up Sticks is on the road again this week, heading to the Dallas Market Center for the Dallas Finds Show from June 21 to 24, 2012.  We’ll be on the 13th Floor in Booth 9001, showing off all our new designs, as well as all the old favorites.

The new designs are all about fun and color and whimsy, and if you’re an exclusive customer of Pick Up Sticks, you can get a 10% discount on your Pick Up Sticks order as long as the order is placed no later than July 11, 2012.

Prefer to do your shopping in the booth in Dallas?  We’re offering the same great deal to our exclusives who come in to the booth to say hello and place their order there.  This offer excludes any show specials, but otherwise it’s a great way to stock up on Pick Up Sticks new designs.

We love our exclusive retailers, and we want you to know it.  Not sure whether you’re an exclusive or not?  Just call the studio to see how close you might be, and then order enough to get you to exclusive status.  We’d love to share this great deal with you!

See you in Dallas.  If we miss you there, we’ll be in Atlanta from July 13 to 17, in Chicago at the Beckman’s Handcrafted Show from July 21 – 24, and in New York at the New York International Gift Fair August 19 – 22.  Get location and booth details here.

Make Easter Charming with Pick Up Sticks!

Easter offers us several things, depending on our viewpoints.  For some it’s a holiday devoted to a celebration of spirituality.  For others, it’s a  great excuse for gift-giving (we figure you’re never too old for an Easter basket).  It gives us a reason to dress in our absolute best finery (white shoes included).  For some of us, it’s the only time of year we wear a hat to church.

Whatever your inclination, Pick Up Sticks has charms to help you celebrate the Christian holiday, load up your best friend’s Easter basket AND accessorize that Easter bonnet.

Check out these combinations of Pick Up Sticks charms, trinkets and chains.  There’s still plenty of time to order for your retail customers and help them choose the perfect Easter necklace.  If you’re not a wholesale customer, check the Pick Up Sticks website for a retailer near you.

And Happy Easter from Pick Up Sticks!

Pick Up Sticks Design Contest Winner – The Mole Hole of Somerset, KY

We thought holding a contest to find the best displays from Pick Up Sticks retailers would be great fun – give us some new ideas, show us how all of you out there do it. . .We just had no inkling how tough it would be to pick a winner.  But we have, and we’re pleased to announce The Mole Hole of Somerset has taken the cake, set the standard, seized the prize!  And won themselves $200 of wholesale jewelry by doing so.

Are these displays great or what?  We especially love the dog, which The Mole Hole calls Pick the Dog.  Their story is that they found him waiting outside the front door one morning and decided to let him in for a while.  He was so grateful that he chose to make himself useful, and has been displaying their Pick Up Sticks jewelry since day one.  He makes us laugh out loud. . .

And these framed, themed displays?  Rosa from The Mole Hole says, “One of our employees keeps a large supply of scrap-booking materials – vintage papers, stickers, quotes, decals, etc.  We thought the concept behind Pick Up Sticks would be enhanced by displaying similar subjects in a shadow box or frame. . .”

We agree.  Using vintage materials to display Pick Up Sticks, and doing it in such an appealing way (hmmmm – a frame within a frame?) is a great way to sell jewelry.  You make us proud, Mole Hole, and you’ve given us some great ideas so share with other retailers.

By the way, you can find The Mole Hole at 370 S. Hwy 27 in Somerset, Kentucky, or follow them on facebook.

Thanks to all of you who entered the contest – we posted the runners-up on Facebook, and may have space here to show you some of their amazing displays in the future.  It really was a daunting task to choose the winner – we’re blown away by how creative ou retailers have been with their Pick Up Sticks displays.  Can’t wait to see how you wow us next time!

Pick Up Sticks Giveaways from our Favorite Blogs

The Graphics Fairy is one of Sabrina’s favorite blogs, and for a good reason.  For years, the Graphics Fairy has given away a daily free graphic image from the public domain (usually vintage). . .so Sabrina’s morning routine is coffee, check out Graphics Fairy’s image of the day, more coffee, and then get to work designing.

From the Graphics Fairy Blog

In fact, one of our favorite new charms uses the cutest little fairy girl we’ve ever seen, and we got her image from the Graphics Queen.

From the Graphics Queen blog

These images are screen shots of The Graphics Queen’s latest post, which just happens to be a giveaway of Pick Up Sticks Jewelry.

From the Graphics Fairy Blog

See her giveaway details below and on her Blog.

From the Graphics Fairy Blog

Of course, we wanted all of you to know about the giveaway – if you want to enter to win Pick Up Sticks jewelry, you have until 10:00 p.m. tonight!

A couple of weeks ago, Pick Up Sticks was featured as a giveaway in the I Love New Mexico Blog.  The only requirement for entering the drawing was to either comment or subscribe to the blog.  After a pile of comments and 22 new subscribers, a winner was chosen.

Got a blog of your own?  We’d be thrilled to hear from you and maybe offer a piece of jewelry as a giveaway piece.  Comment below and provide a link to your site.  And for those of you who want to be informed about any Pick Up Sticks giveaways?  Just become a Facebook fan and we’ll keep you posted!

Pick Up Sticks New Designs!!

They’re here!  More new Pick Up Sticks photo charms and trinkets for Summer 2011.

And as always, Sabrina created trinkets that will go perfectly with the photos charms, like this small bee with the Just Be charm above.

Everyone in the studio is loving this Two of a Kind friend charm. . .

which would look gorgeous with the new faceted drop above, don’t you think?

AND the faceted drop would look great with this Love Hoo You Are charm. . .which would look great with our new small owl trinket. . .

Or how about all three together? 

We think our new Best Friend Queen is going to be one of this season’s hottest sellers. . .

But we don’t know if she’ll outdo our new Queen of Happiness.

Regardless of which charm is the best seller, we think they’ll both look great on a chain with our new Crown Heart trinket.

Our Garden Girl is sure to be a big hit as well, given everyone’s current determination to  grow as much of their own food as possible.  (Yes, we’re growing a garden – are you?)

Our new word for this season is Lucky.  It describes how we feel about our job of creating and selling a jewelry line that’s so well-received by all of you.

Totally stoked?  We are, and we’re especially excited about our new Dots Numbers.  All the hip moms are going to be wanting several – we’re pretty sure Michael Jordan’s Mom would have worn a 23 all those years he played for the Bulls.  Or how about new brides?  They’ll be wanting the date of their big day. . .

And finally, our new spacers, which will go with all our new charms and trinkets, and with everything you already have in your collection.

Pick Up Sticks Retailers – Watch your e-mail for your exclusive newsletter offering you a 10% discount if you order before show season (and if you’re not an exclusive yet, we’ll let you know if you’re within $500 of the required $1,500).  You’re going to want to order a pile of these new Pick Up Sticks designs!

Pick Up Sticks Retail Website

 Have you heard?  Pick Up Sticks now has a retail website at http://shop.pickupsticks.net.  We’re so excited!  And we’re very proud of our site -take a look and tell us if you don’t agree that it’s totally fun and eye-catching! 

 And why do we now have a retail website?  After years of requests from customers who weren’t able to locate a retailer or a specific charm, we decided the best way to take care of our collectors was to create a place where they could find every single item in our line.

In the process we had to learn how to launch the space shuttle of computer programming and digest an entirely new technological language, replete with words like hosting platform, HTML, A-files, security certificates. . .we were old dogs learning new tricks, and let us tell you, it wasn’t pretty.  Who knew jewelry-making girls from rural New Mexico could actually figure all that out?  It was like calculus (which none of us passed). . there were days when it hardly seemed worth it.  But now we’re totally pumped about the results!

As always, we still think the best way to get your Pick Up Sticks addiction fed is to find a retailer – a place with an owner who loves the line, staff wearing interesting combinations of charms, and a gorgeous display full of your favorite photos charms, trinkets and necklaces.  We talked about how to find your favorite Pick Up Sticks retailer before (http://bit.ly/dP2iAR) and we urge you to do just that.  Actually getting your hands on our jewelry really makes for some fun shopping.  But if you’re unable to get to a brick and mortar store, or if your retailer can’t order the charm you want most, you can always check out our new site. . .

Take a look and let us know what you think.  Here’s a five-star review we recently received from a customer – she’s exactly the person we were looking to serve when we created the website:

Reviewer:  Patricia from central NJ

“I love my mermaid pendant…from the first moment I saw it on a display in a little gift shop in Sanibel Island, Florida 3 years ago, I knew it was for me! I get complimented every time I wear it. It never fails that someone will notice it and say, “what is that necklace you’re wearing?”. I love the art work, as well as the message. I once thought I had lost this pendant…couldn’t find it anywhere…I was so sad, because I had no idea how I’d ever replace it…and then one day, it popped up…a very happy moment! And, for some reason, it wasn’t until just a few days ago that I noticed the inscription on the bottom of the pendant “pickup sticks jewelry”…and then I found your wonderful website! And now, just days later, you’ve started selling retail! I couldn’t be happier! keep up the good work!!”

Thanks Patricia!  And thanks to all Pick Up Sticks fans.  We’d love to hear more of your “searching for Pick Up Sticks” stories.  If we can, we’ll find a retailer near you so that you get the full experience of shopping the line.  And if not, feel free to find us online at  http://shop.pickupsticks.net/!

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