New Designs AND a Discount for Exclusive Pick Up Sticks Retailers

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

Pick Up Sticks – Thanksgiving Every Day

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 – Mary Jane’s in Estes Park, CO and Hawaii

Colorado Store Interior

Our retailer of the month for October, Mary Jane’s, 356 E. Elkhorn in Estes Park, Colorado, has all the style and charm we’ve come to expect from Pick Up Sticks retailers.  Their Colorado store is fun, upbeat and filled with eclectic gifts (especially if you’re looking to treat yourself). But they’ve gone one step further than most of our retailers. They’ve opened a second store. . .in Waikoloa, HI at 250 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Unit K10.

Colorado Store Display

Yes, you read that correctly.  Colorado AND Hawaii. Don’t you think we all need to field trip ourselves to that second location?  Not that Estes Park isn’t one of the most scenic settings in the country, but Hawaii? We’re totally into visiting that store. . .

Mary and Steve Smithson opened the Colorado store (http://maryjanesinestes.com/)   in 2005, hoping to bring a very unique shopping experience to Estes Park, a small town of about 8,000, which expands every year with approximately 3 million visitors. They’ve devoted themselves to finding a great mix for both their local customers as well as all the tourists that find their way to the gorgeous mountain town. We can only imagine how much fun they’ve had filling the Hawaii store. . .

Colorado Store Exterior

When we asked Mary what she loved best about Pick Up Sticks, she said, “I love the sassy charms, and how you’ve given everyone the ability to express themselves differently with jewelry – everyone’s final design represents their individual interests or personality.”

“I love how people oooh and ahhh in the space that we created for Pick Up Sticks.  They stand there and find special charms and call their friends over to show them.  At times we have a whole group of women crowded around our pot rack reading the charms out loud and saying who each reminds them of.”

Hawaii Store Exterior

Best sellers for Mary Jane’s?  Chicklet initials, trinkets, and spacers.  Mary is quick to recommend that a retailer keeps a large variety on hand so that each customer finds a piece that expresses them the best. She’s also adamant that her store keep plenty of initials in stock.  Those go fast, she says.

Mary found that displaying her Pick Up Sticks from a pot rack works, and she says giving customers the chance to handle and turn the charms over is her best advice for quick sales.  “It allows us to add interest in our store with our colorful ribbon hanging down, and people stand there for long periods of time reading each one until they find their special charm.”

Hawaii Store Display

“I love the variety of designs; all the different categories that appeal to different people.  There is something for everyone.  I also love the variety of sizes and shapes for the initials.  From a retailer’s point of view, I love the promotions, the zip code protection, and the periodic new introductions.  Shipping is FAST too!”

We’re very happy with Mary’s response to our Retailer questionnaire, and we’re envious that she gets to spend her days in Estes Park, the Gateway to the Rockies. And yes, we’re especially envious that she also gets to divide her time there with time in Hawaii.

Thanks Mary for your Pick Up Sticks enthusiasm. We’re thrilled to be part of your retail space!

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!

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

Glena, Daphney (miniature Dachsund) and Logan (standard poodle) on her front porch, surrounded by the results of her gardening skills.

In our previous post on Sabrina’s house, we talked at length about how the homes of the Pick Up Sticks crew are their own form of art and inspiration.  Having a place that both envelopes you with comfort and provides you with inspiration has always been Glena and Sabrina’s goal.  I’ve known them both forever, and their ability to create a home that is both beautiful and inviting is pretty incredible.

What’s even more amazing is how Glena’s home reflects her personality.  Glena’s the details person at Pick Up Sticks.  She’s the partner with the business and finance degree who, while helping with the creative process, makes the train run and stay on the tracks.  She’s the precision behind the ordering process, setting up the shows, handling the inventory issues, keeping the staff on track. . . and interestingly enough, even though she’s a details person, she also has an innate ability to see the entire big picture, making sure every piece of the puzzle fits.

Her house is, like Glena, a collection of appealing details that make for a very comfortable and beautiful whole.  Her living room, pictured above and below, is the perfect blend of new furniture she purchased at market (she says she loves Guildmaster), antiques, and odds and ends she’s picked up at junk stores.  You can see that the couch is big enough for the entire family.  It’s where they pile up with dogs and drinks and popcorn and watch movies.

Her favorite piece of furniture in the entire house is the antique seed cabinet pictured above.  It was originally in a hardware store, and every drawer is metal-lined because its purpose was to store a variety of grains and flower seeds.  She uses it to display her favorite things, including her collection of antique clocks.

Who wouldn’t be inspired in Glena’s kitchen? I love this room – it’s the place where we all tend to congregate in the evenings, waiting on one of her go-to dishes which include red chile enchiladas, calabacitas, grilled salmon and grilled artichokes (hmmmmm.  Do we need to do a blog post with recipes for those dishes?  Wouldn’t that be a treat?  Because they are truly delicious.)  Warm and inviting, the kitchen is an exact reflection of who Glena is – she wants her family and friends nearby so that she can take care of the details for all of us.

And then there’s the closet.  Leave it to Glena to turn one of her extra bedrooms into a closet and then meticulously organize it, moving her washer and dryer in as well.  This is an idea she had in high school.  In the dreaded home ec class, we were all required to draw plans for our dream house.  Guess which detail Glena drew in that none of the rest of us had thought of?  The convenience of being able to take clothes right out of the dryer and hang them in the same room never dawned on the rest of us.

Glena’s all about the details AND all about the big picture.  We all know that from how smoothly the business end of Pick Up Sticks runs every day.  And now you know it from seeing her house.

Be sure to check back next week for more inspiration from the homes of the Pick Up Sticks crew.  And I’ll work on getting that red chile enchilada recipe for you. . .

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