Pick Up Sticks Retailers – Find Your Favorite

Just one example of the Pick Up Sticks necklaces jewelry you can create after locating your favorite Pick Up Sticks retailer.

Just one example of the Pick Up Sticks necklaces jewelry you can create after locating your favorite Pick Up Sticks retailer.

We’re always telling you how much we love our Pick Up Sticks retailers, and we try to feature one of them in a blog post on a regular basis.  But have you found one near you?  Do you have a favorite Pick Up Sticks retailer of your own?

If you’re really going to go green and support your hometown economy, there’s nothing like shopping and buying locally.  Pick Up Sticks retailers already know how fabulous the line is, and they’ll show you their bestsellers as well as what’s new.

Probably one of the greatest advantages to buying from one of our retailers is that they’re happy to help you assemble your necklace and bracelets once you find the perfect combination of charms and trinkets.  They can keep you informed about when new designs arrive so that you can add to your collection.  Another benefit of buying from a local retailer is that  you don’t have to pay for shipping.

1-photo3 copy

And if you are looking for a favorite charm from the past that might have been discontinued from our line, call around to a few brick and mortar Mom and Pop stores to see if they have it in stock. Often you can find special charms that aren’t available from an online store.

As you already know, getting your hands on Pick Up Sticks is a satisfying shopping experience – they’re even better in person than in these pictures!

You can always go to our website and find a store carrying Pick Up Sticks near you.  Or check out the links in the column on the left of this blog post – we’ve been pleased to link to several retailers who asked to be included here.

Happy shopping. If you already have a favorite Pick Up Sticks retail store, let us know who they are so we can give them a shout out on our Facebook page.

If all your best efforts to find a local retailer are unsuccessful, suggest to your favorite store owners that they carry the line.  And finally, if all else fails, or if you’re living in a remote area that only the UPS guy can find, you’re welcome to shop the Pick Up Sticks retail website.

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 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?

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 June Retailer of the Month – Beauty and the Beach

We’re big fans of clever business names at Pick Up Sticks (in fact, we think our own business name is a bit clever) and we all agree Beauty and the Beach, 30 Hwy 90 East, Little River, South Carolina (843-390-3700) is one our favorites.  Not only is the business name fun and smart, Beauty and the Beach is our choice for June’s Retailer of the Month.

Beauty and the Beach is a hair salon just minutes from Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.  They’ve been in business for 15 years, and they’ve seen jewelry lines come and go.  Why did they choose Pick Up Sticks?  Tammy Phillips of Beauty and the Beach says that along with the whimsy of the line, they really love the magic clips and the fact that the clips make the charms so easily interchangeable.

“Vintage bling” is what Tammy thinks of when someone mentions Pick Up Sticks, and she’s found that displaying the line so that customers can touch and see both sides of the charms works best for getting pieces sold.  “Wear it to sell it!” is the salon motto.  Customers who see their stylist wearing Pick Up Sticks are more likely to stop at the display on their way to the cash register.  And of course, once they see the line, customers are totally hooked into buying at least one charm.

When asked how Pick Up Sticks has changed the atmosphere of the retail space, Tammy says, “It’s definitely more fun!”  There’s nothing to get women buying jewelry like a couple of laughs while they’re choosing their charms.  The cross trinket and the alphabet charms sell well for Beauty and the Beach, as do the charms that say “blessed.”

Myrtle Beach is a gorgeous place to hang out, and we’re suspecting there are several of our lucky  readers who will get the privilege to spend part of their summer there.  While you’re in town, stop by Beauty & The Beach and tell them hello for us.  We wish we were at the beach right now. . .

Pick Up Sticks and Pinterest – Part I: How We Do It

We don’t know about the rest of you, but if you had asked us a year ago whether we were on Pinterest, our response would have been a puzzled, “Huh?”. And I’m pretty sure we would have said, “Nah, we’re not getting involved in another social media platform.”

Today it’s a different story.   In January 2012, comScore reported that Pinterest had 11.7 million unique visitors, making it the fastest site ever to break through the 10 million user mark.  Crazy numbers like that combined with the fact that Pinterest users actually stay on the site longer than users of other social media sites got us to thinking.  Could Pick Up Sticks benefit from a Pinterest page?  And could our followers provide us with design inspiration?

Of course we weren’t the only ones thinking that way.  There are now hundreds of blog posts and articles and webinars about how small businesses can use Pinterest to drive traffic to their retail websites.

We’re doing this post in two parts:  this week we want to show you what Pick Up Sticks is doing on Pinterest so that you might be inspired to try something like this for your business.  Next week we’ll actually give you some concrete information and links on using Pinterest for small businesses so that you can research it further and decide whether a Pinterest board might work for you.

Here’s the link to our Pinterest page and boards:  http://pinterest.com/pickupsticksj/ .  Once the boards were created, we invited some of our faithful customers to become curators or contributors to our boards.  You can do the same – the instructions for letting other people contribute to your boards is in the Pinterest help menu, which is under the “About” button on your Pinterest page.

Once the potential contributors received the e-mail inviting them to pin to our boards, they were off!  Our contributors exceeded our wildest expectations.  Sabrina asked them for color ideas, “less than 7 words” quotations, vintage photos, and several other board topics.  As you can see from the page, these women found some great ideas.  And in the process they repinned Pick Up Sticks images so that buyers unfamiliar with our product might click through to our websie to get more info.

We’re really proud of our Pinterest page.  Our contributors have been so industrious that we sent them all a Pick Up Sticks surprise recently.  The process has opened up a dialogue with the contributors that allows them to show us what they like and what they want to see in the future. Because this is an ongoing process, having the page keeps both pinners and followers engaged and returning for another look.  All of which adds up to our being better able to keep the customer happy.

That’s what it’s all about when you have a small business, we think. The very best thing about social media is that it has given us a way to interact with our fans and find out what they like best and want most.

Stay tuned for next week’s post when we’ll share ideas other businesses are using on Pinterest.  And if you’re so inclined, feel free to visit our Pinterest boards and repin some of our images.  We’d be happy to do the same for you – just comment below with your Pinterest page URL.

And Happy Pinning!

Pick Up Sticks Retailer of the Month for May – Fiddle Stix

Fiddle Stix – fun name, very fun boutique setting, and located at 4165 Chappel Drive in Perrysburg, Ohio (419-931-2022).  We’re happy to feature Fiddle Stix as our May 2012 Retailer of the Month.

Fiddle Stix is a locally owned boutique and gallery that prides itself on exceptional customer service.  Jenelle Calverley says Fiddle Stix is the perfect destination for unique gifts and collectibles that are perfect for any occasion, whether it be a wedding, anniversary, birthday, or baby shower.

In addition to Pick Up Sticks, Fiddle Stix product lines include but are not limited to Vera Bradley handbags, Spartina scarves and handbags, Lindsay Phillips scarves and shoes, Trollbeads, Kameleon Jewelry, John Medeiros, Coton Colors ceramics, and Mud Pie.  They also offer stationary and invitations for any event.  Follow the store on on Facebook or visit them at www.fiddlestixboutique.com.

Jenelle says the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions “Pick Up Sticks Jewelry” is “unique and whimsical.  This line has a charming vintage feel that is so original it’s hard to find a comparison.”

She goes on to say, “We selected Pick Up Sticks for its uniqueness and one- of-a- kind charms.   The handmade collectibles are perfect for everyone and for every occasion.  The jewelry fits so perfectly in the fun and whimsical atmosphere of our store.”

Jenelle believes allowing customers to “interact” with the jewelry as much as possible drives sales:  “We display the charms on large round glass trays so the customers can interact with and examine the detailed photos. We like to create example pieces that illustrate to customers how the charms can be worn.  We encourage them to mix and match photos together to create a truly unique piece of art.  The best way to sell Pick Up Sticks though is to wear the jewelry so the customers can see how beautiful the pieces are!”  Her best advice:  Be sure customers can easily touch and see the product.

Fiddle Stix customers love to combine the initial charms with a unique charm that they feel best  describes themselves or the person they’re buying for.  They also love the humor in the jewelry.  “It makes it very enjoyable to sell and it makes the customer’s buying experience fun!  It definitely lightens the mood of the shop when people are browsing Pick Up Sticks.”

Jenelle shared the following story with us:  “I had a customer come in looking for a charm to put a photo in. It ended up being a gift for a friend who just lost her father. They decided to put a small photo of her father in the charm so every time she wore the necklace, she would be reminded of her dad. The friend had searched all over town for the perfect gift for her grieving friend, and it wasn’t until she came to Fiddle Stix did she find the meaningful gift she was looking for.”

Thanks Jenelle.  That’s why we do what we do – we want Pick Up Sticks to be a fun, whimsical, and meaningful gift for everyone.

If you’re in the Fiddle Stix neighborhood, drop in and say hi and choose a new charm.  It looks like a great place to shop!

Pick Up Sticks heads to London!

Black cabs, double-decker buses, Harrod’s, Buckingham Palace, fish and chips, Westminster Abbey, and from what we hear, warm beer.  All symbols of London, and just part of what we plan to experience when we travel across the pond in September to our very first European market experience at Earl’s Court Exhibition Center in Olympia, London.

The show is called “Top Drawer” (which we love), and from what we hear, ” Top Drawer is a unique retail buying event, giving your company unrivalled access to the most influential buyers in the UK. It combines the most stylish gift brands from the UK and Europe with high-end buyers.”  That’s the spiel on the website.

It all looks incredibly hip.  Sleek.  Very European.

Pick Up Sticks Booth – we think we’ll fit in perfectly with the very sleek and hip Europeans. . .

And it gives us a chance to see how Pick Up Sticks will fare in an international market.

We already have a great following in Canada, and we’re hoping this trip will give us an excuse to travel to someplace like Paris or Dublin in a couple of years to meet more retailers!

All we know is that we’re excited and very anxious to meet folks in Europe who have never seen Pick Up Sticks. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, or if you know a European retailer who might like to carry Pick Up Sticks, we’ll be in Booth J80 at Earl’s Court Exhibition Center on September 16, 17 and 18.

If you’re a retailer in the UK who’s interested in ordering Pick Up Sticks before we arrive for the show, contact us now.  You could have the line established in your store and an exclusive for your area long before we arrive.

We can’t wait.  See you at Big Ben!

(London photos courtesy of Top Drawer website)

Pick Up Sticks Mentors III – Gil Tani and Lothantique

When we were just starting out in this biz, we didn’t make a concerted effort to find mentors.  We just sort of stumbled upon them.  Remember Hondo and Alice?  We met him while taking a break.  Carol the Seaglass Girl?  Sat up down the aisle from us and took us under her wing.

Gil's Pick Up Sticks booth in Toronto

Always, just at the moment when we felt like maybe our business needed a bit of tweaking, someone came along who had knowledge and experience, and by paying attention and listening, we learned amazing things.

It’s difficult to say which of our mentors gave us the most guidance, but we definitely want to recognize Gil Tani and Lothantique.  We wrote about him before in this blog – we called him our own Pick Up Sticks rock star.  Gil is our distributor in Canada and his distribution company operates under Lothantique, Inc..  He’s also the owner of gorgeous retail space, Belle de Provence, in Toronto, so he has vast experience selling elegant gifts.

The rock star himself, Gil Tani at the New York International Gift Fair

Meeting Gil and his wife Yvonne when we did always felt a little like serendipity.  Things hadn’t worked out well with our distributor in Canada, and Yvonne  happened to walk into our booth in Atlanta on the right day.  After discussing our needs, she led us to Gil so that we could talk to him about taking over the market in Canada.  We’ve often discussed how we felt an instant connection with both of them.

Our business in Canada soared under Gil’s direction, and this year he’s helped get us into the European market.  We’re headed to London to do a show this fall, and all the credit goes to Gil!

Gil is a man of much action and few words, so when we asked him to give us a paragraph or two for this blog, he predictably didn’t waste a lot of space.  Here’s what he said:

“We initially got acquainted with Pick Up Sticks as a retailer, we found the line at the Atlanta Gift Show, and carried it in our Belle de Provence store. Two years later we were doing well with the product in our store and Sabrina & Glena were looking for a distributor in Canada.  As we love the line we volunteered to represent them in Canada. We found Glena & Sabrina very open & friendly and the connection was instant.

In regards to advice, I told them to concentrate on what works!”

Gil's fabulous sales team selling Pick Up Sticks in Toronto

We’re forever grateful to Gil and Yvonne for taking a chance with Pick Up Sticks and for continuing to give us ideas for building our business.  Check out their websites – their product is gorgeous and very luxurious and we’re sure you’re going to want to place an order.

And if you’re in London in September, stop in and see us.  Thanks, Gil, for inspiring us to make that big move!

Pick Up Sticks and Mother’s Day

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” ~Elizabeth Stone

At Pick Up Sticks we love this quote.  It’s true that there is nothing in the world quite like being a mother.  The way we feel about our own mothers is another matter completely – they are the places where our heart first found itself.  Mother’s Day gives us the perfect opportunity to show them what they mean to us.

Beyond the sentiment of motherhood, there is the fact that as retailers, Mother’s Day give us a great way to honor the incredible women in our life.  But better than that, it’s an amazing retail opportunity.

Research shows that beyond the winter holidays (Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza), Mother’s Day is the second largest consumer spending holiday.  According to the National Retail Foundation, the average person will spend $126.90 this year on Mother’s Day gifts.  Total spending is expected to exceed $14.6 million (www.nrf.com).  We love those numbers!

You’re a smart retailer.  You already know that Mother’s Day brings an entirely new (and frequently bewildered) crowd of buyers into your retail space – husbands with no clue, children with a pocketful of change, even teenagers in a hurry.

Ordering Pick Up Sticks charms geared specifically to Mother’s Day provides you with a quick and very affordable way to turn all those lookers into buyers.  Check out these designs and beef up your inventory with several of each.

If you can, create display space near your cash register with loose Mother’s Day charms for those buyers who simply can’t make a decision about how best to treat Mom.  Put together several necklaces for staff to wear to give your customers great buying ideas.

Tap into the national buying trend this Mother’s Day.  And give your customers a whimsical, sweet and sentimental way to honor the amazing Moms in their lives!

Published in: on April 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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