When Mark Alexander started Peyote Bird in 1973, it was less of a business and more of a leap of faith. Having just graduated from college at the University of Denver with a degree in economics, he had little idea of what to do with his life. At the time, Native American jewelry was becoming very popular and he had a noticeable attraction to it. So when he went on a road trip with a friend to Mexico in his old Volkswagen bug with only $300 in his pocket, he decided to stop at a Native American reservation in New Mexico on his way back to buy some jewelry.
Upon return, he sold the pieces he bought on an old Navajo rug at the University of Denver. It was a huge success, so he buckled down and decided to do the business for real. Now after 40 years of success, including working with accounts such as Ralph Lauren, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, and Sundance, Alexander reflects on his legacy.
“When I first began driving across the country selling Southwestern jewelry in 1973, I never imagined that Peyote Bird Designs would become what it is today—a global company supplying major retailers all over the United States,” he stated on his website. “What is important to me now is keeping the same values I learned as a small business person—open communication, investment in the success of both employees and clients, and production of artistic, high-quality jewelry that I am proud of.” He now plans to pass those values on to his daughter, along with the business.
Watch Alexander tell his story below and visit our online collection of Native American jewelry on our website.