Alumna creates Hobo Day inspired jewelry

By Pat Bowden Reporter

Since the Hobo Shoppe opened in 2012, a Hobo Day inspired jewelry line called Mama Peacock has been sold during the week leading up to Hobo Day. The jewelry line has gained popularity among students, Brookings community members and SDSU alumni alike.

The Hobo Shoppe opened on the 100-year anniversary of Hobo Day and set out to serve the purpose of promoting more Hobo Day custom products that were not previously available, according Nick Wendell, one of the entrepreneurs of the Hobo Shoppe.

“After 2012 we really thought it was a nice idea to offer those types of ideas [for Hobo Day] and there was an opportunity there and we could supply that,” Wendell said. “We think it’s a cool way to get students and alum … in the spirit for Hobo Day.”

When starting the Hobo Shoppe, Wendell reached out to Sarah Dorn, the owner and driving force behind Mama Peacock, in order to sell jewelry that would be designed by her specifically for Hobo Day.

“I did it as a fun outlet as gifts when I started, and I realized that there was a niche that needed to be filled for school jewelry,” Dorn said. “I’m a 2000 [SDSU] graduate and [then] worked in the admissions office … one of my old professors told me Nick Wendell was trying to get the Hobo Shoppe started so we both talked about our vision and what we wanted to do and since then the demand has created the product for the store.”

Dorn said her vision for Mama Peacock was to “continue with new trends and create something an alum or current student would love to wear” and her products have done just that, according to Wendell.

“What I love about her [Dorn’s] product is it’s homemade, but it still has a very special feel to it; she’s really honed her craft and it really stands out,” Wendell said. “She has a really good eye for what materials to use that make her product really sharp, and it appeals to all generations that is suitable for student and community members.”

Dorn also happened to have a license in order to make SDSU merchandise, which is another reason why the partnership for the two young businesses fit.

“I know she has the registered trademark and she had a really cool product that had a lot of support in the region already, and she’s an SDSU alum so she really got how important Hobo Day was and she was excited to be a part of it,” Wendell said.

Dorn has not expanded her jewelry to other locations because she connects a deeper meaning to her jewelry.

“I had spoken with someone during the bookstore remodel and the follow up didn’t happen, and I just really like the partnership with the Hobo Shoppe, they have a fun vision for what it [Mama Peacock] is,” Dorn said. “It’s more than a piece of jewelry, it’s to show all the great memories you had on Hobo Day with friends or faculty.”

Wendell claims the Mama Peacock jewelry is a good seller at the Hobo Shoppe, and also revealed that Dorn makes more than just Hobo Day jewelry under Mama Peacock.

“It’s [Mama Peacock] one of our most popular items and I think it’s something that keeps people coming back every year, and it’s not just Hobo Day stuff, it’s Jackrabbit stuff and Brookings Bobcat stuff as well,” Wendell said. 

Whether it’s an alum, student or community member wearing Dorn’s jewelry, Dorn sees the Hobo Day jewelry as something more than just a product that could have been made overseas, and has her own reasons for continuing the partnership with the Hobo Shoppe other than for profit.

“The items in the store [Hobo Shoppe] are created by current students or alum and that’s cool to me to buy something made by someone who walked on this campus and buying that, it’s a way to pay it forward [to the school],” Dorn said. “It started out as a hobby and it has become more profitable. As a licensed vendor I do pay royalty fees so it’s a small way to give back to the university as they make more presence in Division I.”

Wendell said the partnership with Dorn is more than good, and hopes that the goods sold at the Hobo Shoppe help celebrate Hobo Day even more.

“Sarah has been a phenomenal partner over the years and we’re excited to continue that partnership and we’re excited to carry Mama Peacock jewelry,” Wendell said. “I think students get excited [for Hobo Day] because it’s an opportunity to celebrate SDSU and enrich their experience.”

Dorn got the name for her company from her mother’s maiden name and said it has a special meaning to her work.

“Peacock is my maiden name and my mom has always been very artsy and creative so I named it after her,” said Dorn.

The Mama Peacock jewelry is only sold at the Hobo Shoppe in The Union. Items range from $2 for a custom magnet to around $50 for “more intricate necklace designs,” according to Dorn.