Q & A Thursday with Tomte!

We are very happy to have Tomte with us today on our final Q & A before the Market on Saturday! Tomte Craft, a fabulous Denver shop showcasing handcrafters from across the country, was created by Brett and Crystal of Vital Industries (one of Horseshoe's Featured Vendors!). Tomte has been super generous for donating vendor totes for us on Saturday. Thank you, Tomte!

Brett and Crystal are not only the founders of Tomte and Vital, but also of Denver Handmade Alliance! Though they are humble, quiet-seeming folk, they are moving and shaking the craft world in Denver! Simply said, they are awesome. Please read more about them and Tomte below. We are glad you're in Denver doing what you're doing, Brett and Crystal! Go visit Tomte at 1644 Platte Street to see lots of amazing goodies!

HS (Horseshoe Market): Can you tell us a little bit about how Tomte came to be? (when you started, inspiration…)

Brett and I have been creating and selling our personal line, Vital Industries, since 2007. In our travels to large craft markets we would meet so many amazing makers from across the country, and we wanted Denver to have a showcase for their work. The internet is fantastic for craft and handmade, but it’s also very important for people to be able to interact with things in person. There’s a much larger depth of experience. Last October, the space Tomte is in came available, and it was just a natural step.

HS: We love your little gnome – is there a back story on him or how you came up with the name Tomte?

Tomte: Brett’s family is Swedish/Norwegian, and we’ve always been drawn to the Scandinavian aesthetic. I have a few little wood and wool gnomes from Sweden that I’ve received as gifts, and when we were naming the store, the word “Tomte” (who are little gnomes that help out and do chores while you’re sleeping) just seemed perfect. Our two little tomten were kind enough to be figure models for the logo.

HS: How many artists do you currently have at Tomte? How do you find new artists or how do new artists become part of Tomte?

Tomte currently has about 30 artists in the store. As Vital Industries, we spent the last few years traveling to large craft fairs such as Renegade Craft Fair and Urban Craft Uprising, and have met some amazing makers. In the very beginning, Brett and I simply asked our crafty friends if they would send some things to the store, and they were kind enough to do so. It is important to us to fill the store with things that we love. Because of that, most of the artists that are in the store we’ve invited personally and we are careful to keep the curated feel cohesive.
Inside the lovely Tomte Craft on Platte Street

HS: What’s been one of the greatest accomplishments/events/milestones for Tomte?

Tomte will be having its one year anniversary in October, so that’s definitely an exciting milestone for us. We feel an incredible sense of accomplishment when someone is totally blown away by something in the store. Also, we love when we can connect a customer to an artist that they might not have been exposed to otherwise. Supporting the artists that are represented in the store is a passion of ours, and we like nothing more than to send them a check. Some of our vendors are casual crafters, but many of them are full time makers, and we’re very happy to be able to help them do that.

HS: What’s in store for Tomte in the coming months? In the coming year?

We hope to continue to grow our customer and artist base, as well as taking a bigger role in promoting handmade locally. Also, we are keeping an eye out for space where our studio and store can be directly connected; a space where Tomte can expand a bit and host open makers’ nights and workshops.
Vital Industries Old Fashioned Glasses. Vital Industries also screen printed the Horseshoe t-shirts!

HS: Where do you think the future of handmade in Denver is going? What is Tomte’s role with that?

Denver’s handmade community is growing, and it’s quite possible Denver can have a national presence in the craft scene. We’ve been involved with the Denver Handmade Alliance, whose mission is to promote handmakers in the greater Denver area – fostering creativity, supporting buying handmade and shopping locally, while providing outreach and education for the craft community.

Eventually, we’d like Tomte to become a gathering place. A little spot in Denver where people come to be inspired to work on their own creative projects and shoppers can find great handmade goods.

HS: What are some of your must have handmaking/crafting/artisan resources?

Tomte: Brett spends a lot of time on Etsy.com running our Vital shop. Etsy’s blog, “the storque”, has great business resources, as well as tips for making the most of selling on Etsy. We are huge fans of the site. It’s where Vital got its start and is what has enabled us to do what we do.

HS: Favorite spots to craft in Denver?

Tomte: Brett and I spend a lot of time in our studio, which is in the same building as Tomte. It has great light, and plenty of room to spread out. (And spread out we do). Outside of that, Fancy Tiger’s Craft Night is pretty great. We don’t make it nearly often enough, but it’s a great place to hang out and make things. (Brett tends to have a beer or two mixed in his craft case with his crafting supplies to spice up the crafting experience.)
HS: Favorite place to eat? Best coffee?

Tomte: Café Awesome. It’s in our backyard, and Brett makes a delicious grilled pizza with clams and homemade dough. Yum! We also have pretty fantastic beer, which Brett brews upstairs. Brett also makes lattes with novo espresso, raw milk from Windsor Dairy and homemade vanilla syrup. They’re delicious. It’s not currently open to the public, but if anyone really wants to stop by and have one, feel free to send us an email. (We spend lots of time at home.) Okay, we let it slip. We are huge dorks.

Well, we like dorks :) Thanks, Brett and Crystal!

Sponsor Spotlight: the Green Wish Foundation

We are thrilled that the Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market will be a "green" event, thanks to the Green Wish Foundation! Their mantra is really simple and fun: Find some trash. Pick it up. All day long, you'll have good luck! We love it. Pick up some trash and make a wish. Simple and powerful--we all can do it!

We also really love their mission: The Green Wish Foundation mission is to foster plans, actions and wishes towards a greener, cleaner and healthier Earth! We are committed to cleaning up our world, one piece of trash at a time! And each time we do...we get a wish--either for ourselves OR for the world!

Read below to check out this new non-profit focused on making the world cleaner and more hopeful, all at the same time.

HS: Can you start by telling us how and when The Green Wish Foundation got its start?

Green Wish: Ever since I was a little boy, I was always thrilled with the infinite possibilities that came when finding a penny. Somehow, being inspired to “wish” never really went away. Also, I like many other concerned citizens, have long included picking up trash as a part of leisure and exercise walks and runs. The confluence of these ideas gave birth to The Green Wish Foundation! With each of piece of trash that I picked up, I found myself inspired by the sense that I had in some small way improved my community—and my world. I hope that the Green Wish Foundation will inspire others, while also cleaning up the word, one piece of trash at a time.

HS: Can you tell us about your participation in this year’s Horseshoe?

Green Wish: We are very happy to leading “greening” efforts for this great community event! We will be offering single stream (non-sorted) recycling, composting near our food vendors and complimentary bike and stroller parking for visitors.

HS: What’s in store for The Green Wish Foundation in the coming months? In the coming year?

Green Wish: We just launched our social network campaign and are currently working on what we know will be a dynamic, engaging and interactive website this fall! We are currently developing a Facebook “app” and also hope to be launching a smart-phone “app” before 2011! We are in the process of getting our 501 (c)3 status and look forward to spreading the Green Wish concept across the country…and around the world (that’s all!) We will also be hosting a “Green Wish Run” at Sloan’s Lake Park on November 7th! 

HS: If someone wanted to get more involved with The Green Wish Foundation, how would they go about it?

Green Wish: Right now, we would encourage you to Fan us on Facebook and SHARE your own stories about Green Wishing! We also have plans available for how people can “ADOPT” a park or open space as a “Green Wish Site” and even how to host your own “Green Wish Run” for your favorite park! We can also be contacted at greenwishfoundation@gmail.com.

HS: Favorite Green Wishing spot in Denver?

Green Wish: My wife and I love living in the Highlands and our favorite place to walk is Sloan’s Lake. There is so much activity of all kinds: biking, running, sports, picnics and occasionally large fish jumping! In general the park is very clean and well taken care of. When there is trash, we feel pride in being able to pick it up help make and keep the park a wonderful, CLEAN place!

HS: Favorite place to eat?

Green Wish: Mead Street! Odd coincidence, both my wife and I went to Mead Street on the very first night we moved to Denver—she in 2004 and I in 2007! Their food and the vibe of their crowds never seem to disappoint!

HS: Best coffee?

Green Wish: Novo coffee near the DAM is always SO good.

Doug Yetman, 
Founder, The Green Wish Foundation.

Thanks, Doug!

Featured Vendors

Good morning everyone! Enjoy our last installation of our Featured Vendors! You will get to see some these lovely products and creations on Saturday!

Also, don't forget to enter our Twitter Giveaway! You have five different chances to win! Use @horseshoemarket in a 'tweet' and you're entered. Win a Horseshoe t-shirt or caramels from Helliemae's! Also, don't forget that the first 25 customers to each entrance (at 46th and at Tennyson) on Saturday get a FREE Horseshoe Craft and Flea canvas shopping tote!
1. Thin Air Creations 2. Studio Lila 3. Siouxsiequeue's 4. Peekay Soirees 5. Simply Divine 6. Siouxsiequeues.

More Featured Vendors!

Here are some more Horseshoe Market Featured Vendors! One more round coming tomorrow :) Take a gander at these lovelies...
1. Jason LeDoux Art 2. Photographic Amy 3. LSR Jewelry 4. Pheatherism

Just a few more days until the Horseshoe! Don't forget--we're doing a GIVEAWAY on Twitter! Follow us and mention us using @horseshoe to enter the drawing. We're giving away three boxes of caramels from vendor Helliemae's Salt Caramels and also two Horseshoe t-shirts! We're choosing winners on Thursday afternoon so hurry and enter! Also, first 25 folks at each entrance of the Horseshoe Market (at 46th and at Tennyson) get a FREE Horseshoe Craft and Flea shopping tote!!!

Inspiration Monday

Some of our awesome Featured Vendors! 1. Art by Cheryl Patrick 2.Donna Diddit 3. Arcatus Jewelry 4. Fern & Flora 5. Jessica Carey Ceramics 6. Kara Rosenberry Co 7. Harlow ~ Monroe Vintage 8. BirdDog Press 9. Objects of Affection

It's the last Monday before the Horseshoe Market! We are inspired by all of our vendors and their creativity and flair! We posted a collage of some of Featured Vendors over the weekend below, and today we're posting another great mix of our Featured Vendors!

We are so inspired by the community's enthusiasm and support for this event. Check out the shout-out we received from the Westword and the North Denver Tribune! For details about the event, go to our website. Also, check out our location page for info on parking and important things like toilets and the nearest ATM's :)

Happy day!

Featured Crafty Vendor Collage!

Happy weekend, folks! One week from today, we'll all be at the Horseshoe Craft and Flea at 46th and Tennyson (behind Olinger, Moore, Howard Chapel).
Check out some of our crafty featured vendors below!!! You'll be able to buy some of these super cool things from the makers of the creations next week!

1. bring about {art} fabric bracelets. 2. owl card from presents for pirates 3. tulle hair piece from Fern and Sprout 4. Vital Industries bicycle glass 5. Jason LeDoux Art sweet clocks! 6. cool gun purse from Hot Butter 7. Craftorium of TMiss Pink bracelet 8. leather poppy necklace from Hot Pink and Sequins

Horseshoe Craft and Flea Giveaway!

The Horseshoe Craft and Flea is a week from tomorrow! We are pumped!
From now until next Thursday, September 30th at noon, you all can enter to win five different GIVEAWAYS! We are giving away two Horseshoe Market t-shirts, and three boxes of caramels from our lovely vendor, Helliemae's Salt Caramels! Yum!
All entries will come through TWITTER! To enter, follow us and mention the Horseshoe by using @horseshoemarket or retweet one of our posts. That will get you in the drawing for one of these five awesome GIVEAWAYS! Winners will be announced after 3 pm on Thursday, September 30th and you can pick up your gift at the Horseshoe table on October 2nd!!

Have a great weekend, folks. We look forward to seeing all of you at 46th and Tennyson on Saturday, October 2nd!

Q & A Thursday with TOSA

We are very fortunate in Denver to have so many great organizations striving to inspire and support creative people and artists. As a part of our commitment to support the arts in Denver, the Horseshoe Craft and Flea is proud to have chosen The Other Side Arts (TOSA, located at 1644 Platte St) to be among the organizations to whom we have donated booth space.

TOSA's mission is to educate, inspire and empower emerging artists and underserved populations through visual arts programming and artist development opportunities. We love what they do for the Denver art community, and we love that they'll be at the Horseshoe. They will be offering an experiential art table, putting together "grab bags" of found objects and providing glue, scissors and paint so folks can create their own "Luck of the Draw" art piece! What fun! Make sure to stop by their table on October 2nd and check them out!
Enjoy today's Q & A and happy Thursday to you all.

HS: Can you start by telling us how and when TOSA got its start?

TOSA: A group of artists who rented space in what is now our Denver/ Platte St. location started making art in the community with the underserved in 2001. This was in response to the events of 9/11 and the awareness of the trauma it created in the psyche of Americans. They knew that not everyone had the resources to express their feelings about what happened. They set about sharing the power of art-making in Denver.

HS: Can you tell us about some of the classes/workshops/programming you offer?

TOSA: We offer art-makng and art therapy opportunities to the underserved in the community. We are currently making art with refugee children, elders, breast cancer patients.
We hire highly trained and experienced artists to offer the constituents of our partnering agencies powerful art experiences. We have had Tei Kobayashi working with our kids in our “Visiting Artist Studio” for the past three weeks on found object sculpture. They are incredibly stunning pieces.

The art therapy groups with breast cancer patients offer them a chance to express complicated ideas and emotions. The art is so powerful in bringing up some things that are often difficult to discuss. It is as though the art runs interference for the artist. Talking about the emotions of a sculpture is far easier than holding them oneself. We get to ease into owning some hard stuff around the experience of having breast cancer.

HS: What’s in store for TOSA in the coming months? In the coming year?

TOSA: In October, “Collaboration” opens in our main gallery in Denver. It is a show that is open to the entire community and encourages artists to work together to create art for exhibition. The people we serve from Special Needs Adults to Youth-at Risk will have art in the show. The kids at the African Community Center have completed a model of what their community looks like to them. It is a very cool piece!

HS: Can you tell us a bit about your artists in residence program?

TOSA: We have studios where artists can create as well as gallery space for showing their work. We have a business skill development course called Artist, Inc. where leaders in the art world share real-world knowledge about being in the business of art.

HS: If someone wanted to get more involved with TOSA, how would they go about it?

TOSA: Take a look at our website: www.theothersidearts.org We have a volunteer information sheet you can fill-in and send. You can let us know if you want to help out at openings or at one of our outreach sites.

HS: Favorite art spots in Denver?
: TOSA, of course! Museum of Contemporary Art and Denver Museum of Art are favorites, too!

HS: Favorite place to eat?
TOSA: Masterpiece Deli

HS: Best coffee?
TOSA: Happy Coffee

Thanks, TOSA!


Good morning! Today we wanted to post a really sweet, inspiring video on kindness by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. We're getting super busy over here, and it seems like sometimes with busy-ness, kindness is the first thing to go ;) We get so into our list of what needs to be done, we get so into our own little world that general kindness and patience go straight out the door. We're going to be intentional with our kindness today. Let's all try it.
Hope you enjoy!

Biz Tuesday: Etsy Tips

For this week's Biz Tuesday, we're going to focus on some tips for sprucing up or starting your own Etsy site. We know a lot of you have Etsy shops, and many of you have been "meaning" to get your Etsy shop up and running!
With the Horseshoe less than two weeks away (yay!), you'll probably need to restock your store with a new round of goodies after the Market is over. One of our lovely vendors, Jesi of Hip Violet has previously posted on this subject here . She's graciously allowed us to share her tips below! Thanks Jesi!!


1. Banner: Make a banner (or have one made) that has your shop name in it, preferably a picture or two of your products too.

2. Announcement: Make your announcement short and sweet. If you click on your shop and have to SCROLL to see products, your announcement is too long. A quick hello, here is what I have, and any VERY important info should be in your announcement. The rest can go in store policies and/or your profile.

3. Fill in your profile and tell a little about yourself and your crafting. Lots of people want to read about who they are buying from – that’s the fun of Etsy!

4. Store Policies: Etsy has a great tutorial/article about setting your store policies. I also like to check out some of my favorite shops and get ideas from their policies. Make sure to include things like returns and damaged items.

5. Set 3 Featured Items for your site and change them every few ways. This is a great way to showcase new items you have in your shop, seasonal items or best sellers.


1. Titles should be catchy but not too long, and should include what the product actually is (i.e. “necklace”, “bib”, “pocket diaper”). Many people will find your items by doing a search, and they could potentially have HUNDREDS of items to scroll through. If you are vague in what you have they won’t even click through.

2. Descriptions: Describe your products as if there are no pictures – in my opinion you can’t have TOO MUCH of a description. The big difference between shopping online and at b&m stores is that the customer isn’t able to touch, feel or try on your products over the internet. BUT you can help them get that experience through your descriptions! Make sure you’re adding in the colors, how it feels, who might like it, what you might use it for, and size/measurments.
3. Tags: Tags are probably THE most important feature of Etsy as far as marketing goes. This is THE way customers find you through a search on Etsy, and a way that fellow Etsians find your products to potentially use in a treasury, so use up all 14 slots! I’m not sure of Etsy’s stats, but something like 70% of people who shop on the internet go STRAIGHT to the search. Because of that, you want to make sure your tags are up to par. Use descriptive colors (brick red instead of just red), sizes, and even other words to describe the same thing (i.e. “shirt” “top” “blouse” as an example). Don’t forget to add common misspellings, and if you run out of ideas, your name, your shop name and your location are good fillers.

4. Photos: Photos can and will make or break a sale. Do NOT skimp on your photos! With a little planning and knowing how to use your camera correctly you can take GREAT professional looking photos with ANY kind of camera!

The best product photos are taken in natural light with the flash turned off. A flash lights up a subject but also adds unwanted glare and harsh shadows. Direct sunlight can create the same harsh shadows, so a nice bright room near a window or outside in the shade are two good alternatives.

Always use a non-distracting background – a yard of white or black flannel creates a soft background that doesn’t wrinkle easily and doesn’t reflect light either. Or, make a cheap lightbox and take pictures anytime – sunlight or not! Homemade Lightbox

If your products are small and/or you need to take close-up pictures of details, use the macro setting on your camera. It is usually the little flower icon.

Again, remember that customers can’t pick up and look inside and around your product from the internet. So help them “see” your product by taking good INFORMATIVE pictures. Fill up all 5 slots with pictures of the entire front, back and close-ups of the workmanship. If applicable also take the inside, open, closed, in-use and “ideas for use” photos too. Artistic photos are great as long as they still show
what a customer needs to see.

5. Shipping: Most shipping costs are lower than you think. The best way to figure out shipping is to package up one of your products exactly as you would if it was an order and bring it to the post office. They can usually tell you what the “usual” first-class and priority rates would be. Then add $.50-$1.00 to account for packaging material and time. It also maybe a good idea to look at your competitors and see what they are charging. Depending on how heavy your items are, usually adding one or two more to the order is cheaper yet – check this out again and charge accordingly. Cheap shipping on additional items can equal more sales!

Keep in mind that high shipping can really turn customers off. I have seen many shops that had too high of shipping and had a hard time selling. However, if they reduced their shipping but UPPED their product prices accordingly (i.e. they were still making the same amount of money per sale) they SOLD more! People would rather pay more for a product and less for shipping than the other way around.

Think about offering International Shipping. Many people from different countries (Canada especially) shop on Etsy and are perfectly happy to pay the additional shipping. Again, you may be surprised at how inexpensive it is to ship internationally. Canada is not that much more than US shipments and overseas is only a few dollars more. Of course this is for smaller, lighter items so if you sell heavier or large items it may not be totally worth your while.
6. Item Pricing: This is always tricky! The best thing to do is shop your competition and see how you compare. You don’t want to be too much higher OR lower than your competition, but there is usually a good baseline for what people are charging for similar products. Obviously you want to make enough to cover materials and TIME. Don’t feel bad about charging what you do! We will assume that everyone on here, although they love crafting, are also trying to make some money. It’s hard to get past that sometimes, but make sure you’re also making some money for yourself! Some people like to figure out how many of an item they can make in an hour and figure out an hourly rate for themselves to figure out price.

Sometimes it’s tempting to underprice your items to get sales. Although this does work, in the long run you’re short-changing yourself and other Etsians. If everyone charged a fair price it actually makes everyone sell more!

Also, don’t forget to add in “hidden fees” when choosing a price. Etsy charges $.20 to list an item as well as $.20 to renew. Assume you’ll be renewing an item at least once if not more before it sells. Etsy also charges a fee when the product sells, and if you use PayPal to get paid, they also take out your fee. I assume that $1-$2 per product is going towards fees.

Overall you will always have some people who think you charge too much and others who would gladly pay more. Pick the happy medium!


Feedback: If you are brand-new to Etsy and have little or no feedback, consider making a few small purchases from other Etsy sellers to get some positive feedback. Many buyers are wary of buying from brand-new sellers especially if they do not have feedback.

Always leave feedback for your buyers. Some sellers like to leave it right away after the buyer has paid and others wait until the product has arrived to make sure the entire transaction goes smoothly.

The nice thing about Etsy is that it is a pretty “open” marketplace. This means that you can rather easily keep tabs on what your competition is up to. You can see recent sales, recent listings, shipping, etc. all on their site. Don’t be afraid to check out what your competitors are up to! I learned some great tricks by trying to figure out why certain sellers were SELLING so much!


Etsy does not work on the “If you build it, they will come” philosophy. If you take the time to put together a nice Etsy site with all of the above factors, you STILL won’t get many sales unless you PROMOTE!

The easiest way to promote is to renew your items. Renewing them brings them back up to the top of the search and gets it in front of potential customers and/or Treasury curators. There are many philosophies on renewing. Some people with tons of products renew multiple times a day. Others (like myself) like to renew one item once a day – usually an item that has been listed for the longest time.

Another way to promote is to spend some time on the Etsy forums. Not only can you learn a lot from the forums about how Etsy works, fix problems, and get critiques on your products and your store, you and also get SALES! Create an avatar that has a great product picture on it and post away! Do keep in mind that BUYERS as well as sellers post and read the forums so keep it nice! :)

Creating a blog is another great way to promote your site. Write about what you have been creating lately, other sellers you admire, shows you are planning to sell at, etc. Most blogs can also be tagged and it’s a great way to get traffic to your blog and your site. Create an “Etsy Mini” for your blog that shows your latest items on the sidebar of your blog and allows people to go directly to your shop.

And TRACK your orders, views and hearts! One of the easiest sites to track hearts and views is www.craftcult. com. When you add a new item, renew an item, change pictures, or just want to see how many views you get, it’s the best. Also sign up for Google Analytics. It will give you a TON of information about who is visiting your Etsy site, how they are finding it, what items they are looking at, etc. For marketing purposes it’s essential!
http://www.etsy. com/storque/ etsy-news/ tech-update- etsy-web- analytics- now-available- 3141/
http://www.etsy. com/storque/ etsy-news/ tech-update- etsy-web- analytics- enhancements- 3350/

And last, use every resource you have to get the word out about your shop. Use social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. Get business cards made (VistaPrint.com is quick and cheap!) and leave them EVERYWHERE! Give them to friends and family. Think about donating some of your items to local charity auctions to get your name out. The possibilities are endless!

http://www.etsywiki .com/index. php?title= Main_Page

Inspiration Monday: Autumn Gold

Yes, we think we did see the leaves turning colors this weekend--at least a few of them! The first leaves have finally started turning yellow. Below is a mix of harvest gold images--all of them from Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market vendors! We are excited to have over 100 vendors selling their wares on October 2nd! Look for more vendor pics in the coming days. Also, don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We have a few awesome giveaways coming up, and you have be a follower to get into the drawing! Happy Monday.
1. Featured Vendor Arcatus Jewelry 2. Featured Vendor Bird Dog Press 3. Boscus Designs 4. Featured Vendor Presents for Pirates 4. The Gold Bug 5. Winter Garden Studios 6. ColorSafeStudios 6. The Red Bench 7. Katy Kinder Fine Art

Q & A Thursday with the Berkeley District Merchants Association

One of the greatest things about living in North Denver is Tennyson Street. The street features, in our opinion, the best collection of unique, locally-owned shops, galleries, restaurants and bars in Denver! When I first moved to Denver over six years ago, I lived in this neighborhood (still do!) and Tennyson Street immediately became my favorite area--it just had a special feel to it. And as the area has grown to be more bustling and popular, the feel is still the same--unique, comfortable and simply fun.

The Horseshoe Craft and Flea is a proud member of the Berkeley District Merchants Association (BDMA), a great organization that helps promote the area as a vibrant place to live and do business. We're so thrilled to have today's Q & A with BDMA. Check out their great website and Facebook page for up to date info on what's going on in the neighborhood! We'll look forward to seeing you all in the Berkeley District on October 2nd for the Horseshoe!

HS: Can you start by telling us how and when the BDMA got its start?

BDMA: The Berkeley District Merchants Association (BDMA) was started in January 2008 by a group of merchants who wanted to bring more attention to the Berkeley neighborhood, especially the variety of galleries, shops, restaurants and services that the area has to offer. The group formed to pool resources allowing for greater opportunities for marketing and promotion.

HS: Can you tell us briefly what makes the Berkeley District so special in terms of Denver history?

BDMA: The Berkeley District has been a popular Denver neighborhood since the late 19th century. One of the main attractions that brought people here was Elitch Gardens which was originally located at 38th and Tennyson. Elitch Gardens opened in 1890 as a zoological and botanical gardens and had a strong influence on the art culture in the neighborhood. The first movies shown in Denver were screened at Elitch’s. Elitch Theater became known across the country as having some of the best summer stock and many of the top actors of the early 20th century performed here. According to the Denver Householder's Directories, Elitch Gardens looked like a microcosm of the Berkeley neighborhood today, with bakeries, grocery stores, hardware and furniture stores, tailors and dry cleaners, barbers and beauty shops, physicians and pharmacies.

HS: What changes have you seen in the community over the last few years?

BDMA: We have seen many new businesses move in to the area, some returning after having tried different locations throughout the city. One of the things that makes the Berkeley neighborhood special is the mix of businesses that have been here for more than 20 years and those that are brand new.

HS: What makes the Berkeley area such a great place to shop/live/be?

BDMA: There is incredible diversity in the Berkeley neighborhood – in population, in housing styles and in shopping and services. There is great access to a number of parks. We are close to the highways for commuting or for a trip to the mountains. In one block of Tennyson Street, you can find a private residence, a restaurant, a yoga studio and a clothing store. Many of the business owners live in the neighborhood so they are truly invested in the community. And there’s a great benefit of being able to walk to our fantastic First Friday Art Walks on Tennyson. There truly is something for everyone here. We like to think of ourselves as being family friendly, fun and funky.

HS: What’s been one of the greatest accomplishments/events/milestones for the BDMA?

BDMA: We are very proud of our always increasing membership of merchants. We started as a small group and are now close to 50 members strong. We have also had some successful events such as Art in the Park, Tenn-Low Turismo and Jingle and Mingle which showcased our great arts culture as well as the variety of shops and restaurants in the neighborhood.

HS: What are some of the ways that people/businesses can get involved with the Berkeley District?

BDMA: There are many ways to get involved with the BDMA. We offer affordable 6-month and yearly memberships for merchants in the neighborhood. And this is not limited to merchants with physical storefronts. If a business is run from a home in the neighborhood, they may qualify to be a member. For those that are members, serving on the BDMA board is a great way to be more involved with the activities of the association. Businesses – both members and non-members – can be a sponsor for our events or provide in-kind services.

HS: What’s in store for the Berkeley District in the coming months? In the coming year?

The BDMA has a lot of exciting things going on. We have just launched the first edition of our new bi-monthly newsletter, “Discover Berkeley”, which will highlight merchant members as well as provide useful information about activities in the neighborhood. We are working on our holiday events as well as planning activities for 2011.

HS: How can I find out more about the Berkeley District?

We have a great website – www.theberkeleydistrict.com - which lists events, sales and specials as well as merchant member listings and membership information. We also can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BerkeleyDistrict and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TennysonLowell. Both our Facebook and Twitter pages help to keep people informed about things going on in the neighborhood as well offering exclusive specials to our followers.

Thanks so much, BDMA!

Biz Tuesdays with Kara: The Wide World of Social Media & Get to Know your "Neighbor"

Good Morning!! I’m getting this post started with a phenomenal video:

Any of the facts surprise you? After watching this video, I am always impressed with the way social media has reached billions of people, how businesses can utilize it at such a low cost and how many opportunities are out there. I also feel quite behind in my social media life after watching this. At my day job, we aren’t utilizing social media in any great capacity and since we’re behind, it seems overwhelming, daunting even just to get started. But we need to. Our target market is out there, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Foursquare and everywhere in between.

For small businesses, social media is almost essential because mainly, it’s FREE! Free is of course, relative, as it takes time and effort to post, follow-up and be active. And as many of you know, you’re time is valuable! Here are some easy tips to keep your social media realm active and exciting:

· Make a weekly plan with goals: Draft out what you’d like to accomplish each day. Maybe it’s having a day of the week associated with a different topic. You can blog/facebook/twitter about the topic. This will help you to think in advance of topics and maybe even pre-draft some posts. If it’s too much to post multiple places each day, think about posting on your topic in only one place and then another for the next day. The goal is to keep your content current, start conversations and keep your fans interested!

· Manage and track your social media: Anyone ever use a social media management tool such as Hoot Suite ? This tool can cost you for upgrades in their service, but the free version allows you to manage 5 social networks and 1 RSS feeds. They also provide basic statistics on your posts. Make sure that if you are tracking statistics, take a look at them often to see what works and what doesn’t.

· Connect often: I’ll admit it, I’m definitely a lurker when it comes to blogs (love them!), forums, Facebook and Twitter. But, the real benefits of being involved with these online communities is that it can help you connect with people you have common interests in and things you want to be a part of. Comment on your favorite blog’s posts or tweet someone you admire. It won’t hurt, I promise! You may find a kindred spirit out there!

Let’s all make a goal for today: connect with someone over social media, say hello to a fellow vendor at the Horseshoe, or spread the word about the Horseshoe Market on your Facebook, Twitter, and blogs!

Kara Lundquist is a Colorado native that made her way back to Denver after some time in sunny Santa Barbara, CA and rainy Seattle, WA. She lives here with her husband and little yorkie pup, Mochi. She's currently working on her MBA in Marketing at Regis University but also enjoys time outside of schoolwork with embroidery, quilting and collecting fabric

Inspiration Monday: Sundance

We're back from a weekend away at Sundance in Utah. It was gorgeous. And we felt really lucky to be there for a special wedding and to soak up the beauty. We were inspired by the leaves changing colors (Fall is our favorite season by far...), the mountains, the rustic, cozy cabins and the totally organic feel about the whole place. We were hoping to hang out with Robert Redford but it just didn't happen this time. Maybe next time :)

Happy Monday to you all! We're less than three weeks away from the Horseshoe Craft and Flea! Check out the Sundance-inspired board below from some Horseshoe vendors and a few local Colorado artists.
1. Magpie's Shop 2. Horseshoe vendor Red Bench 3. Funkomavintage 4. Colorado photographer Art of Light Fine Art Photography by Kelly A. 5. Horseshoe vendor bluedoor 6. Colorado photographer Green Earth Images 7. belt from Featured Vendor Photographic Amy 8. Horseshoe vendor Gray Sparrow 9. Featured Vendor Art by Cheryl Patrick

Q & A Thursday with Peekay Soirees

The Horseshoe Craft and Flea is a community market where local artists, designers, crafters and antique sellers can set up their own little shop and sell their wares. We will also be having a few local non-profit organizations and a few neighborhood service-based businesses setting up shop for the day!

We are happy that Peekay Soirees (a featured vendor, and recently featured on Style Me Pretty!) will be with us on October 2nd--and we are very happy that they're here with us for today’s Q & A. Stop by the Peekay booth on October 2nd, check out their new business, and make sure you sign up for their lovely "party in a box" giveaway!

HS: Can you start by telling us what/who Peekay Soirees is, and what inspired you to start your business?

PS: Peekay Soirees is a culmination of the arts. Paige Damiano + Krista Young paired up when we recognized the need for a new perspective on wedding design + event planning. Together, we feel we’re the perfect complement in creating imaginative events with a vibrant flare.

HS: Can you tell us about some the services you offer?

PS: Event Design, Inspiration + Color Boards, Paper Suite Design, Unique Guestbook Ideas, Dessert Table options, Lighting Installations, Prop + Furniture Rental/Sourcing, Personalized Gifts, Favors + Welcome Bags, Budget/Timeline Guidance, Vendor Confirmation, Day of Coordination, Hand-made embellishments + assistance on DIY projects.

HS: What’s in store for Peekay Soirees in the coming months? In the coming year?

Within the next year we’re planning on participating in a Wedding Give-Away contest, we’re teaming up with some other great vendors and will be able to offer all of Peekay’s Design Services for FREE to one lucky couple!

HS: What has PS been the most proud of—biggest accomplishments?

PS: Our very first wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty, which for anyone in the industry – that’s the creme de la creme :)

HS: Favorite spots for events and weddings in Denver or around Colorado?

PS: For us, it’s all about what fits the personality of the couple – whether that means a fun environment like Mile High Station which meshes all the industrial feel in a downtown space, or a friend’s backyard ~ Having the love of the couple shine through in all the details is our main focus.

HS: Favorite place to eat?

PS: We’re so fortunate to live ‘in the hood’ and Highland’s has tons of great options – we really like Squeaky Bean + Red Trolley for dessert!

HS: Best coffee?

PS: Krista lives right around the corner from Gallop + Paige loves the fact that they have decaf chai!

Thanks Paige and Krista!

Paige Damiano + Krista Young
Peekay Soirees
3431 Quivas St.
Denver, CO 80211

Biz Tuesdays: The Booth!

from punkystyle.com

Even though participating in markets, fairs, festivals or shows is a whole lot of work, it's also really fun because for most folks, it's the closest you come to having your own little shop! You get to be as expressive and creative as you'd like, and set up your "shop" anyway you like it (within the parameters you're given, of course).

Your booth display--how you design it, prepare for it, and execute it--it so very important for your success at a market. Make sure you plan sufficiently to ensure efficiency and less stress the day of the market. A key recommendation from seasoned vendors: PRACTICE. Practice setting up your booth space about two weeks before the market, show, fair or festival. You don't necessarily have to set up your tent, just duct tape off a 10X10 space in your garage, basement or where ever you have room. You will have so much more confidence going into the market if you have some practice!

Here's a basic checklist to start you off:
-10X10 tent or canopy (find them at Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes, etc. You can buy very high quality tents at Flourish and display walls at Armstrong Products.
-tent weights--you can buy them with your tent, or make your own here, or some ideas here
-tables and tablecloths for display-make sure tablecloth goes all the way to the ground
-mirror if you're selling clothing, jewelry or accessories
-make sure all your items are clearly priced--batch similarly priced items together and make a sign for all ("all scarves on this display are $30")
-business cards--have lots on hand!
-special tax permits/copies of them
-paper and pens
-snacks and water
-small box with office supplies (stapler, tape, push pins, scissors, duct tape)
-headache medicine, antacids, gum
-special notebook for customers who want something you don't have on hand
-extra box of items to re-stock table when something sells
-receipt book
-plastic bags
-paper grocery sacks ("garbage bag" for your booth)
-guest book
-lots of change--don't expect customers to have exact change!
-credit card machine if you have one
-arrange for an assistant--you definitely should have a friend or an assistant at your booth with you
-inventory list
-large suitcase on wheels or other dolly-like contraption

Here is a list of great links for various booth resources!
-Etsy shop help: 10 tips for a craft show booth
-Etsy thread on craft show display ideas

-Awesome Flickr Group: Show me your booth!
-Great blog that's all about craft show design

-Lots of Renegade pictures here
-Great article on cluttered booths
-Display ideas

We'd love to hear your tips, tricks and questions! Did we leave out anything? Want to show us your booth display? Please leave a comment, question or a link!
Have a great week!

Inspiration Monday

Ah, Labor Day! A long weekend. Lovely weather, no work, and right now it's so very calm and quiet. And historically in the U.S., Labor Day is the last day you're supposed to be able to wear white. Though we don't necessarily go by that "rule," we thought we'd honor white today! Below are mostly local artists and collectors, and many Horseshoe vendors!
We're getting very close to Market day--less than a month away. Don't forget to spread the word to your friends, Facebook friends, colleagues and family. With 90 art, craft, and vintage/antique vendors, everyone is bound to take home some pretty amazing, lucky finds!
Enjoy your day off :)

1. Colorado artist Hot Pink and Sequins 2. Featured Vendor Photographic Amy 3. Horseshoe vendor Hip Violet 4. Featured Vendor Objects of Affection 5. Horseshoe vendor Vital Industries 6. Denver crafter Becky's Buttons 7. Horseshoe vendor Cyanide Stitches 8. Featured Vendor Harlow Monroe Vintage 9. Soapalaya Soaps