There are two great ways you can avoid the mall this weekend and it’s a breeze to do them both.
MANCRAFT (interview below) – DENVER – VFW Post 2462 – FRIDAY DECEMBER 5 – 4-10PM
BOULDER – AMERICAN LEGION Post 10 – SATURDAY DECEMBER 6 – 4-10PM
FIREFLY HANDMADE – DENVER – EXDO Event Center RiNo Arts District – SATURDAY DECEMBER 6 11AM -7PM & SUNDAY DECEMBER 7 – 11AM – 5PM
It’s the First Time the Firefly Market has come to Denver and the RiNo Arts District is a fun part of town if you’ve never been.
Now for the Mancraft Interview…
I had an opportunity to ask the creators of Mancraft (Ink Lounge, Stu and Nicky Alden) everything you might want to know about it but were too afraid to ask…
Why Mancraft…what was the inspiration?
We (Ink Lounge, Stu and Nicky Alden) have participated in may craft markets in the Denver, Boulder area where we’ve sought out events that are curated/juried since those tend to be the best mix of high caliber vendors where the audience is also often looking for quality handmade items. But after several years of participating, Stu continued to remark that a majority of the vendors were all women where many of the items being sold were targeting women and kids. He also observed that many of the guys attending were there out of respect for the significant other. In his words, “being dragged along.” Not that there aren’t a lot of great things being produced and sold for all genders, but there is a certain stigma with craft fairs/markets that guys tend to shy away from. So after a few drinks one night, the idea of ManCraft came about as we knew some guys that were making things – but never took part in any of the craft markets. Plus it sounded like it might be a fun thing to try.
Other than the vendors being male, how is it different than any of the other markets?
One of the things that draws guys to events is being able to have a proper drink. A lot of the markets start early in the morning and tend to end around 4-6pm with only a handful serving alcohol – usually wine and beer. So one initial idea for ManCraft was to make it more of an evening social event where you can saddle up to the bar and start a tab. Beer and wine are available – but also whiskey, gin and tonics, anything you could possibly want. Open late until 10pm. We also wanted to have an event that men felt comfortable attending and shopping.
Another important goal for us was to introduce guys to the idea that the items they make can sell well in a market environment. In order to do this we found a venue that would allow us to keep costs low, which in turn allows us to keep the vendor application fee about 50-70% less than many curated markets. We also don’t charge an application fee. Basically our belief as organizers is: “we’re also vendors and selling our crafts right alongside everyone else – so that’s where we’ll make our profit.” Currently 90% of the vendor fees pay for the venue and advertising – we even buy and screenprint promo shirts for all the men to wear, which is included in the vendor fee.
Being all men has allowed us to do some silly things was well. We borrowed the idea from other markets where the first 50 folks in the door get a swag bag – and turned it into “Man Sacks,” also filled with goodies like a drink ticket, koozie, items from vendors, etc. Being all men also allows a Vendor Whisker War to take place, where this year attendees get to vote on the best mustache, best beard, best sideburns and best combo. People will vote with cash donation and 100% of the contributions will benefit Access Gallery, a non-profit that engages the community by opening doors to creative and educational opportunities for people with disabilities to access and experience the arts. http://accessgallery.org/
Really, no women why?
Stu’s sarcastic remark is “Cause it’s called ManCraft and there are a zillion other markets that woman can apply.” But in all seriousness – in what has become a popular and seemingly saturated area – we wanted to come up with something unique that was focused on items that would appeal to men. At the same time it’s also a great market for everyone to attend as the gift selection appeals to all genders and ages.
If there’s really no women, why are there some women?
We have one exception to the rule: As a vendor there must be a guy who is an equal partner in the in the making process. Which is why you’ll find only a handful of vendors who are a mix of men and women, including ourselves.
What’s the vibe like at ManCraft?
Very social. There is also a certain camaraderie between the guys as they all pitch in to make it a success. For the traditional craft market attendee – I think it is also a bit novel since they aren’t used to seeing all the booths stocked with men. We (well Stu) likes to say it’s a hoot. Which actually does describe it pretty well.
What do you guys look for in a Man… applicant.
Someone new – someone with unique product – someone with a sense of humor and understands the spirit of the event. Not the “I apply to every market” or always shows at “so and so gallery.” We want down to earth gents that work diligently at their craft who are trying to make an honest wage with their products. Yup.
Is there a goal/purpose for ManCraft? If so what is it?
The main reason we started it was to have fun and give guys a voice in the market scene. Boulder is new this year for various reasons; to expand our audience a bit and give the guys a little more exposure in a different community. Plus when we asked all the guys about expanding to Boulder, their overwhelming response was “hell yeah!” It really has gotten popular and well attended, and everyone sells really well. The first year (2011) we were awarded Westword’s Best Manly Holiday Market, which was the only manly market. But it was still an honor and fun to be recognized. Last year (only the 3rd) ManCraft was named Wesetwords Best Holiday Market – which tells us we must be doing something pretty decent. Where we’re going for the future we’re not sure 100%, but keep an eye out as a summer version in the works.
Here’s an Article about one of their Awesome Participants:
My Thoughts: I totally get this. I think Mancraft gives guys that might feel uncomfortable at a female filled craft show (the reality is the majority are) a chance to be in his comfort zone selling his craft. I also like that the vibe is completely different, not better, just different. I enjoy going to a variety of shows; Indie, General Audience, and Man Centric, etc..and think they all have great things to offer. I also think the timing is perfect so people can attend both shows without getting burned out.