An Interview with Mancraft and Two Great Ways to Avoid the Mall This Weekend

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

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.

Firefly Handmade


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.


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:

Mark Skattum

More info?



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.

Firefly Handmade Holiday Markets - Boulder & Denver!

Boulder Holiday Market, Nov. 29-30, Sat., 10am - 6pm & Sun., 11am - 5pm
Watershed School, 1661 Alpine Avenue, Boulder, CO 80304 - 3 blocks east of Broadway &Ideal Market

Denver Holiday Market, Dec. 6-7, Sat., 11am-7pm & Sun., 11am-5pm,  EXDO Events Center, 1399 35th Street (at Walnut), Denver, CO 80205 (in the River North (RiNo) Art District)

  • 90+ Handmade artisans, returning favorites and new Fireflies (some will be in both markets, some different in each -  including adult & children’s fashion & accessories, home goods/decor, pet goods, artisan food & drink, ceramics, art, bath & body, & more!
  • Free Self Serve Gift Wrap Station by Two Hands Paperie
  • Creation Station for the kiddos, by Clementine Studio (Boulder)
  • Creation Station for the kiddos, by The Art Garage (Denver)
  • Denver Design Incubator with demos & info
  • Food & drinks, including bar service, food trucks, music & free parking
  • $3 admission (12 yrs & under-free), benefiting our charitable partner: There With Care, helping families and children facing critical illness


Firefly Handmade Fall Market will be Glowing This Weekend at Twenty Ninth Street Mall, Boulder!

Firefly Handmade AUTUMN Market will return to Twenty Ninth Street Mall, Boulder, CO, THIS WEEKEND, Saturday, Sept. 27 (10-5) & Sunday, Sept. 28 (11-4). Check out our amazing list of artisans at the on our website at the link below. Artisans from Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, Mountain Towns, and all parts around and in between will be there!

Firefly Handmade Summer Market


Firefly Handmade SUMMER Market returns to our outdoor location at Twenty Ninth Street, Boulder, CO on Saturday, July 26 (10-5) & Sunday, July 27 (11-4).

We’ll fill the street once again with:

100+ Incredible Handmade Artisans​
Kids’ Creation Station by Clementine Studio/Open Arts
Artisan demonstations, featuring Soulcrafting
Photo Booth fun by Magbooth
Fave food trucks
Loads of Firefly Handmade fun!​

Free parking and admission!

Check out our website for full details and list of vendors.

Jazz Fest Shared Booth applications open until May 11th!!

The Five Points Jazz Festival, now in its 11th year, brings people together for a day of food, fun and fantastic music. The free festival takes place the third Saturday of May each year and celebrates the history of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. Once known as the Harlem of the West, Five Points was home to several jazz clubs which played host to many of jazz music’s legends such as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and many more. Since its inception in 2004, the Five Points Jazz Festival has grown each year in size and popularity. In 2013 more than 16,000 people attended the festival to hear more than 20 local bands on six stages. On May 17, 2014, 23 bands are scheduled on seven stages. You won’t want to miss the Main Stage headliners, the Nelson Rangell quartet and the Brad Leali Orchestra.

Sounds like an amazing time, right! So DHA will be popping up again, this time at the Five Points Jazz Fest! Our goal is to give our awesome members a chance to mix and mingle while they sell their wares…yay, multitasking! The Jazz Fest is on May 17th, and applications for the shared booth are being accepted through by May 11th.

Click here to apply for our Jazz Fest Shared Booth

Apply for ArtStir!



Denver Pavilions is pleased to announce ArtStir Denver 2014, a Memorial Day weekend arts marketplace that will be held in the heart of Downtown Denver on Saturday, May 24, and Sunday, May 25. ArtStir is currently accepting applications from artists who would like to participate and from sponsors and community partners who would like to support the event.

ArtStir Denver will exclusively showcase local and regional artists with a lively blend of art, and style that is sure to “stir up” the artist in all of us. Featured works will include paintings, sculpture, photography, illustration, textiles, furnishings, mixed media, and locally designed goods. Part of the event proceeds will benefit the Colorado chapter of AIGA, and a portion of booth sale revenues will go to community partners. The application deadline is April 24. There is no application fee.

Says Samuel Schimek event curator and owner of I Heart Denver Store, “Accepted artists will gain exposure to a large weekend audience estimated at 150,000 over the two-day period. This year’s event will be twice as big as last year’s, and booth fees will be only half of the cost of last year. Last year, we had 65 vendors, and this year we’re shooting for 125. This year we also have much greater interest from sponsors and community partners. We encourage all Colorado creatives to apply.”

ArtStir Denver will be held along Glenarm Place between 15th and 16th Streets (including the surrounding surface lots). It will run on Saturday, May 24, from 11-8 pm and Sunday, May 25, from 11 am-6 pm. ArtStir will take place alongside other popular Memorial Day events such as the Denver Day of Rock.

Not only is it a great event to make some sales, but community partners get funding for their programing from booth sales. If ArtStir Denver sells out this year over $14,000 will be paid back to community partners. That’s in addition to our $5,000 donation to AIGA Colorado our nonprofit partner.
Colorado Creative Industries is a big partner this year and they are showing off Colorado’s registered art districts. There will be an artist from each art district in a special section!

This year we are going big, more branding, more advertising, and we have enough space for 150 tents!

Meet MOBA!

MOBA is now holding meetings in Denver!  Read on for more info about this awesome organization for Mom-preneurs!
Northern Colorado Mom Owned Business Association is a group of entrepreneurial Moms dedicated to our businesses and our families. Our members strive for professional and personal growth through networking, public and private events, promotional opportunities and community outreach.

We are continually working to secure advertising, create and promote events, and facilitate business to business advertising and cross promotion. Every MoBa member is a parent; we are focused on growing our businesses while nurturing our families. We are small, but powerful. There is no stronger insight than that of an entrepreneur who is also a mother.

Our growing group, businesses and families keep us busy, but we are dedicated to our goal of bringing success to all parent business owners in Northern Colorado and beyond. We invite you to read through our materials and experience a MOBA meeting for yourself. We know this will be the beginning of a beautiful, mutually beneficial friendship. Each of us can make success happen.

The Mom Owned Business Association, a Colorado nonprofit organization, exists to empower the moms in our community to transition their hobbies and talents into economically supportive and mutually beneficial  businesses in Colorado and beyond.
In an effort to raise awareness of our mission, MOBA is launching a sponsorship project. Our launch party scheduled for January 3rd from 8-10pm at Colorado Vapors, 140 W. Oak Street, Suite 230. and we would love to see you there. There will be beer, food, and raffles to showcase our members. Among some of the prizes will be fitness classes, organic baked goods, and photography services.

3 Ways to Shop Handmade this Weekend

Whew!  With Thanksgiving so late, we are already knee deep in holidays!  Luckily, there are lots of ways to cross all those gifts off your list this weekend.  Check out these perennial favorite holiday markets and wrap up lots of handmade goodness for the holidays!


On Friday, visit Holiday Mancraft for some man made goodies at VFW Post 2461 on S Broadway.  It’s pretty much the love child of Martha Stewart and Chuck Norris. With the added bonus of cheap drinks.  Who could beat that?


Light up someone’s Christmas with more handmade treats from the Firefly Handmade Market in Boulder!  Shop Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on South Pearl.  With more than 80 artisans at the market, you’re bound to find that perfect gift for the pickiest person on your list!


We always love the fabulous finds at the Horseshoe Market, and we are so excited the market will be inside this year so we can take our time looking for the perfect gifts!  Shop Horseshoe this Saturday on the 16th Street Mall!  With all these great opportunities to shop local and handmade, holiday shopping is going to be a breeze!  (And a super fun way to catch up with all your crafty pals!)

Holiday Shopping at the Gifted Market!

There’s only a week left until the first ever Gifted Handmade Market, and we can hardly wait!  The historic McNichols building is a perfect place to get in the holiday spirit, and the Warm Cookies of the Revolution discussion about buying handmade versus buying factory made is a great way to set the mood for giving back in more ways than one.  Come out and support your fellow crafters!  There are so many DHA members in the 30+ vendors at the event, so it’s a great chance to catch up with crafty pals while you squeeze in some holiday shopping, too!  Oh, and there’s a raffle with goodies from all the vendors!  Yay!  The only thing better than buying awesome handmade gifts is wining handmade gifts!  What more could you ask for?  Cookies?  Live music?  Gift wrapping, perhaps?  Well, then you’re in luck because they have all that, too!  Click here for more info and to rsvp.  See you there!!

Gifted Market Call for Volunteers


The first ever Gifted Holiday Market presented by Warm Cookies of the Revolution needs volunteers!  They are looking for folks to help with easy setup and breakdown tasks and also to help with the gift wrapping station and raffle.  Join the discussion about buying handmade versus buying factory made, and shop from some of your fellow members in between volunteer tasks!  Click here for more info about the market, and email Evan at to sign up to volunteer!

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