The Horseshoe Market, Denver's premier indie craft and vintage market, is gearing up for its fifth year with the first of four markets this weekend. Amy and Doug Yetman founded the indie market back in 2010 out of a desire to bring the community together in search of "creative gems." But it's turned into much more: According to Amy, it's become a "business incubator" for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and has helped kick start several local ventures. Here are five of the businesses that have used the Horseshoe Market as a launching pad.
Husband-and-wife duo Kaelin and Richard Tillery created Counter Couture, a company providing customers with homemade and sustainable "wonky" gifts, and sell everything from silk-screened baby hoodies to gnome-themed glassware sets.
For the past several years, Counter Couture has participated in the Horseshoe Market, which Kaelin calls a "remarkably organized" event. "In the last three years we have built a large following that comes to see what's new with Counter Couture, and we have seen a huge increase in sales at the market and online sale," Kaelin says. "I even had people e-mailing me last July when we weren't at the summer show because they wanted to ensure we would be at the fall show. I think this is a great example of the sense of community this event has developed!"
Visit Counter Couture's website to see more homemade gifts.
Spinster Sisters Since 1994, Spinster Sisters has been providing all-natural, handcrafted face and skincare products. Kelly Perkins started making soap in the early '90s with her sister (who is no longer with the company), providing their friends with an alternative to the "witch's brew" of common skincare products. The company officially went public in 2010, and Perkins and her husband Craig now run the business out of their home in Golden.
Perkins first showcased the Spinster Sisters at the Horseshoe Market in 2011, and says it had "exactly the right demographic" of customers she was looking for.
"The Horseshoe Market is a great environment, and gives us the opportunity to speak directly with our buyers to get real time feedback on our products," Perkins says. Thanks to the Horseshoe Market, Spinster Sisters has gained several wholesale accounts.
Learn more about the natural skincare products here. Keep reading for more Horseshoe Market success stories.
Hellimae's Salt Caramels
Ellen Daehnick, aka Helliemae, calls her caramels "postpunk DIY" meets "Hell-on-wheels" flavors. Daehnick and her husband began selling handcrafted Classic Salt Caramels in 2010 after they decided to concoct their own recipe of dark chocolate with just the right amount of bitter caramel and salt. The lineup has since grown to five year-round caramels and six seasonal caramels that are now sold across the country, including New York City and San Francisco.
Before Hellimae's really took off, Daehnick sold her confections out of a shared tent at the Horseshoe Market. "We grew up with Horseshoe Market," says Daehnick. "As Hellimae's grew into a business, we moved into our first location, and now our second. Horseshoe has been a constant. We went from a vendor to a sponsor pretty early, and now I can't imagine a Horseshoe season without Helliemae's."
Hellimae's Salt Caramels can be found on its website.
VogelHaus Vintage Home to some of the most unique vintage finds on Etsy, VogelHaus Vintage fits right in at the Horseshoe Market, where it's been a popular booth since the summer 2012 market.
VogelHaus Vintage owner Tricia Willis Nickson attributes some of that success to the ever-popular "mantiques" -- vintage male-centric items.
A full catalogue of VogelHaus Vintage items can be found on its Etsy site. Keep reading for one more success story.
Cloth & Ink
Cloth & Ink founder Helen Peterson is a long way from home. Originally from England, the nature and travel enthusiast relocated to Boulder in 2011, and began her independent textile design company in a spare room with a single printing screen and one sewing machine. Peterson has been working with textiles since she was a young girl, and had always wanted to design her own fabrics. Cloth & Ink came about when she was unable to find her desired materials in the United States and decided to manufacture her own organic fabrics.
Cloth & Ink was first featured in the Horseshoe Market in the spring of 2013. Peterson attributes much of her success in the Denver design market to the Horseshoe Market, as it was her first-ever show in Denver.
To learn more about Cloth & Ink's bold, vibrant and mid-century European designs, visit the website
The Horseshoe Market's fifth annual Fall Market will take run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 4, in the parking lot behind Olinger Moore Howard Chapel on 46th Avenue and Tennyson Street. For more information , visit the Horseshoe website.
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Follow Lauren Archuletta at @laureneverytime.