A Denver Home Companion | the real dill

we are a pickle family. there is always a jar of some in our fridge. not the sort you can get on an unrefrigerated grocery shelf. no. never. the good kind. the kind that has funk and spices and crunch to it and is usually found in the deli section. so imagine my delight when i discovered the real dill pickles, made in denver. they’ve got funk, they’ve got punch, they’ve got tang, they’ve got spice, they’ve got crunch.

A Denver Home Companion | the real dill

i first tried them at the populist pop-up holiday market and ramona and i kept sneaking back to their table to steal samples. i have sworn to justin, one of the owners, that i will never buy another sort of pickle again. this is a promise i am confident i can keep. justin is offering colorado readers of A Denver Home Companion the chance to win a jar of pickles as well as a jar of their bloody mary mix (you best believe when this baby is out i will be drinking my fair share of that during weekend brunches).

leave a comment below about what you most admire in a pickle or, if you’ve had the real dill, what your favorite flavor is. for more chances to win like them on facebook (please leave a separate comment for this). a winner will be announced next monday, 2/3. 

don’t win this giveaway? that shouldn’t deter you from picking up a jar of your own. check their website to see what grocer near you stocks them.

p.s. the real dill is one of the sponsors of the upcoming colorado makers pig roast hosted by the populist on sunday, 2/9. we are so very excited to partner with them and showcase their delicious pickles next to a juicy roasted pig (c/o tender belly). interested in attending? tickets are going fast. get more details and purchase tickets here.

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hey all! today i’m exited to introduce you to a new sponsor of mine, native clutter, a line of jewelry designed and made by denver local, stephanie, who also blogs over at makes the things. her stuff is earthy and fun while also being classic and just the right amount of pizzazz for your jewelry collection. take a look:

A Denver Home Companion | native clutter A Denver Home Companion | native clutter A Denver Home Companion | native clutter

she sent me the quarry and  grid necklaces to rock about town and i haven’t taken them off! they add a nice pop of color to my usual black wardrobe and they’re excellently made to boot. psst, did you check out her prices? completely reasonable! there’s stuff to splurge on as well as great steals.

this, of course, is just in time for christmas. her earrings and necklaces make great gifts for your best friend, sister, mother, favorite gal in your life. and she’s offering A Denver Home Companion readers 20% their purchases now through the month of december in her etsy shop. just enter ADHC20 at checkout. or you can see her goods in person at super ordinary, the new boutique that just opened in the source.

stephanie is also offering one ADHC reader an item of their choice! after a visit to her etsy shop, just leave a comment below saying what piece you’d pick from her collection. extra entries can be gained by following her on social media (see links below). be sure to come back here and leave a comment for each one. muah! winner will be emailed 12/17. good luck!

can’t get enough? neither can i. you can also find native clutter on twitter, pinterestinstagram, and facebook.

this week, for the small business series, i’ve got nicole and christie from hey! party collective answering some questions to tell you a little bit about their awesome event-planning/party-throwing denver company. these ladies have helped me out with a baby shower, a thanksgiving feast, and a first birthday. i’ve also attended a bridal shower and a wedding gussied up by them.

like many small businesses, their start was a labor of love. it’s been inspiring to watch them start from the ground up: throwing parties for friends, planning events for free, building their amazing portfolio through hard work and an amazing store of creative ideas. i’m thrilled to say that all of their hard work has paid off and this summer they have a schedule filled with weddings and parties and shenanigans, based greatly, i believe, on their success at creating a unique business that sets them apart from others in the same industry.

A Denver Home Companion | hey! party collective

1. what is hey! party?

We are a party planning dynamic duo, intent on pushing the envelope, but keeping it sophisticated. We are out here trying to show brides they don’t have to have a ho-hum wedding. We are also notorious dance party starters, so that’s just a bonus! Who doesn’t love a good dance party?!?

Our goal is to inspire clients with fresh ideas, to be themselves, to push the envelope, to think outside the box. Our clients are those who are looking for something different, bold, hip, and edgy, and aren’t finding it in your typical event planning operation. Because of this, we try to work with venues with a unique atmosphere, promote and collaborate with like-minded industry badasses…(who actually are badasses), stay on top of rad new trends, and find styles that cater to the particular tastes of our clients.

2. how did you get into this? what was your inspiration?

Christie and I were both were always finding a reason to throw a party or host dinners or help friends out with their events. We just loved to do it. And we always had big dreams for decorations and details – fine for professional party planning, not so much for a no-budget little house party. You (Emily) finally told me quite literally to quit my day job. So I did. And thankfully Christie was interested in giving this thing a shot with me! We both had the same vision for Hey! Party, and we are a great combination of creativity and organization. Christie and I both felt that Denver was in need of a little kick in the pants when it came to creative event design, with the use of unique venues, bold decor, and disregarding the conventional trends – especially in weddings.

3. what had the process been from conception to execution? 

We started out small, planning parties for friends who were huge supporters of our endeavor, or hauling our custom photo booth here and there. Soon, we started building our brand, building our portfolio, and getting calls from people who heard about us through word of mouth or networking. There has also been an evolution of what types of services we provide and for how much. We’re quickly learning how to value our time, project by project. It’s true that you learn from your mistakes. Ha!

From the start, Christie and I have known that our passion is in the styling and design of events. We are extremely organized planners and list makers – that is essential in our line of work – but you should see the sparkle in our eyes when someone hires us and gives us creative freedom.

A Denver Home Companion | hey! party collective

4. has creating/developing/launching/sustaining this been what you expected? easier or harder? what have the challenges been?

I don’t think we knew what to expect. Last year we really tried to develop our portfolio and get some great events under our belt, and we got some great feedback. This year, we have a bunch of weddings on the roster, have met some great people in the industry who are also thinking outside of the box, and we’re branching out when it comes to marketing. Next year is already looking exciting as well. Fingers crossed, we’re hoping to have an office/studio space by next summer – which is a HUGE step for us.

Our challenge as new, small business owners is that Christie and I both still have to work some semblance of “day jobs” to keep ourselves financially afloat. We are looking forward to Hey! Party Collective being our only gig and as long as things continue we will be Hey! Partying all over Denver.

5. are you doing this solo or you have other partners/collaborators/helpers in the brand?

Right now it’s Christie and I who represent Hey! Party Collective. We decided to name ourselves a collective because we want to build a “dream team” of vendors who, while not necessarily work at the same company, team up together often to pull off the raddest events in Denver. If you hire Hey! Party, you’ll know who we’re bringing to the table and you won’t be disappointed because you’ll know we have carefully curated our group of creatives and party pros. Cooperation will be seamless and your event will be ridiculously creative.

6. who, if anyone, has helped w branding/website development/maintenance?

Brandon Proff created our logo and initial branding/identity, and he is also helping us develop branding for an exciting wedding event this fall. My husband, Zach Lowery, has done our website development.

A Denver Home Companion | hey! party collective

7. where can you be found?

Online, of course. And Facebook. But we mostly work out of coffee shops like Black Eye Coffee or Crema. If you ever see us around, come say hi!

8. what new/other businesses are you excited about in denver? or would you like to see in denver?

Stephanie at Lalé Floral Design is doing some amazing arrangements and she’s just awesome. We also love the design, letterpress, and silkscreen print work from Banshee Press. And we LOVE working with Kathryn Bacalis Photography – soon to be Our Love Is Loud.

Nicole: I am anxiously anticipating the opening of Trader Joe’s and VooDoo Doughnut.

Christie: DOUGHNUTS!!

What we’d like to see:

A really good wedding DJ, event rental companies offering more options in their inventory (it’s all the same thing around here), and –the holy grail– the perfect event space in Denver. Still looking.

9. what are your favorite shops in denver? favorite places for food? neighborhoods?

Shops: Ironwood || Inspyre || I Heart Denver Store || Hazel & Dewey || Fancy Tiger Clothing || Gracie’s

Food: Pinche Tacos || The Populist || Hops & Pie || Sassafras

‘Hoods: Berkelely Neighboorhood and the Tennyson business district || Potter & Lower Highland Neighborhoods || Baker || RINO

A Denver Home Companion | hey! party collective

10. what do you have coming up?

rebel bells. an unconventional wedding fest! not your average wedding expo. take a look at the website and like us on facebook! the event is sunday, september 15th from 6-9 at the artwork network. pass on this info to any denver bride-to-bes that you know!

A Denver Home Companion | rebel bells

A Denver Home Companion | winter session

on the blog today, for the new small business series, i am pleased to introduce you to the lovely people of winter session. i kept seeing the name creep up in mentions from brick & mortar, instagram, and some tweets. i was intrigued. after doing some snooping around, well, i was sold! i know every town probably has it’s leather goods and their makers. but winter session just seems to be doing the partnership of canvas and leather and rivets so freaking well. from their logo to their stitch work, it’s impeccable. they offer everything from pen rolls to wallets to canvas bags (with this simple leather handle that just makes me swoon every time i see one).

A Denver Home Companion | winter session

ramona and jp and i stopped by their shop one day at The Outpost on welton street in five points, just a stone’s throw from crema. tanya, roy, and laura graciously greeted us and welcomed us into their gorgeous workspace (open thursdays to the public and other special days for pop-ups). it’s in an old building on historic welton street and has light streaming in that perfectly highlights the details of their goods.

A Denver Home Companion | winter session

we had a wonderful time speaking w them: picking their brain about their move from chicago (where we last moved from!), the highly reputable restaurants they collaborate with, how they got into it, how they maintain it, what they love about denver. basically, jp and i fell in love. their passion for what they do is palpable and contagious. and their products reflect this. again, the design and construction is thoughtful and perfectly executed. furthermore, we are thrilled they’re a part of the ‘hood as they are incredible advocates of all the awesomeness going on in the five points and north larimer areas.

A Denver Home Companion | winter sessionA Denver Home Companion | winter session

my photos don’t do justice for the items and the space they are created in (in my defense, my camera died when i still had many photos to take!) but just one look at their shop, online or IRL, you will get what i am talking about. read on to learn more about the inspiration and work behind the company and you will be swooning like i am…

A Denver Home Companion | winter session

what is winter session?

Winter Session is a leather and canvas goods company that designs and handcrafts bags, wallets and aprons at our storefront workshop, The Outpost, in Denver, Colorado.

how did you get into this? what was your inspiration?

We both have backgrounds in art, architecture and design — both academically, and in professional experience — and were brainstorming with our friend Tristan, who worked at our neighborhood coffee shop in Chicago (and now owns his own, Gaslight Coffee Roasters), about opportunities to do something creative that was independently driven and involved working with our hands. The general movement of young people making things definitely contributed to our motivation.

We were (and continue to be) inspired by uniforms, utilitarian wear and gear, and also Japanese aesthetics.

A lot of people comment or ask about the experience of working with each other, since we’re also married. The idea wasn’t a foreign concept: on both sides, our parents own small businesses and work with their spouses (in the realms of food, design and clothing retail, all threads that are part of Winter Session).

[Roy]  My parents never questioned my desire to start a small business. [Tanya] my parents did, but because they’ve been through it, but that helped us think it through critically as well.

what has the process been from conception to execution? 

Organic and meandering. It started as a side project, not with the explicit intention of it being a livelihood.

Local retail, live events, and word spreading through blogs have been responsible for connecting us with pretty much all of our wholesale accounts.

We’re currently at another milestone, of having a space that’s open to the public, where we can expand the Winter Session brand as something a bit more experiential and collaborative, rather than just based in commercial exchange. We’re doing monthly popup markets, “Weekend Specials” — the next one is coming up on June 8th for Fathers Day.

has creating/developing/launching/sustaining this been what you expected? easier or harder? what have the challenges been?

We expected it to be hard. Developing and sustaining is hard. But it’s a fun kind of business — building your own — there’s flexibility, and it’s totally open, but those are also the challenges. The same things that make it fun make it hard.

are you doing this solo or you have other partners/collaborators/helpers in the brand?

We are a small team at The Outpost, and we partner with sewing contractors in Chicago for some of our larger production. We also collaborate with other brands in designing special projects.

We also partner with other like-minded companies. For Father’s Day, we’re teaming up with the California company Juniper Ridge to offer a limited edition pre-run of our Dopp Kit stocked with Juniper Ridge’s all-natural soap and cologne, which they make by harvesting fragrances from the wilds of the West.

who, if anyone, has helped w branding/website development/maintenance?

Nathan Michael, our friend and collaborator, has helped develop a visual vocabulary for us, and helped with building out our website and crafting our graphic identity. We maintain the website, and use the Shopify e-commerce platform. We also love Square!

when did you open for business?

We started doing physical research in May 2010 and “launched” in September. It’s been a slow and steady evolution. Our current direction and collection (including our online shop) really came together a year later.

where can your items be purchased? where can you be found?

The Outpost and online, and selected stockists around the US (and abroad).

instagram || twitter || facebook || blog

what new/other businesses are you excited about in denver? or would you like to see in denver?

We’re excited about the coffee and eating scene, cafes that are doing something special with creating an experience — like cosmopolitan Cafe Max, dreamy Black Eye Coffee and roving Public Coffee. Small craft food brands like Ritual Chocolate, Dagstani & Sons and The Real Dill. Curators of product and culture like Beet & Yarrow, Brick & Mortar, Steadbrook … There are too many to list! We’ve been so grateful for and energized by the warm community of businesses that are confidently dedicated to craft at a really high level.

We want: doughnuts.  (Preferably across the street). And how about a craft butcher shop — it seems logical, as we’re surrounded by ranches. We’re pretty happy with the scene, though, and see a lot of positive energy moving toward the future.

what’s your favorite shop in denver? favorite place for food? neighborhood?

Our favorite shop is probably Ironwood, because it just does its own thing and has a magical character and presence.

Not trying to suck up, but we’ve really been digging the sweet potato waffle at Crema and anything involving seafood at The Populist (mussels, trout rillettes, ceviche).  We love the areas around The Outpost; so much history and fresh opportunity side-by-side. We also really like Berkeley and LoHi.