Jackalope Arts blog - vendor tips, art & craft fair information and updates #jackalopeartfair

Meet the Denver Jurors: Samuel Schimek

Owner of I Heart Denver Store, Creative Director of Artstir, and VP of Chapter Development at AIGA Colorado

Q. Tell us a little about yourself & your background in the arts & crafts world?           

A. I am the Owner of the I Heart Denver Store, an innovative, award-winning retail model developed to support Denver’s creative economy. The store carries 100% local art and design goods and has returned an unprecedented 70% of sales to more than 160 artists/designers over the last 3 years. To date, the store has sold over $2.1 million in local design goods, and roughly $1.4 million of that money was paid directly back to the artists and designers for the sales of their goods. I also work with Denver Pavilions to implement programming and events to activate the Denver's downtown creative culture. 

Q. What/who is your biggest inspiration?   

A. The DIY movement in general. It inspires me to see how much we can make with our hands and new technology. 

Q. How did you get into your position in the arts & crafts world?

A. While pursuing my creative education I took part time work that gained me sales and management experience. After 4.5 years of college I was able to secure a visual display position at Urban Outfitters, then moved into leadership roles in other corporations and small businesses. After several years of helping companies with new store builds, team building, and marketing I took the initiative to self produce art exhibitions and events that led to an invite by the city of Denver to run a one week pop-up store. The press and sales potential of that first pop-up store is what lead to the retail program I run today. 

Q. Tell us about a few favorites of your: Animal?

AMy favorite animal is my best buddy Denver Picard. He is my corgi and shop dog. A favorite at the Denver Pavilions, he has won a tourism award and a couple Best of Denver awards from Denver Westword. 

Q. What do you love most about the handmade movement?

A. The handmade movement has allowed passions to become careers, and new businesses to pursue a sustainable path more so than ever before. 

Q. What is the most important feature in an artist's application for you?

A. The imagery. Professional and complete works that show me something ready to sell. 

Q. What are you most looking forward to in being a part of the Jackalope Arts jury? 

A. Seeing works not just produced in Colorado. My projects usually are geared to a hyperlocal stance which I wholeheartedly believe in, but an opportunity to get to curate from outside my normal region is a nice break. 

Q. Where can we find out more about you?

A. I keep my professional profile updated on Linkedin and you can find fun stuff I post on Facebook.