I Heart Denver

I Heart Denver

Article by Linzy Novotny
Photo Credit Samuel Schimek and McKenzie Hoffman

A pop-up store designed to further Denver’s creative economy and export Denver culture opened April 9 in the Denver Pavilions.

The I Heart Denver Store is the vision of local artist, designer and entrepreneur Samuel Schimek. This is the fourth pop-up shop for Schimek, but the first he has put together with his company 15 min., LLC.

Schimek has eight years retail experience, five years art exhibition experience, and is a designer himself so he has the necessary tools to spearhead a store of this kind.

What makes I Heart Denver special?

The I Heart Denver Store sells 100 percent art and designs by Denver artists and 70 percent of sales go to the artists. This is significantly more than the amount given to designers at consignment shops, Schimek said. Feedback will be given to designers from Schimek on how they can tweak their designs to maximize marketing potential and he will share how their designs are perceived by the public. Artists partner with Schimek to determine the selling price of their work.

Partnering with the Denver Pavilions, the Colorado Tourism office, Create Denver and Denver Design Incubator, I Heart Denver is intended to offer tourists a chance to see Denver for what it is through the eyes of locals.

I Heart Denver counter

“The I Heart Denver Store offers a truer representation of Denver to tourists and business travelers who frequent the mall,” artist Rebecca Peebles of Hol Sum clothing said. “Chain stores and tourism trinket shops do not even compare to this store when it comes to inspired travel through Denver.”

There are 50 designers with goods in the store, with half having their work in a Schimek pop-up shop for the first time. By the end of May, Schimek hopes to have 100 designers in representation, he said.

Pop-up shops are intended to be around one day and gone the next. Schimek’s first pop-up shop was open as part of Create Denver week, April 10-17, 2010. The shop sold art by 24 Denver designers, Schimek said.

I Heart Denver – The success

The success of the I Heart Denver Store’s model and praise from museum curators inspired Schimek to open two more pop-up shops with Brian Corrigan. In late 2010, Schimek and Corrigan opened YesPleaseMore in two Denver Pavilions locations. One store was open for four months and the other for five, Schimek said.

“The real success story here is that a couple of guys put themselves at risk and garnered support to help other people realize their dreams,” artist Laurie Halvorson said. “That is a truly creative and beautiful thing.”

Halvorson, along with Adam Sikorski, Derek of Mukee Designs and Peebles had their art for sale in YesPleaseMore and when I Heart Denver opened they were asked to be a part of the shop.

I Heart Denver paper bags

“The feedback I get from Samuel is important because he sees products for their aesthetic value but also in terms of marketing,” Peebles said. “Often, designers and artists just make what they like and don’t realize that a little change here or there, or just a different goal in producing work could make their work more marketable.”

I Heart Denver has the same principles as YesPleaseMore, with capital going directly to the artists, but the primary differences between the shops is that Schimek has an opportunity to expand on his personal designs, design aesthetic and be more sales focused in the I Heart Denver Store, he said.

I Heart Denver will be open for six months, but Schimek would like to see it stay as a permanent fixture. “Denver has the potential for clout on a global scale,” he said. “Denver is a player in the national and global markets.”

“I like that the focus of the store is about being creative and from Denver,” said local photographer Liz Nayadley. “As a culture we have gotten so far removed from what is local and made right in our backyards. This store proves that you don’t have to search that far to find interesting work.”

Click here to visit the I Heart Denver website or here to like I Heart Denver on Facebook

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