CRAVE Magazine was fortunate enough to obtain an exclusive interview with Melissa Shipley, one of the producers of Jackalope Arts, and a Denver native. With her teeth grinding years formulated producing RAWartists events, Miss Shipley has set out on a new venture with Jackalope Arts. Below we learn a little about what it takes to put on such an event and why you need to put this event in your weekend plans.


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How long have you worked as an event producer?
Melissa Shipley: I started out working with festival rentals, which got me realizing I wanted to be on the other end of things. That is when I moved onto producing events, and have been doing that for 4 years. With this new venture, myself and two others (Sara Vausbinder and Laura Fischer) founded Jackalope Arts. Jackalope is 100% us and we can really do what we envision, which is really fun!

What do you love most about what you do?
MS: I love working with so many creative people. Jackalope Arts is a 2-day shopping event where we bring together artisans from fashion and accessory design, home decor and housewares, kids products, paper goods, food and more. It is really fun getting so many creatives in one space and giving them a chance to sell their work. I love going to these events as a shopper- so it is even better that we get to host one!

How long did you work for RAWartists?
MS: I worked for RAWartists for 2 years

What was your biggest achievement during that time?
MS: I think my biggest achievement with RAW was the fact that I was able to get Denver to be one of the top 5 cities in the nation for RAW! It took a lot of hard work and I am proud of that. That is why I am excited to see what is next. I am ready to introduce people to Jackalope!

Tell us more about Jackalope Arts. How will this be an original event? What sets it apart from RAW?
MS: Jackalope Arts is a 2 day shopping event during which time 200 artisans and crafters will get a chance to feature and sell their work to thousands of people, while giving attendees a chance to meet the maker behind their one of a kind goods. What sets it apart from other events is not only the scale, but the fact that we do not accept any vintage or resale items. So everything you see is 100% handmade!
Jackalope is a lot different than RAW. Instead of having our focus in all different directions (with music, fashions shows, performance etc) we chose to focus on just the market aspect and really creating a successful shopping experience!


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Why hold the event in Colorado? Where else is it happening?
MS: The handmade community is booming right now, and that includes in Denver! There is so much talent here and we want to provide another setting for artisans to get their work out there! We are also having our events in Pasadena, California and Phoenix, Arizona. There is a lot of cross over between these cities and artists are loving the fact that they can travel between them, but these are also each one of our hometowns, mine of course being Denver.

What are you most excited about regarding this event?
MS: It is not only a prime shopping experience with 200 handmade vendors, but there will be a workshop station so you yourself can get crafty,

[also] a bar, and of course food trucks. We have a lot of amazing support coming from the Denver community and we can’t wait to show Denver what Jackalope Arts is all about!

What has been the biggest challenge with putting together an event like this?
MS: The biggest challenge is that since we are new, it is taking awhile for people to understand and trust that we know what we are doing! There is a lot that goes into producing an event this size. You may have the best vendors, but if you do not market yourself properly, no one is going to come shop. So we really take pride in how we market ourselves. We don’t just rely on social media, you really have to network and build relationships. Thus far we have made it into the Westword Summer Guide for being one of the top “Ten Summer Shopping Sprees,” 5280’s “6 New Summer Festivals Worth Checking Out,” and within the Thrillists “11 Things You Absolutely Must Do in Denver This July!”

How would you like to see this event evolve over the next 10 years?
MS: I really just want to build our reputation within the handmade community for being one of the top markets to sell at and attend! It would be great if Jackalope Arts became a household name 🙂

This FREE Event is held July 25-26 at the EXDO Event Center:

For more Info:


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