Archives: Featured Company

5280’s Top of the Town voting

So, it’s that time of year again. 5280 Magazine is rolling out their annual Top of the Town voting today. Results of the balloting are published in the June issue and consistently reflect the best that Denver has to offer in a range of categories.

You shouldn’t have any problem voting for the best menswear boutique, right? :). How about the other categories?

I wanted to write a quick blog post and offer up some recommendations for a handful of genres. I’ve personally worked with each of these businesses and they are run by some really amazing people who are super passionate about what they do. More importantly, they uphold the highest level of quality and attention to service. The latter I think is worth emphasizing, because in an increasingly digital world, good customer service can seem difficult to come by.

But these are just my recommendations. The important thing is to vote for the company or individual that you think has earned a spot on the list!

Top of the Town voting!

Here’s the link to vote!

A note on how to vote: The reader voting (that’s you, as opposed to the editor voting) is a write-in format. That means that you’d type in something like, oh say, Bespoke Edge, for the Local Men’s Boutique category. You certainly don’t need to fill in all of the line items, just scroll through and pick your favorites!

Barber

I’ve been a loyal patron of Al’s Barbershop for something like 5 or 6 years now. In the beginning, I was frequenting the Denver barbershop in Larimer Square. When I moved to Boulder a couple years back I would go to the Boulder shop. And now that I’m back in Denver, well, you guessed it.

Simply put, Al’s a master at cutting men’s hair.

Something you probably wouldn’t know if you didn’t ask, is that Al cuts hair for a handful of models at national fashion shows. He is even a recognized speaker at industry conferences. And to have him cut your hair and listen to him explain his approach and watch what he does, you’ll soon understand that Al and his highly skilled team are the very best at what they do.

Local Jewelry Designer

I met Abby Sparks a couple years back, because well, most of us custom folks end up gravitating towards one another sooner or later!

And when Brett got engaged I decided that he deserved a pair of custom cufflinks to go with his custom suits. That’s when I had an opportunity to work one-on-one with Abby. I thought it was interesting at how similar her process is to ours, in that you can literally control every aspect of what you’re building. For us, it’s custom suits, and for her, custom jewelry.

Abby is an incredibly talented and personable woman. She has a knack for taking sketches and turning them into amazing pieces of jewelry.

I’d recommend taking a peek at our article on Brett’s custom cufflinks. It has a lot of great photos of some of her rings too.

Website: Abby Sparks Jewelry

custom cuff links abby sparks designs and 5280 top of the town

Wedding Gowns

For years now, Ron and I have known Little White Dress Bridal Shop owner Cate Malone and her daughter and business partner, Kelly Hinde. They are really wonderful people who consistently find the best in designer gowns and bring them to the mile high city.

Recommended reading: 5 style tips for grooms, an interview with Kelly Hinde

Accessories

Denver based HIM Clothing has been making some impressive menswear accessories for a while now. Several years ago I stumbled across the brand and met with cofounder, Hugh Hartigan. Now, there are a handful of people making ties in Colorado today and I’m no stranger to vintage and cotton neck wear. When I first had the chance to inspect one of HIM Clothing’s ties, the first thing I did was flip it over and look at the construction. It immediately became clear that this company knows how to make ties. They’d be a great pick for the Top of the Town accessories category.

Read the BE Featured Company blog post on HIM Clothing here.

HIM Clothing and the 5280 top of the town voting

Twenty-Five Event Management: Our interview with Liz Marcou

On a recent trip to the desert, I met with Liz Marcou, founder and owner of Twenty-Five Event Management. Liz, like myself, has a history in the corporate space, before she ventured out into the world to start her own business.

When speaking with Liz, it becomes clear very early on that she has a real passion for event planning and execution. She’s super organized, intelligent, and believe me, gets things done! I can’t recommend Liz enough for anyone in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area.

Here’s a bit about what we talked about…

[Ryan] Can you tell us a little bit about Twenty-Five Event Management? What makes your approach to event planning different?

[Liz] When people hear Twenty-Five Event Management, the next question is, “What does Twenty-Five stand for?”

February 25th, 2012 was my wedding day and inspiration behind Twenty-Five. In the months of planning my wedding, I realized I could take my professional experience of large-scale project management and apply it to wedding planning. Except wedding and event planning allows for much more creativity than corporate banking! I found a way to merge my expertise in projects with something I was extremely passionate about in wedding and event planning.

What makes our approach different is we work very hard to understand a couple’s wedding goals. For some couples the goal is to make sure their guests remember the party for a really long time and for others, it’s all about the wedding representing who they are as a couple and their families. Taking the time to genuinely understand their goals allows us to handle all the details of the wedding or event day while making sure we provide the best experience possible.

You’ve clearly planned a lot of weddings to date, what was one that really stood out and why?

This past summer I planned a wedding in the middle of July in Scottsdale, Arizona. Due to work restrictions for the couple, July was the only month they would be able to get married. The temperature on the wedding day was forecasted at 109° and everyone was coming in from out of town.

We had a lot of details to consider to make sure the guests were comfortable during the ceremony and reception. It wasn’t the heat or the challenges we had to overcome that made this stand out, it was the support from the family and friends of the bride and groom and their willingness to brave the Arizona heat to watch two people they all care about tie the knot. With 95% of the guests out of town I was so moved by the amount of people who came out for the couple!

When searching for an event planner, what are the most important qualities that a couple should be looking for?

When looking for a wedding planner there are a few qualities I would suggest as the most important. First, great listening skills are required to make sure your potential planner really hears you and takes your concerns and ideas seriously. They will be the ones responsible to make all of your wedding details come to fruition during planning and the day-of.

Second, your planner should be professional. They will take the “business” side of your wedding very seriously. There should be a planning process available to help you (and your planner) ensure your wedding is moving along and all the details are captured with precise timing.

A professional planner may also have a certification in wedding planning. Although a certificate is not required to plan a wedding, it shows that the planner has some training and is taking their wedding planning business seriously. Lastly, a great personality is an essential trait for a wedding planner to have.

When talking to a potential planner you should walk away with the feeling of “he or she totally gets us!” Just remember to always trust your instincts when selecting the right person for your wedding day or big event!

Contact

More about Liz

Email: info@25eventmanagement.com

Phone: 623-777-9997

Our interview with wedding photographer Mark Creery

Over the past couple of months, I’ve come across a handful of really great wedding vendors in the Fort Collins area. You may recall my earlier blog post on Pink Diamond Events. And today, I’d like to share with you my interview with Mark Creery, of Mark Creery Photography. Mark has been in the business a long time – 13 years! And over those years, he has built up an impressive resume and a long list of happy clients.

[Ryan] How would you describe your particular approach to wedding photography? What makes you different?

[Mark] I take a more laid-back, photo-journalistic approach to weddings by anticipating and capturing candid moments and mixing these with artistic portraits that express real emotions. I excel at bringing out the true personalities of my couples while still showing off the amazing scenery that they chose their venue for. My style showcases vibrant, true-to-life colors with clean backgrounds that the couples pop off of, which I think sets me apart from a lot of photographers.

Mark Creery fort collins wedding photography

What kinds of things can a groom do to look his best in his wedding photos? Any common mistakes that grooms are making in your experience?

The best thing he can do to look great is to get a custom suit or tux. I’ve seen plenty of baggy rental suits that made the groom look much heavier than he actually is.

Often the groom and groomsmen struggle with putting the boutonnieres on and I end up jumping in to help. If the florist isn’t there to put them on then it’s nice if someone can get a demonstration before they leave. Common mistakes are having the pins showing or the boutonnieres tilting off of the lapel too much. Learning how to fold your pocket squares before the wedding is a good idea too.

With the strong Colorado sun it’s easy to get sunglass tan lines before the wedding, which can show in photos. So wear sunscreen leading up to the big day if you can.

Mark Creery Colorado wedding photographer

When searching for a wedding photographer, what are the important qualities that a couple should be looking for?

The most important thing is to feel like you connect well with him/her and their style. The photographer will be spending a large part of their day hanging out with you, more than any other vendor, so it’s important to like each other. Finding someone who comes across professional and organized should reflect on the care they take in their business to deliver the highest quality product.

Mark Creery Photography

Mark Creery Photography

Contact

Here’s a link to Mark’s website and a little more about him.

Email: photos@markcreery.com
Phone: 970-402-0618

Thinking of buying a home in Boulder? Here’s what you need to know

If you follow real estate at all in Colorado, you’ve surely caught wind of the meteoric rise of property values in the Boulder area. The city is certainly a different place than it was when I was attending graduate school! And so with the start of a new year, I thought I’d reach out to one of Boulder’s leading realtors for some insight on where the market may be going. I spoke with Danielle Davis of First Summit Realty and asked her a handful of key questions…

[Ryan] First off, can you tell us a little about First Summit Realty; the company’s beginnings and how you’re different?

[Danielle] Great question! Before I started First Summit Realty, I was part of a top-producing team in Colorado. After many years of working with them, I made a decision that I wanted to focus on quality, not quantity. So, I opened a brokerage that was customer-centric. I wanted everything we did to focus on doing the absolute best for our customers. And we’ve accomplished that!

We are literally obsessed with excellence in all that we do. Although we do significant volume, clients are not numbers to us. We spend considerable time getting to know our clients’ goals, personal situations, timelines, and needs. These days, your choice of realtor really matters. There are lots of pitfalls that buyers and sellers can encounter in a real estate transaction. Our market knowledge, contract negotiation, and our award-winning customer service are second to none. Our most important goal is to create raving fans with each transaction. That’s the metric by which we measure our success.

We all know that home prices in Denver and Boulder have really increased in recent years. Are we in a bubble? Or is the landscape relatively stable?

I get asked this one a lot. The wild appreciation that we’ve seen over the last few years has really been a product of supply and demand. The year 2016 marked the lowest inventory (fewest homes on the market) since 2005. Additionally, we’ve seen a large number of people jumping into the market due to historically low interest rates. Couple that with the increase in job creation, especially in high paying sectors. Plus now, it’s possible for first time home buyers to purchase a home due in part to loan programs with down payments as low as 3.5%. It makes for a competitive seller’s market which allows for a rapid increase in pricing.

Looking forward, it seems 2017 is showing some indications of stabilizing. The biggest unknown is what inventory levels will look like. The increasing interest rates will likely be the catalyst for many to make the move they’ve been putting off. Whatever lies ahead, it’s going to be an exciting year in real estate!

What market do you think has the greater potential in the next five years: Boulder or Louisville/Lafayette?

All three of the markets you mentioned behave very differently. The market in Boulder exists in its own bubble in many ways. For the first time this year, the average price of a home in Boulder went above the one million dollar mark. For that reason, Boulder has become unattainable for many homebuyers. That has created an eastward migration to both of the other towns you’ve mentioned – Louisville and Lafayette. Louisville has seen rapid appreciation for many years in a row now. Year-to-date, single family homes in Louisville have appreciated a whopping 17%. Lafayette is also seeing very healthy appreciation with single family homes appreciating 9%, year-to-date. The numbers suggest that Lafayette has the most room for appreciation in the upcoming years.

What are three key tips you can provide to anyone looking to buy their first home?

I love this question! We teach a first time home buyers course, so I have a lot to say on the matter. For the purpose of the interview, I’ll try to limit my response. There are a few things that I think are really important. One, find a great local lender. Too many times I’ve seen buyers get into a jam by going with the wrong lender. It can result in added stress, delays, and/or putting your earnest money at risk.

Second, pick a great realtor. I know this sounds like self-promotion, but it’s really not. For many, buying a home is the biggest financial decision they’ll ever make. There’s a lot on the line. It’s imperative to choose someone with an understanding of the market and who will represent your best interests.

Just remember, home buying should not be stressful, it should be a fulfillment of a dream.

Contact

Check out First Summit Realty online, here.

hello@firstsummitrealty.com

720-600-7878