Learn how-to make a holiday photo wall and no-sew t-shirt fringe bag with Upstairs Circus in Denver, Colorado.
How did you get started?
Upstairs Circus refers to the brain. There’s a lot going on up there. Especially on the right-side. I am pretty sure we all have monkeys on motorbikes whizzing around in them. I say let’s embrace them all together and make a show of it…
Upstairs Circus was founded by me, Kelly Johannsen, in 2010. It started as an outlet for me to make and sell all things creative- from event planning, to throwing parties, to handmade goods, to invites, web design and more. Upstairs Circus was essentially founded as a catch-all for everything running around in my head and for goods that friends, family and strangers alike would ask me to help create for them.
In mid-2012 I began selling a focused variety of stickers on Etsy. Stickers you ask? Why yes. Stickers. Stickers for weddings, stickers for onesies, stickers for baby showers, custom packaging stickers, etc. In deciding to sell stickers, I was able to take some of the custom work I had done for invitations or other events in the past and resell the designs as great decor and favor add-ons to those doing DIY events. The Etsy sticker biz took off better than expected and in early 2013, I hired on help to keep it running. Today, the Upstairs Circus “Design that Sticks” shop is still up and going strong. Visit it here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/UpstairsCircus
Opening the Etsy shop taught me a few things. Most importantly, it taught me that I could actually make a living off of being creative. Shocking, I know. After seeing some success with Etsy, I began to dream that “working” could become one big party and I could be the hostess…
Really, I began dreaming of opening a shop where I could throw parties and get creative all at the same time.
In November 2013, Matt (my amazing husband) and I opened the doors to Upstairs Circus, a DIY/ Art/ Craft studio meets a full bar in LoDo, Denver. We like to describe it as: Craft Cocktails, Craft Beers, Craft Crafts. The bar is a social place in which we give patrons the time, supplies, tutorials, space and assistance to make something amazing. Patrons can make home decor, jewelry, learn to leather work, woodwork and more. We also give our patrons the ability to buy libations to assist in loosening creative inhibitions. I like to call our cocktails: “Creative Juice.” Thus far the shop has been doing spectacular (insert knock on wood here). The space has been host to many a grand events- birthday parties, bachlorette parties, baby showers, bridal showers, and more. As a result, we hope to expand to other locations in the near future. You know, take this whole making-things-while-drinking world by storm.
Where are you located?
Upstairs Circus is located in LoDo (Lower Downtown) Denver, CO.
Which products do you specialise in?
Any and all DIY projects. From leather working, jewelry making, wood working, art and more. We specialize in doing all of these projects while indulging in libations.
Do you have a particular favorite product that you sell?
I personally like the "Badass Leather Cuff." Like it sounds, it's a badass leather working project that blends leather and metal. I wear one nearly everyday and it totally let's everyone know I am clearly a badass.
What's on the stereo?
We play a lot of Justin Timberlake and Iggy Azalea radio (Pandora). They feature a fab mix of throwbacks (e.g. Destiny's Child) and upcoming artists.
Where else should we visit in your area?
Union Station is a half block from our shop. The locale boasts several great restaurants, shopping and- of course- some epic people watching.
Do you host any workshops, classes or special events?
We host "Project Socials" every evening and during the day on the weekends. During Project Socials, Upstairs Circus patrons can choose make a project from our Project Menu of 30+ projects that range from custom leather hip flasks to beaded wrap bracelets. It's a great time to meet up, make and have a creative adventure while enjoying cocktails. It's creating while libating!
Is there anything else you'd like us to know?
Do you have a favorite craft, art or supply shop in your town that we should feature? Send us a message!