It speaks volumes about Minnesotan style and values that the state’s quickly become home to arguably the most beloved men’s pop-up market in America, September’s annual NorthernGRADE.
Event founders Larry Felitto of J.W. Hulme Co. and Kat MacMillan of Pierrepont Hicks and @mrsphicks Shoes are at it again, launching NorthernGRADE’s cooler, if not frostier, spin-off SnowGRADE on Saturday Feb. 25th. Here they share the story behind their new pop-up, and tip us off on which American-made goods they’re aiming to take home.
Why did you decide to spin-off NorthernGRADE into SnowGRADE?
Larry: The response for the last NorthernGRADE event was overwhelming and more and more I kept hearing from attendees and vendors alike that we should do more of these throughout the year. People really had a great time.
SnowGRADE is adding workshops into the mix. What can people expect to see and learn?
Larry: There will be an axe restoration workshop, a home brewing 101, leather care workshop, leather tooling workshop and the fellas at Marvel Bar are talking about doing a cocktail workshop. I’ll be front row for this one!
Kat: Peter Geye is a local author, who wrote a book called Safe From the Sea. He’ll be there talking about his book and signing copies. His book is about a man and his father, an old sea captain, coming to grips with their relationship… it takes place outside Duluth. It is such an appropriate book for SnowGRADE. And Peter is quite a guy.
Tell me about some of the new vendors who’ve come on board for SnowGRADE.
Larry: Best Made Axe Co. and Northern Brewer are two that I’m most excited about seeing. Both companies, although not menswear, exemplify the heart and soul of SnowGRADE; the idea of American made, craft, durable and quality.
Kat: I am so excited to welcome Byrd and Belle’s modern and gorgeous iPad covers. Moonshine Coffee is providing the coffee, which is so delicious I will probably be highly caffeinated all day long.
Kat: Rancourt and Co. is coming in from Maine. They make traditional handsewn shoes and boots. Frost River is coming. Their bags are awesome! We’ve got a great crew.
How have you tempted out-of-towners to brave the Minnesota winter and attend the event?
Kat: I think folks from elsewhere feel Minnesota in February is something they have to do at least once in their lives. It’s about character building. Or something.
Is there anything you’re hoping to bag at the event for your own wardrobe?
Kat: A Cause and Effect belt. A Byrd and Belle iPhone case. There is a pen at Askov Finlayson that I have to have. It’s apparently used by the State Department and it’s very heavy and can write upside down or underwater, since I am always writing notes while scuba diving I have to have it!
Larry: Fairbault Woolen Mills just launched a line of beautiful new scarves in a variety of colors, I’ve got my eye on one of those.
Larry: I’m also a little disappointed I didn’t pick up a hat from Ball & Buck at NorthernGRADE so I might have to spring for it this time around.
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And there you have it. Better pad your wallets and bundle up, boys. SnowGRADE’s gonna be ice hot!