Meeting the Makers: Domestica Interview + Giveaway

domestica, indie handmade retail shopI have some gorgeous Friday eye candy + food for thought & a fun giveaway  to share today! Chrissy of the awesome indie retail shop Domestica in Des Moines, Iowa is here to visit and share her business. Its an exciting day for Domestica today too as they are on their way to take part in the 9th annual Renegade Fair in Chicago-if you are in the area be sure to stop by booth 205 and say hello!

In this interview Chrissy gives us a tour of her swoon-worthy brick and mortar shop (so very full of handmade goodness) and shares some of her passion for the handmade movement. I love how Domestica is not just a shop it is also supporting the creative community by championing the work of indie artists and showcasing many talented makers. Domestica is also giving away a fabulous print by This Paper Ship-read on to find out the details of how you can enter!

It’s lovely to get a chance to introduce OMHG readers to Domestica & the face behind the biz! Can you tell us a bit about your story & how you came to set up shop?

First, I want to say how thrilled I am to be a small part of such a brilliant, resourceful blog as OMHG – huge fan – thank you!

Domestica’s story dates back to about 2006 and a little indie craft fan blog I wrote. It’s such a long story involving a number of wonderful characters, but the short of it is that the shop opened in April of last year here in Des Moines’ East Village. I worked in film and print as a photo stylist/writer/producer, but knew I wanted to give an indie craft shop a go. Danelle Williams of Monster Fashion/Craft Saturday fame and I framed the idea together, but ultimately, she and her husband, Joe, moved to Minneapolis –  they’re still such great people to go to with ideas/for advice. My friend, Leah, provided the final push and I’m just so grateful to all three of them (as well as a host of wonderful friends) for helping this shop happen. Joe created the logo that I credit with all the small in-roads we made early on – I still love it so and people really respond to it.

You have such a wonderful selection of artists & designers at Domestica-it would be great if you could introduce us to some of your favorite pieces/designers.

OH boy. You’re basically looking at a collection of everything I want in my own home. I’m so partial to each and every piece, it’s easy togo overboard on the gushing – makes it hard to choose some to highlight.

domestica, indie handmade retail shop, this paper ship

I’m nuts about print, so we have quite a few printmakers and poster artists in the shop. One of our newest artists is This Paper Ship By Ashley + Joel Selby. Their style reminds me of the illustrations in old Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks (one of which was illustrated by none other than Charley Harper) – cheerful, lovely images that spark nostalgia (to steal from the Fresh Prince). Also, Joel writes my favorite Twitter: @catsarehungry


domestica, indie handmade retail shop, betsy & iya

Another artist we’re lucky to carry is Betsy + Iya. Their work is really on-trend/high fashion without the expected price tag. They’re super popular with our customers and we found them through a customer visiting from Portland (where they’re from). We find a lot of people at the suggestion of their friends – David Witt, Charms City, The Littlest Bean – it’s the nature of the indie craft scene. It’s a great wonderful encouraging livelihood because it’s filled with encouraging people.

domestica, indie handmade retail shop, field notes

One more new (to us) artist is Aaron Draplin. He’s one of the founders of Field Notes, and we also carry his Draplin Design Co.branded work. He (lucky us) came thru Des Moines recently + besides being a helluva guy, was really inspiring/encouraging. One of the things he passed along was this idea that sometimes you should make cool things just for cool things sake. I took a lot away from that sentiment. I think I’ve always done that already, but it stuck with me. Yeah, you have to make a living somehow. But, if the only reason you’re doing something is to make money – if you don’t at some level love it – it’s not the thing that’s going to have a positive impact on your life.

domestica, indie handmade retail shop

Why do you feel it is important to support independent artists/designers & handmade work?

I think for all the same reasons we should support each other in life. This is how it starts, this is how good people act – we support each other, we lend a hand, we spend a few dollars to help sustain those small businesses – it’s a small world concept that works on a global level and that small grassroots approach that starts with just a few people is where the biggest positive changes happen. I love handmade everything. I’m amazed at the beautiful innovative things people make
with their hands – it can’t go away.

domestica, indie handmade retail shop

You have an online store but you also have a brick & mortar shop in Des Moines, Iowa. Since we can’t all troop over to come visit you can you take us on a little photo tour of your shop?

Sure. The shop’s about 800 sf. We started with only the “white” room and just added the brown room in May. Both rooms feature the IKEA Maskros pendant light – we painted the one in the brown room gold.

domestica, indie handmade retail shop{the brown room}

It’s a wonderful prop since our shop’s a little off the main drag -people see the lights in our big windows and stop or come back later. We get a lot of compliments and questions. We also adapted the shelves from A Brick House’s tutorial for the brown room. We wanted this room to be really mid-century office-inspired, but we couldn’t afford a mid-century credenza. Guys appreciate this room since the other room is so girlie.

domestica, indie handmade retail shop{the white room}

What else is going on for Domestica? Any big plans for the future, new projects or other excitement?

We just started a group Pinterest and group Tumblr (drop me a Tweet or a line for an invite!) so we can not only share our crazy finds (I surf too much!) with our friends, they can also throw up their finds for the rest of us. It’s great fun! Our friends meet each other and we meet their friends who want to join in. I think everyone should have some sort of group blog going on – you see some many different points of view + get turned on to ideas/colors/artists you’d never think of. Best thing that’s happened all summer!

We’re also planning a poster party for August 22nd in conjunction with a visit from the Type Truck. Kyle (the artist behind the truck) launched a successful Kickstarter to convert a delivery truck into a mobile screenprint studio. She’s traveling across the country (with a recent stint at Renegade LA) + she’s graciously agreed to visit us! We’re thrilled and excited to show off all of our hand-screened posters. We carry posters by superstars such as Methane Studios and The Bird Machine as well as incredible work by lesser-known artists like Dwitt and Basemint.

Tomorrow we will be at the Renegade Craft Fair Chicago in Wicker Park.  Our booth features a number of our makers from the shop including some from the UK:  Lianna Sheppard, Nicola Rowlands, Jane Foster, Hey! Day Collective and our newest jewelry maker, Iswas + Willbe.  Dolan Geiman started a cool Renegade Craft vendor Twitter list peeps can follow – what a great idea!

Where else can we connect with you? 

Twitter: @shopdomestica

Google+: Christi Jensen

Facebook: DomesticaDSM

Pinterest: Domestica

Group Tumblr:

Domestica’s Tumblr:

domestica, print giveaway, this paper shipDomestica is giving away a sweet “Put the Kettle On” print by This Paper Ship!

Entering is easy just: 

Leave a comment below about the interview & Domestica’s awesomeness!

Get extra entries by leaving a separate comment (1 comment=1 entry) if you: 

Follow Domestica on Twitter

-Like Domestica on Facebook 

-Share this giveaway on Twitter or your Facebook page

-Blog about this giveaway with a link back to this post

This giveaway will close Friday, September 16th at midnight EST with the winner announced the following day at the bottom of this post. By entering this giveaway you are agreeing to the oh my! handmade goodness giveaway policies

This giveaway is now closed! And the winner is…


  1. elaine harris says:

    I believe the future of our country depends on supporting small businesses and businesses which hire american workers, regardless of what they are selling. Besides, I absolutely love having things that are not mass produced. The originality is worth a million.

  2. Lindsey says:

    i’m absolutely LOVIN’ the prints by Domestica! how cute would it be to group several in the kitchen area 😉

    p.s. i followed you on twitter!

    p.p.s. i tweeted about the giveaway!

  3. Chrissy says:

    Jessika, thank you so much for the beautiful ppost on the eve of our Renegade Chi maiden voyage. We had a blast, by the way, and met SO many cool people – and Nicole from the comments above stopped by – it was great. Thanks everyone for your great comments, too – so appreciated!

Comments are closed.