Friday, September 4, 2009

In The Shop With Jennifer Hansen

I am super excited to introduce you all to Jennifer Hansen, owner of the gorgeous bath boutique, Eden, in Des Moines, IA. This is one of my all time favorite shops. If you are in Des Moines and haven't been by you must be sure to stop! Eden was opened up in the East Village of downtown Des Moines in 2003, before it was renovated into the hip spot that it is today. I always had dreams of opening up a shop in downtown Des Moines. I would drag my mom out to look at all these vacant places and with bigs eyes and so much excitement would be like..."just imagine my adorable design store here and my studios above" and "you could totally have a yoga studio here". Then I stumbled upon Eden when it just opened after one of these days of driving through downtown Des Moines (and a visit to my favorite furniture store Projects). It was love at first site! Jennifer actually made my dream a reality and I feel like she has played a key role in this "creative movement" Des Moines is experiencing. Eden has now been open for 6 years and has become such a success, she is expanding to a much larger location right around the corner. Maybe she'll let me take over the old location:-)

Let's take you into the shop with Jennifer Hansen:
Current Boutique

Coming Soon!

Can't wait to see what she's going to put on these shelves!

This kitchen screams PARTY!

AM: Give me a little background about yourself and one childhood memory that you think helped you land where you're at today.
JH: When I was little I loved playing store and often ran garage sales for my mom. I went to work at Younkers when I turned 16. Now I have eden....and I still feel like the little girl playing store.

AM: Did you have an "Aha Moment" when Eden flashed in front of your eyes:-) How did you go about making your concept a reality?
JH: When I saw our corner location back in 2003 it was love at first sight. I knew it had to be mine. It had a great apothecary feel and was next to a cool plumbing store so I set out to make my dream soap store.

AM: What inspires you the most and where is your favorite place to be inspired?
JH: Lunch in the courtyard at the Des Moines Art Center. total bliss.

AM: What are the Top 5 products you are just crazy about right now?
JH: Top 5 must haves...Fresh soy face cleanser, Hanky Panky undies, Molton Brown Toko-Yuzu bubble bath, Kai body butter, and the John Galliano candle from Diptyque.
My favorite new line has to be TokyoMilk. They have the most darling guest soaps, bubble bath, candles, lip balm, and perfume.

AM: Do you carry any local or handmade products?
JH: Yes. We carry necklaces from local Des Moines artist, Shelby Anderson. She takes found objects...anagram game pieces, vintage wallpaper, and makes them into great jewelry. I actually met Shelby at a garage sale right at the beginning of eden. I complimented her on her necklace and she coincidently came to eden to shop later that same afternoon. I've carried her jewelry at eden ever since.

AM: Your new shop is under construction right now, and we all know this time can be stressful, what are you most looking forward to?
JH: More space. There are so many more lines that we are interested in and we will have room for growth at our new location. When eden first opened we had a great little seating area with an eames compact sofa and a blank wall with a quote on it. A couple years later it became the home for Kiehl's. The eames compact sofa and quote wall are coming back. Complete with Italian Vogue magazines. I want people to have a little cozy spot to sit for a spell.

AM: What types of events/services do you have planned for the new Eden?
JH: We plan to host a lot of parties at the new space. We're building a kitchenette complete with sink, fridge and dishwasher. All we need is some wine, tea, and petit fours and we are ready for company.

AM: You obviously have a knack for design and great taste and I see one of your Favorite Things is Found Things. Are there any great finds you will be using in your new space?
JH: We salvaged a chandelier and a checkout counter from the old downtown Des Moines Younkers Tearoom. I worked at Younkers all through high school and college, and came to Des Moines to work in the buying office following college. My husband John worked in their advertising department. It's where we met. Ahh, swoon.

AM: If you could bring one thing to Des Moines what would that be?
JH: The Pacific Ocean.

AM: What's your favorite thing about Des Moines?
JH: The East Village. It's such a gem of a neighborhood for Des Moines bursting with niche locally owned boutiques and restaurants. It continues to grow organically and is becoming this wonderful little self sufficient community. I feel so fortunate to be a part of it all.


JH: While we are sharing, I have a story for you. A couple of years ago my mom was going through some of my grandparents things (my grandpa had recently died) and ran across some of their travel memorabilia....passports and a few token treasures. One thing my Grandma saved from her travels was an old business card from a store in Paris where she bought perfume. The store was called Eden.

I cannot wait to step foot in her new shop on my next trip back to Iowa! If you haven't ever visited Des Moines, you should! Check out the Des Moines City Guide I put together for Design Sponge for all the best things to do, places to eat, and sites to see!

PS. An edited version of the city guide is coming soon...sorry for all the typos!

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