FRIENDS IN PLACES: EDEN IOWA
Eden is our favorite kind of shop: the kind that emerged from a lifetime of planning and development that wasn't necessarily aimed at launching a store, but was all integral to its creation in the end. It's the kind of store where the owner, Jennifer, looks carefully across the world for unique products that will make you feel good, but maybe looks even more closely at ideas from her customers whose input actually shapes the store. Eden is built on passion for connection, for curating, and helping you find just what you need to make your days a little more pleasant.
How did eden come about and when?
I’ve always been a lover of fragrance, candles and pampering products and often dreamed of having my own shop. Just like in the movie Practical Magic.
When I was little I loved playing store and often ran garage sales for my mom. I went to work at our local department store, Younkers, at age 16 and continued to play shopgirl all through high school and college. Following college I moved to Des Moines to work in the buying office, where I would meet my future husband, John, who worked in the advertising department. That job went away when in late 2002 Younkers merged with Saks, Inc. This was my chance. I never had the guts to leave my job on my own so the push out the door is exactly what I needed to follow my dream. eden opened 6 months after losing my job.
Our first shop opened on June 6, 2003, at the corner of E. 5th and Grand Avenue.
How big is your store?
1400 square feet from front door to back door.
What's the neighborhood like?
eden is in a neighborhood called The East Village which sits at the foot of our State Capitol. This is 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.
What types of things do you sell at your eden?
We have a well-edited assortment of bath, baby, and home products at eden with a focus on pampering products like soap, lotion, bubble bath, perfume, and candles with a very unisex appeal.
What makes Eden special or unique?
eden didn’t happen over night. We’ve grown very organically over the years adding lines as we get feedback from people. I strive to carry products that are hard to find in the Midwest that you’d normally have to travel to a larger market for. There’s a story behind most of the pieces in the shop, which people seem to appreciate. One of the laurel lamps was my mom’s from the 1970’s. We’ve tried hard to blend mid century modern pieces like saarinan tables and our Eames compact sofa with pieces we’ve found thrifting in Des Moines. Two of our prize pieces - the chandelier and check out counter were salvaged out of our downtown department store's (Younkers) tea room.
Any big changes coming up that people should know about?
There’s a loft space above our shop that has been vacant for 30 years that we are finally starting to renovate. We hope to open it up for special events… First Friday parties, etc.
What type(s) of music do you play in the store?
We often turn to Songza playlists. You’ll most likely find us listening to Indie Folk & Americana on any given day.
Are pets welcome in your store?
Absolutely! We keep a doggy water bowl outside the shop as a sign that furry friends are welcome.
Do you have a favorite scent (anything goes from perfume to apples)?
I’m a woodsy, campfire, incense, patchouli girl at heart. Basically I’m a bit of a tom boy. I’m a big fan of L'Occitane Eav des Bavx.
If your store was a reality TV show which one would it be like?
The Real World : Des Moines