I sat down with Chrissy Jensen of Des Moines’ “indie-handmade” store, Domestica. The 46-year-old business owner and mastermind shares what drives her, inspires her, and a few tips for spicing up small spaces.
DR: How would you describe your business?
CJ: We call it an indie-handmade store. Just more modern and cool than a craft fair, not that there’s anything wrong with craft fairs. Everything in here is handmade by somebody, that’s kind of our shtick. Besides butter nailpolish, which we carry.
DR: What inspired you to start your business?
CJ: I used to be a photo stylist, and I’ve always been into decor and finding new things to use. I was already really involved in the handmade community and I just liked the idea of having that all in Des Moines.
DR: What was your biggest challenge in decorating your the store?
CJ: Originally, we only had 400 sq feet, but now we’ve added a second room and have 800 sq feet, which is still a really small space. There aren’t a lot of walls and we have a lot of prints and posters, so it’s a challenge for sure.
DR: Would you call prints your specialty?
CJ: No, I don’t think we specialize in it because we have everything from jewelry to greeting cards. But it is probably what we’re best known for, and we carry a lot of pieces that are by well-known artists, like Aaron Draplin, who has worked with Nike and also made a really cool Iowa poster.
DR: What do you think is the best part of decorating with prints?
CJ: You can’t beat the price, and they’re unique. We do carry some small digital prints, but all of our large prints are screen printed. When you screen print something, every print turns out different because the paint may not have stuck in the same places or it may be off by a few inches. Every one is a unique piece of art for $25, and you can frame it and it looks great. And the themes of posters are geared toward younger people.
DR: What advice would you give somebody who is trying to brighten up their rental space?
CJ: If you can’t paint, and you want to brighten up your space, I would say… Well. People are afraid to mix colors. Don’t be afraid to mix colors. And if you’re renting, it probably means you’re on a budget so start by using what you have. Use everything. Even if you’re afraid it will break, or it’s a hand-me-down with sentimental value. Use it anyway.