May 3, 2022 - Business

From vibrators to vintage art, visit Des Moines' self-care boutique

Andi in front of a "wake bake, masturbate, repeat" sign
Andi Smeltzer, owner of Zhoosh in Des Moines' East Village. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

When customers first walk into Zhoosh it may look like a typical boutique store in the East Village.

  • Yes, but: Aside from the curated art and vintage furniture for sale, there is another element that gives the store a little something "extra" or "zhoosh," owner Andi Smeltzer tells Axios.

Driving the news: The store, which opened late last year, is centered on self-care, and that includes everything from pottery to self-help books to necklace vibrators to holographic joint paper.

  • "I always say it's a different kind of one-stop shop," Smeltzer says.

How it started: Smeltzer was 35 years old when she gave herself her first orgasm.

  • Smeltzer lived most of her adult life in what she describes as a constricting box. She worked a corporate job in human relations and says she was solely tied to her title as "mother," struggling to have an identity outside of it.

After having her third child, Smeltzer says she started focusing on holistic self-care. That included interior styling, cannabis and pleasuring herself.

  • "I just don't want to pretend this stuff doesn't exist," Smeltzer says. "And that's what I was doing personally — pretending I didn't have anxiety, pretending I could do it all. I'm just done with that portion of the program."

With her own journey in mind, Smeltzer started Zhoosh as a way to help other women who may be like her.

  • Whether it's beautifying their homes or learning about sexual wellness, Smeltzer wanted to create a space where women wouldn't feel judged for buying pipes or vibrators and would be comfortable asking questions.

The bottom line: Smeltzer doesn't want the store to feel aggressive or perverse — it's meant to be a little fun and a bit provocative.

  • "I'm filling my own cup," Smeltzer says.

Where to find it: 313 E 5th St., Des Moines.

The inside of Zhoosh
The inside of Zhoosh. Photo Linh Ta/Axios
Items up for sale at Zhoosh
Items for sale at Zhoosh. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios
A photo of Zhoosh's backroom, with silk robes hanging on a closet rack.
Zhoosh's backroom. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios
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