Charm and Whimsy Await Customers at Tipton-Based Business
Writer / Julie Yates Photographer / Jason Graves
Enter Tinkerhouse in Tipton, and prepare to be transported to a whimsical and charming world. Formerly known as Tinker and Delight, the shop is being rebranded by owner Donna Reyne Jenkins to reflect what initially inspired her to open a store – her garden shed. The structure, named Tinkerhouse, has been featured in six national publications but is a little-known spot within the local area.
“Tinkerhouse was built 12 years ago while our family home was being restored,” Jenkins says. “It is a garden folly – a European term for a structure built to decorate a garden. It’s very small, yet two stories tall. I used it while spraying paint, potting plants, and sketching while sitting in the loft. Over time, it took on a life of its own and I named it Tinkerhouse. In 2016 it was featured in Country Living magazine and was the first ‘she shed’ that author Erika Kotite, who coined the term, ever saw.”
Jenkins has experience in staging displays and creating imaginative vignettes that catch the eye, and bring a spark of joy to those who view them. After being the creative director at a boutique and for Ethan Allen, she took a break during a busy life period, when two of her four children married and her granddaughter was born prematurely by three months. During this time she participated in events and markets, and also sold merchandise online.
“One day I went to get my hair cut and saw a building on the corner with a for-rent sign on it,” Jenkins says. “The whole time I sat there, I thought about having the shop there. God equips everyone with certain things. Forecasting trends and creating is what I do. I wanted a store that envelops you. When the door opens, you are magically transported. Everything inside is extremely curated and I own one of just about everything we sell.”
Jenkins says she opened Tinkerhouse in April of 2019 to promote a lifestyle.
“It’s for ‘her, home and child,’” she says. “Based on the feeling of a European garden, it is bold yet feminine. We encourage people to be creative and enjoy indulgences that make their home cozy and happy.”
Inside the store, a large tree adorned with tiny lights has leaves that are changed out to reflect the seasons. Displays and vignettes are also crafted to express specific holidays and times of the year. There are different nooks and spaces for the various items sold. Seeds of Creativity is an area that offers paint-by-number kits, water-color supplies, and tiny cross-stitch or embroidery samplers.
Price points for American-made artisan items range from $3 for a unicorn click pen, to around $100 for heirloom quality objects. Feminine clothes and a line of high-end pajamas are also available, as well as jewelry, fragrances, stationary goods, candles, tea, coffee and a quality candy line. There is merchandise for all areas of a home. Everything is wrapped up with seasonal ribbon and packaged when purchased.
“The little things matter just as much as the big things,” Jenkins says. “I try to find a variety so that everyone who comes in can have a piece of Tinkerhouse to take with them. Before COVID we taught classes and had events. During the shutdowns we did mask drops once a week. People donated to the drops and we were able to keep our employees. The shop girls really get it – they understand the Tinkerhouse lifestyle, so they are an important part of the business.”
Jenkins closed her shop from the end of December through the first week in March, due to serious health issues her husband was facing. She took time to pray, reflect and re-evaluate. When the store reopened, it officially became known as Tinkerhouse.
“During the period we were closed, I realized I really needed the outlet that Tinkerhouse gives me,” she says. “Everyone has some creativity in them, all in different ways. When people are exposed to and offered things to help them create, they find they can do more.”
Jenkins says those familiar with the business are dedicated to the concept.
“I have many virtual followers on social media, but not as many as actual customers who come into the store,” she says. “People enjoy our feminine dedication to family and home. Tipton is an amazing little town with wonderful stores to shop in. It is an up-and-coming destination spot. I feel Tinkerhouse adds to Tipton and brings something that was lacking. I want to offer a memorable shopping experience.”
Tinkerhouse is located at 138 South Main Street in Tipton. For more info, call 765-675-2407 or visit tinkerhouseco.com.