Local artist to open store in downtown Iowa City

Allison Fretheim’s pottery has been sold at White Rabbit and Revival for two years. Now, she is taking the next big step and opening her own store curated with products from entrepreneurs around the country.


Ben Allan Smith

The Jefferson Building on Washington Street is seen during Jazz Fest on Sunday, July 2.

Kinsey Phipps, News Reporter

Functional pottery with celestial designs are the essence of Allison Fretheim’s art. She has showcased her pottery for Iowa City residents for around two years at White Rabbit and Revival, and on Saturday, she will open her own store downtown, Heim.

“Our customers love Allison’s art,” White Rabbit manager Molly Freeman said. “People frequently comment on how they want to buy every single thing she makes.”

Heim means “home” in Norwegian, Fretheim said, and it stems from her surname. Her store will feature pots, crystals, apothecary, and other pieces connected to the supernatural. Many of the brands featured are from female owners of small businesses.

Heim is mostly stocked with brands Fretheim connected with on Instagram. Her social-media platform, which she’s built over the years, helped her make connections.

“I hope that cool community transfers into real life,” she said. “Working for yourself at home can be a lonely game. I’m excited about the community aspect.”

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Fretheim’s interest in the supernatural came during a ceramics residency in Cedar Rapids. The studio she worked at was located next to a new-age shop, which she frequently visited, she said.

“I’m pretty interested in the supernatural and the more mystical aspects of our world,” she said. “Everything that I’m bringing in has that layer of purpose to it. It’s going to be a place where you come and get things if you’re working on inner-healing. I feel like medicine can come in a lot of different forms for people, whether that be through the comfort of a mug or a tea that helps you sleep easier.”

Fretheim has dreamed of having a store for a while, and a space opened up in the perfect spot at the perfect time, she said. Heim is located in the back of Beadology, with a private entrance on the alley. It was a quick jump, she said, from being a freelance artist to a business owner.

“That growth is insane. That’s such a jump,” White Rabbit employee and small-business owner Katie Gallegos said. “She’s definitely got the drive, and she is determined as heck. It takes a very specific type of person to pull that off.”

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The grand opening will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Regular hours for Heim will be Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fretheim has plans to continue building her brand. Eventually, she hopes to have a team of employees behind her with a bigger location, she said.

“I want to grow it into something bigger than just me,” she said.

Being a part of the Iowa City community is one of the most exciting aspects of being a business owner here, Fretheim said. Her husband is a UI alum, she said, and they have stayed here. Starting her freelance art career here has grown her love of Iowa City and the people in it.

“I’m excited I’m an Iowa person, and I’m bringing something cool to Iowa,” Fretheim said.