'House of Joppa' home-décor shop, Instagram account spring from convert Tabitha Kidman's love of her newfound Catholic faith
PLYMOUTH — The life that God is unfolding for Tabitha Kidman is bigger than the one she could have dreamed for herself. Kidman bubbles with gratitude, joy, and almost disbelief when she tells her story.
Kidman, a 41-year-old parishioner at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth and mother of five, converted to Catholicism in 2014 with her husband, Matt.
“We love being Catholic. We love our faith. We are constantly learning new things about it. It’s like we’re giddy about it because it’s still new to us,” Kidman said.
That appreciation for the Catholic faith has translated into an unexpected business for Kidman. In January 2019, she launched an Instagram account titled “House of Joppa” to share her passion for Catholic living.
In her first post, she introduced House of Joppa by writing, “I will share how I am making my home a ‘domestic church.’ I love making my home beautiful and I love honoring God! I hope to show and share what I’m doing to create a beautiful place to live with many touches of Catholic influence.”
She chose the name “House of Joppa” from a personal connection with Acts 9:36-43, in which a faithful disciple named Tabitha is brought back to life by St. Peter. “And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord” (Acts 9:42).
As she introduced more Catholic art, statues and devotions into her home that reflected her modern style, Kidman posted often with decorating ideas, jewelry finds, words of encouragement, and stories about her conversion.
For most of 2019, Kidman built up her Instagram with the intention and purpose of sharing the faith. That December, Kidman’s mother gave her a bracelet of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was different in style from other faith-based jewelry Kidman had seen. She liked it so much that she located the artisan and offered the bracelets to her Instagram friends to buy. She expected a few takers, but to her surprise, 120 followers said they wanted one.
Kidman quickly had to find a way to collect money and ship a large number of packages. She printed the addresses, cut them out by hand, and hauled the boxes to the post office.
The bracelets gave Kidman and her husband the inspiration to launch the House of Joppa online store in January 2020. The website says, “We exist to share the beauty of our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic faith in our homes through a variety of Catholic home decor pieces, Catholic art, saint candles, statues, paper goods and beautifully handcrafted Catholic jewelry.”
While Kidman appreciates traditional Catholic decorating, her style has always been more contemporary. She describes House of Joppa as a curated boutique-style shop, the “Anthropologie version” of traditional online Catholic shops.
Kidman’s mom was the second person to make a purchase after the online store launched. Since then, the business has taken off at a rate Kidman and her husband never expected. Today, an unfinished part of Kidman’s basement is brimming with products that ship daily. During the first week of November, House of Joppa received 300 orders.
Matt, Kidman’s husband, owns an insurance company but pitches in with the business and marketing side of House of Joppa, while she handles the day-to-day details of styling, photography, merchandising, customer service, Instagram posts and the website.
A nanny comes to the house a couple days each week to help with the children, who range in age from 1-1/2 to 11 years, while Kidman works in her office and packs orders. On the other days, “Nap time is ‘go time,’” she says.
Kidman enjoys filling orders and carefully packing each box almost as much as she enjoys taking photos or curating items from one-of-a-kind artisans to sell in her shop.
While the House of Joppa Instagram is now coupled with the online shop to feature products for sale, the Instagram account continues to serve as a way for Kidman to share the Catholic faith. She posts snippets of her family’s faith journey and new things she learns about the faith. Product shots often feature quotes from Scripture or a favorite saint.
Her children are included in the business, too. The older kids like to help fill orders. Her son, 6-year-old Grayson, recently suggested a new way to display the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a photo for Instagram. Kidman is happy to incorporate the kids’ ideas. She and her husband hope the business will be a legacy to leave for them one day.
Even though Kidman has no formal photography training, she shoots all her own images. Photos are soft and soothing with light-filled shots from around her home. For some jewelry pieces, Kidman takes photos of herself using the timer on her camera.
House of Joppa has more than 38,000 followers, including nationally known speaker and author Leah Darrow, who shared a post in September about how much she enjoys being a House of Joppa customer. This year the shop has been highlighted in gift guides by numerous podcasts, websites and publications, including CatholicMom.com, Blessed Is She, the “Abiding Together” podcast, and the National Catholic Register.
Kidman never expected House of Joppa would grow as quickly as it has, but she and Matt are excited to see what God has in store for the business. She hopes others will be inspired by her Instagram account to surround themselves with the beauty of the Catholic faith.
“Matt and I are homebodies. We love to be home with our family, and we want it to be infused with the faith,” Kidman said. “That’s what I want to convey through the shop — that we can be proud of our Catholic faith, and it is truly beautiful. We don’t have to hide it. Our faith can be out in the open for everybody to see and it can reflect our own style, whatever that style is.”