These days more and more of us seem to be starting our own businesses or turning to freelance work. But one company, which has recently set up a branch in Shotley Bridge, near Consett, has a somewhat quirky feel. Just For Tiny People (JFTP), represented in this area by ‘business fairy’ Dana Wilson, specialises in producing handmade tepees, children’s dens, canopies, fairy doors and a range of specialist cushions, glittery dresses and other ‘magical’ accessories.
Dana was looking on the JFTP website for a tepee for her young daughter when she discovered something called ‘business in a box’, a package that enabled her to run her own business as a JFTP representative. Dana says her new role “has changed my life. Not only do I get to sell products I love, I get to be my own boss and work around my other unmagical job as a sales administrator as well as a mummy/slave to my daughter.”
JFTP was started by Effie Moss. Effie says that making her first tepee “took eight weeks of sewing. I wasted twenty metres of fabric and spent weeks designing and redesigning my tepee pattern. Finally my pretty pink tepee stood tall and became the home to my little girl who ate her breakfast, lunch and dinner in there – I had a hit!”
Effie decided to post a pic of her tepee on Facebook. What happened next surprised her. “Within one week we had 1000 followers. Twenty-nine months on, we have 190,000 believers, reaching 2.5 million big people a week.” There also came a successful appearance on the BBC business show Dragons’ Den.
Effie says, “With beautiful fabrics to choose from, each tepee is individually stitched and made with love and care. Everybody has the option to customise the design and the attention to detail has been commended by many of our amazing customers. We pride ourselves in creating 100% British handmade products. Our JFTP sewing fairies are hiding away throughout the UK, busy creating magical products for your tiny people.”
In Effie’s world, ‘tiny people’ are kids, ‘big people’ adults. Effie hopes her tepees will give “your tiny people the ultimate luxurious, magical hideaway. Lots of laughter and a sprinkle of happiness and magical dust are all included. Don’t forget a big person can fit inside too.”
Dana has recently found some shop space on the premises of Cathedral Upholstery, in Shotley. Her first event was at Dalton Park Shopping Centre, which Dana says was “a great success. I had a lot of interest and met some lovely people.” Dana adds, “I’ve done a few fairs and events now and have plenty more coming up. Tepees are our best sellers; they’re becoming hugely popular and are great for all ages up to early teens.”
Anybody interested in JFTP can visit Dana’s website (www.jftpbusinessfairy.com/danawilson) or her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/jftpdanawilson). Whatever happens next with her business, Dana has certainly brought a quirky sparkle to the north of County Durham.