Hi, we are Libor & Petra and are the Husband and wife team behind Pepino Puppets. We live in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire with our teenage son, Josef, our seven year old daughter, Rosie and our terrier cross Poppy.
The Birth of Pepino Puppets
The idea of Pepino Puppets was born many years ago, whilst living in a flat in London with our son, Josef. Like many little boys, Josef was desperate for his own pet dog but sadly, we didn’t have the space. A toy pup would have to suffice for the time being. After failing to find a suitable companion out of all the soft dog toys on the high street and online, we decided to create our own. And following careful thought and experimentation, we created our first puppet- Pepino the sausage dog, which is now our most popular selling puppet to date. We have since gone on to expand our puppet family to include cows, unicorns, sheep and penguins. We have sold more than 500 puppets so far within 2 years of trading.
- Dimensions Example - Horse (dimension are approximate):32cm x 52cm with strings (inch 12.5x20.5) 32cmx 28cm without strings (inch 12.5x11)
What makes Pepino Puppets so special
Our puppets are completely handmade from the wooden feet to the hand-stitched detailing. When we apply the final finish to the face, the puppet comes to life with it’s own unique personality. We take time to select high quality cotton or velvet for the body, thick wool for the hair, manes and tails and wood for the hooves and paws. The puppets hang from a hand cut wooden bar which allows them to be played with like a traditional marionette puppet, but this can easily detached by unlooping the short cords from the buttons on the body. This makes the puppets multi-functional and ideal for play as a soft toy or a puppet. They are suitable for children from three years old to one hundred. The puppets each have their own name and are delivered with a short story to help inspire your child’s imaginative play.
We’re becoming increasingly aware of the impact single use plastics has on our planet, therefore we feel proud that we’re creating a product that supports the increasing consumer trend towards buying small and local and plastic free! We pride ourselves on creating toys that show awareness for the environment by using mainly natural materials and partly recycled components.
Our puppets have been tested to check they meet toy safety guidelines according to Toy safety Directive 2009/48/EC.
What one of our customer says:
"Unicorn Grace was ADORED by my little three year old daughter at Christmas. Pepino's puppets are so well made, and so unique. I know this will be a gift that will be treasured and loved by her for always. Thank you for creating such a beautiful puppet for us! x" (Etsy, 29.12.2019)
How we envisage Pepino Puppets growing
We have been sketching out designs for two exciting new products that we would like to add to our range.
We are keen to launch an easy assemble wooden puppet theatre, which will be sold with a set of our puppets. This will come completely decorated and with an original story. We are looking to collaborate with a local joiner to discuss how we could bring the dream of our perfect puppet stage to life.
We imagine a well structured wooden puppet theatre that will be big enough to allow interaction between our puppets. It will be constructed of a wooden base and four supporting columns from where the decorative velvet curtain will hang. The theatre surround could be finished in bright colours or can remain in natural wood. We would also like to include three flat, hand painted themes which will slot into the stage to help set the scene for different parts of the story. We will endeavour to use non-toxic and eco-friendly sourced wood, paints and fabric. The stage will come as an unassembled flatpack with assembly instructions included in a firm and well-constructed box displaying our branding. This box could then be utilised as a storage box for unassembled theatre pieces when not in use.
We’ve seen how much joy our puppets bring our young customers, and would love to extend the Pepino love to an even smaller audience. Unique and plastic free, our beautiful handmade wooden mobile with miniature hanging Pepino toys is the perfect accessory for every baby nursery. The possibilities are endless for a whole new range of little animals to delight both parent and child.
We have 3 kinds of nursery mobile design in mind.
We’d love to expand on our current success
We are currently selling our puppets in two prestigious shops locally to us in Hertfordshire. Ashridge Estate National Trust shop and Home and Colonial in Berkhamsted. We also have been selling very successfully in our shop in Scotland for 18 months, in addition to our online Etsy shop where we’ve been receiving orders from far flung countries including America, Canada, Brazil, Columbia, as well as Europe and the UK.
- Images from top: Imagine Shop, Elgin, Scotland / Home & Colonial Shop, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire / Potten End Village Shop, Christmas Market 1.12.2019
As a couple, we have been working incredibly hard over the last couple of years. demand for our puppets has really peaked over the last month and it is now becoming more difficult for us to fulfil demand with only four hands between us! We’re keen to retain the high level of quality in our product and service, but realise we need some help. We are looking to recruit a dedicated team and are keen to employ those who may find it difficult finding employment. They may have a disability for example or may be stay at home Mothers or Fathers that are looking for work that fits in with school drop and pick ups. All we require is someone with the patience, a steady hand and a good eye for a polished finish. With our Crowdfunding venture, we hope to provide them with the tools and materials, as well as one to one training to give them the skills to create part or whole puppets to a high quality finish. Our hope is that this will help increase their confidence and help build their self-esteem. Crafting is also a very mindful activity which is very good for our mental well-being, it has been proven that creating together makes it an even more powerful activity. We are currently liaising with some local organisations who work with people with disabilities. We could employ someone fairly quickly once we have the funds in place to purchase tools.
During the upcoming year we aim and hope to attend these events and more.
- Living Crafts 7th-10th May 2020, Hatfield House
- Childwickburry Arts Fair, 3rd- 5th July 2020
- Blenheim Palace Christmas Market
- PopUp Bazaar, Christmas Market, Town Hall, Berkhamsted
We are currently looking for shops in these locations:
Bath, Bakewell (Peak District), Bournemouth, Bourton on the water, Broadway (Cotswolds), Brighton, Cambridge, Canterbury, Corfe, Dublin, Edinburgh, Ely, Guildford, Harpenden, Hitchin, Jersey, Marlow, Rye, St Albans, St Ives, Windsor, York
Our hopes and dreams for Pepino Puppets
In the future, we would like to create an inviting and creative workshop space locally, which will encourage a relaxed culture of working beside one another with our tools and sharing ideas. The benefit of having the space to work on separate parts of the puppets, means we can work in a more ordered and efficient fashion. This space will not only benefit the process of puppet making but also help boost the well-being of the team, encouraging camaraderie and a sense of a shared goal.
Why do we need your support through Crowdfunding
We’re planning to use the funds raised to create prototypes and the first run of new product lines, as well as printing costs involved in creating new packaging. We would like to launch our new products through specific marketing, therefore there will be costs involved in promotion. We will also be looking for opportunities where we can buy our starter materials for a better cost, as well as focusing on new areas to launch our products.
Hopefully you will see from reading about our project, just how passionate we are about building on the ongoing success of Pepino Puppets and moving it forward in a way that reflects our values and love for our community.
We hope you will support our crowdfunding goal and also kindly invite you to spread the word by sharing news of our project with friends, family and online.
Thank you so much,
Libor & Petra from Pepino Puppets xxx