Peepul – An Interview with Kate
We all love the beautiful, ever evolving Peepul range.
I was delighted to be able to have a chat with owner and creative force behind the brand, Kate.
Thanks to Kate for giving her time so we can learn more about her fabulous business!
How and when was Peepul started and what was your inspiration behind it?
Peepul started towards the end of 2017 so we’ve been going for just over two years now. It started as a hobby – my little boy wanted an extra pirate for his pirate ship, so I bought some blank peg dolls and made him one. After that, it quickly became an addiction and within a couple of months, I started the business as a hobby alongside my job in publishing. The name comes from the way my son George, who was almost two at the time, pronounced ‘people’. Whenever he would see the peg dolls he would point and say “peeeeepul!”. I started out selling at craft fairs and via Etsy, but within six months I was able to leave my job and make Peepul a full-time enterprise.
Various family members have come on board as the business has grown – my mum paints, my dad does a lot of the sanding and finishing, and my husband Jon helps with everything, from basic painting and sealing to packing and admin. We’ve also just taken on an extra pair of hands to help with customer service, admin and social media. I create all the designs for Peepul myself, and I paint all the details myself – every tiny little eye and rosy cheek, every flower, moon, raincloud and sunshine is painted by me. Peepul are very much handmade and not mass produced.
Do you have a background in art or craft?
I’ve always been creative but it has always been a hobby – from drawing and painting to knitting and sewing. Before Peepul became a full-time job, I worked as an editor for an academic publisher, after spending ten years in newspaper journalism, as a crime reporter and later as a sub-editor and news editor. Creating toys for a living is a huge change but it allows me to be flexible with our little boy, who’s now almost four, and to fit in with my husband’s career in the RAF. It’s also hugely enjoyable!
What themes have you used so far in your painting of them?
I love to make Peepul which help young children to learn and spark conversation about the world around them – so much of the range focuses on weather, seasons, moon phases, and other elements of the world around us and our daily routines. They can be used in perpetual calendars or seasonal displays but they can also be played with and turned into any character the child wants them to be.
We’ve had a huge range of different themes and designs over the past two years – peg dolls are so versatile they can be virtually anything. But as the business has grown, we’ve slimmed the range down and found our focus in the natural world. The range of Flower Peepul we’ve made for Babipur have been particularly enjoyable to make and seem to be as popular with parents as they are with children.
What would you like the Babipur customers to know about Peepul?
We have gone to great lengths to make sure that our products and our business are environmentally friendly, ethical and sustainable. Our peg dolls are made using sycamore and ash which is grown right here in the UK, processed by a timber merchant down the road from us in Wiltshire and turned in Oxfordshire. We use UK-made eco-friendly clay-based paints, which contain no oil or plastics, and we seal everything with a blend of plant oils and waxes. All of our packaging is recycled and recyclable too.
What’s next for Peepul? (if you’re able to say)
Creating new designs is one of the most enjoyable parts of the business so we have lots of new Peepul planned for 2020. We also have some beautiful sycamore blocks which combine to create a perpetual calendar to use with our Peepul sets, which we are hoping to start selling through retailers later this year. Watch this space!
You can check out Peepul on Babipur >here<
Our dedicated Customer Service Team are ready to answer any queries that you have.
You can read more of Jo’s articles on https://freshbreadandfaith.wordpress.com