Up Close - Hitchin's Puppet Company: Sharing the Joy with Purpose Over Profit

By The Editor

23rd Mar 2023 | Local News

Hitchin Nub News aims to support our community, promoting shops, businesses, charities, clubs and sports groups.

We showcase some of these businesses, organisations and interesting individuals from our area displaying creativity and innovation in our regular feature called 'Up Close'.

This week we are featuring The Puppet Company.

Up Close: The Puppet Company. CREDIT: The Puppet Company

Up Close: The Puppet Company

Now in its 22nd year, The Puppet Company has been a key player in the gift and toy world, leading the way with their ethical business practices and showing the world that a values-led business can flourish, even in the most challenging of times.

The Puppet Company's HQ is based in Hitchin's Wilbury Way.

The Puppet Company launched from a kitchen table with a handmade, beautifully crafted puppet theatre made by Peter and Sue Lockey, who had left their teaching roles to create a business with joy and creative play at the heart of it.

Following the tragic loss of Peter in 2021, the business and family are building on his legacy and continuing his mission to share joy. 22 years since it first started and the family-run business is now a global success story, being taken into the future by Sue and their children - siblings Sam, Katy, Joe and Hannah together with their loyal and talented team in Hertfordshire as they share the power of puppets.

Up Close: The Puppet Company. CREDIT: The Puppet Company

What makes The Puppet Company So Special

While quality, sustainable, and affordable toys and puppets now fill several warehouses, it is the people that make The Puppet Company so special, pursuing purpose over profit.

There is a company culture built on making people happy – whether that be staff or customers. The 21 strong team in Hitchin all have a vital role to play in making sure joy is delivered to customers internationally, and a walk around the offices and warehouses, will convince anyone that there is a united vision for the business.

Marketing and Product Director, Katy Rugman, explained the key reasons the beautifully made products from both The Puppet Company and sister company, Wilberry Toys, are so special.

"The team are totally committed to ensuring that their customers – both trade and end-user – have the very best value for money," says Katy. "There is total flexibility in ordering, from a few products upwards of pallets, which has made a huge difference to their smaller, independent businesses, but has also made the brand attractive to new overseas markets as well.

"Every product is manufactured to the highest possible standards internationally, with a focus on sustainability - something they are leading the way on with their latest puppet product ranges made entirely from recycled plastic bottles."

Katy explains: "The true USP comes back to people, however, and the focus on making people smile. It may sound whimsical, but it is a focus that works, that makes a difference to those who interact with the brand, and that has enabled them to grow at an incredible rate, despite the challenging times faced over the past few years."

Up Close: The Puppet Company. CREDIT: The Puppet Company

Promoting Creative Play

The Puppet Company and Wilberry both promote creative play – the products are about children and adults alike being inspired to tell stories, to ignite their imagination and to make people smile.

In a tech-saturated world, this battery-free approach to gifting is increasingly in demand. The Puppet Company is now one of the largest suppliers of puppets in the world, so Katy believes there is no reason why they can't continue to grow the markets internationally, spreading joy as they go!

2023 is set to be a big year for the business, with some exciting new eco product launches, continued growth of some key partnerships, new market launches, global trade fairs, further product development and more.

Katy is also thrilled to have been shortlisted for this year's Gift of the Year, saying: "The Gift of the Year Awards are a huge opportunity for us to showcase our hugely popular Knitted Sockettes Puppets – a fabulous range which remain one of our bestsellers.

"The competition has such prestige in the industry, so it is a huge honour for us to be part of it again. We are exhibiting once again at the Spring Fair, so it will be great to see the judging take place on all the amazing shortlisted products while we are there. We'll also be exhibiting at the following upcoming shows, come say hello and find out what makes us different and join the wonderful world of Puppets and Wilberry Toys."

WITH THANKS TO THE GIFTWARE ASSOCIATION

Discover Wilberry Toys: https://www.wilberrytoys.com/

PREVIOUS NUB NEWS UP CLOSE FEATURES

Up Close: 'Turkish food is more than just kebabs' - Meet Lem and Ayse from Ziba on Hitchin Market Place

Up Close: The comfort of belonging and the platform to be an individual - Why I Love Hitchin

Up Close: Sun Street's Hidden Gem - 27 Street Bagels - a brilliant business in the heart of our town

Up Close: Sam's Pizza - 'The moment they announced lockdown I said I'd get a pizza oven'

Up Close: Hitchin Food Heroes - Amani Kitchen angling Hertfordshire's hunger to the wonders of Iraqi street food

Up Close: Hidden Gem - Highly-acclaimed Fox at Willian

Up Close: Susan Downie owner of Hitchin-based Mondial Travel says confidence is returning to hard hit holiday sector

Up Close: Strand PR - Hertfordshire company celebrates decade of delivering

Up Close on suicide prevention: Gemma Kirk from Herts Police mental health unit opens up on trying to stop people taking their own lives

Up Close: Hard-working Rory's Story as young achiever flies high with renowned financial experts Lyndhurst

Up Close: International Motor Racing series born in a Hitchin pub holds first race

Up Close: Q&A with courageous Ukraine refugee Alina Kurylova who now lives in Hitchin

Up Close: Taking in a refugee from Ukraine is incredibly rewarding says Hitchin host Debbie Stalkartt

Up Close: Get set for the brilliant Cider and Cheese Festival at Hitchin Town's Top Field

Up Close: You're never too old for body art - but think before you ink says talented Ela Lawrynowicz owner of acclaimed Femnink Tattoos

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Up Close: Lockdown and challenging life events tested me - but now I have Penny says Kate Peto owner of successful VW campervan wedding company

Up Close: Lyndhurst Financial Management's Joe Pritchard - A Story of Success

Up Close: Stevenage FC boss Steve Evans on loving life at Boro, Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola and so much more

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Up Close: Angels' Share owners Harpreet and Preeti's exciting new plans for Lower Stondon's Bird in Hand pub

UP CLOSE: How backpacking trip led to Lauren and Toby creating acclaimed Bite Around the World - that has now catered for Nike, Google and Just Eat

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UP CLOSE: Bim Afolami, Hitchin MP on racism, NHS, Brexit, lockdown, welfare, Marcus Rashford, Kier Starmer and much more

UP CLOSE: Fabio Vincenti, owner of Fabio's Gelato

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UP CLOSE:Hitchin Squirrel Rescue

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UP CLOSE: Flip Connect and Hitchin Town - The Perfect Match

     

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