May 17, 2021

Why I love marketing Powwow Designer Teepees

First photo shoot of teepees in south africa in 2014

When a friend and I started this business in 2014 we were really just messing around. We only sold four teepees that year.

In 2015, mainly due to our page on Jozikids did we start selling more teepees – in the region of 20 in the first six months.

Powwow teepees first play tents in 2014
These were our very first teepees we made way back in 2014
gender neutral teepees and play tents
Moving forward into 2021 and our teepees and play tents have sleeker lines and are gender neutral too, in many instances.

I met Jacques de Villiers in the latter half of 2015, and he said he’d help me set up a website to marketing Powwow Designer Teepees.

I wasn’t convinced and thought we could still sell the teepees on Facebook and Instagram and Jozikids. Also, building a website sounded complicated.

When he started talking ‘Geek’ to me: URL, SEO, alt text, html and the like, I was less than interested.

He convinced me to give him a shot, so I did. I have to admit that it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Our first photo shoot. The feature photo at the top of this post is also part of that photo shoot.

As a consequence of Jacques’s marketing guidance, Powwow Teepees has sold more than a 1000 teepees and play tents to date. Our teepees have been requested by customers from the United Kingdom, United States, Dubai, Italy, Botswana, Zambia and France.

Jacques de Villiers marketing Powwow Teepees and Play Tents
Jacques and the late Ruby.

The main reason I love marketing Powwow teepees is two-fold:

  • More than a 1000 children have received an amazingly joyful and inspired gift.
  • We’ve even managed to create two jobs.

I used to cut and sew all my own teepees but eventually it got to be too much for me to handle on my own.

I found two angels in the form of master sewer, Harrold and a pattern cutter, Ronnie. Without them I simply would have collapsed. I’m so proud of them and that Powwow teepees could create two more jobs in this harsh and unforgiving environment that we find ourselves in.

Harrold teepee sewing and play tent sewing
Harrold – Master Sewer
Ronnie, teepee cutter and play tent cutter
Ronnie – Pattern Cutter

Seeing what a difference Powwow made in Harrold and Ronnie’s lives made me an even more #buylocal evangelist.

I’m not a fan of the cheap Chinese teepee imports that are stocked by some of the larger department stores. I think you can get a teepee for R500.

With travel to fetch fabric, buying proper wooden poles (the cheap imports have plastic poles and are subpar quality) and paying wages, I make a small profit. My teepees are just over R1000.

How anyone can make them for R500 a teepee and ship them to South Africa is beyond me? My costs are way more than that. One can only wonder how they do it. I shudder to think about the short cuts taken to bring it in at that price.

I’m happy to sell fewer teepees because I’m at peace with the fact that we’re 100% local and that we are in a small way making a difference … one teepee at a time.

Did I say that I’m a fan of marketing? I can’t say it enough.