Penguin lover Sophie Gibson loves her cuddly toy Pici so much she made an Instagram account for him, but this soon led to a cool business idea.
Sophie has many different penguin-themed items in her Woodseats home, but her favourite is Pici - a cute and cuddly toy who has become the face of her business, Penguin Patrols -which is dedicated to the bird.
Sophie sells a selection of penguin toys, stationery, jewellery and more, sourcing items from independent UK makers and creators too.
She said: “My penguin collection started around five years ago when I asked for a penguin as a gift. I got a penguin figurine and sadly not a real penguin, but that was the start of my collection.
“I started the Instagram account for Pici and after showing someone the account they asked if I was selling penguins too. I wasn’t then, but that got me thinking, why wasn’t I?
“I don’t think anyone can deny penguin’s universal adorable-ness. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t like penguins.
“It was surprising how many people I spoke to who had a friend or family member who absolutely loved penguins, which made me put faith in the idea.”
The business was launched in November 2016, and since then Sophie has been providing unique products for fellow penguin-fanatics, not only in this country but also from China, Germany and the USA - although she admits that some find a home in her lounge.
She said: “I’m tempted to keep things for myself all the time. Although I actually think it’s affected my friends and family more, as they have to check if any penguin related presents they might have in mind for me isn’t something I already have on my site. The items I sell have almost taken over my whole house.”
Shoppers can find a whole range of perfect penguin products on her website - from necklaces and badges, to baby grows and T-Shirts, to toys and stationery sets.
After a successful first two years in business, Sophie is hoping that Penguin Patrol will continue to grow in the coming months and years.
She said: “I’d also love to get some of our items into some local shops, and create more of our own products as well.
“I’d love to work on a Penguin Patrol book following the adventures of Pici and his friends, along with our own branded product line.
“ I’ve got lots of ideas, it’s just finding the time, capital and resources to help me achieve them.”
Sophie has also recently started to sell baby gift bozes which include a UK designed babygrow, muslins, a soother and an adorable penguin toy. To browse the full range of Sophie’s penguin products, and buy online, visit her website at www.thepenguinpatrol.co.uk. You can also visit www. facebook.com/PenguinPatrolUK and www. twitter.com/PenguinPatrolUK and www.instagram.com/penguinpatrol to see more products and follow Pici’s adventures.