Letchworth mum’s handmade children’s clothing firm highlighted as part of Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday initiative

PUBLISHED: 17:21 30 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:21 30 March 2017

Ali Ribchester of Tutti Frutti Clothing in her dining room workshop at the family home in Letchworth. Photo: Courtesy of Ali Ribchester

Ali Ribchester of Tutti Frutti Clothing in her dining room workshop at the family home in Letchworth. Photo: Courtesy of Ali Ribchester

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A handmade children’s clothing business run by a Letchworth mum out of her dining room has been a winner in Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday initiative.

Ali Ribchester, who has made bright and colourful outfits under the name Tutti Frutti Clothing since early 2016, tweeted Theo about her business during the set Sunday period of 5pm to 7.30pm – and was one of the six winners who Theo highlighted in a tweet to 500,000 followers the next evening.

Ali, 34, started making the handmade clothes after despairing at what was available in the shops for her own three children.

She told the Comet: “I just didn’t like all the stuff on the high street – I really like bright colours, bold prints and that sort of thing. Clothes that are more easy to play in.

“I started making my own stuff and family and friends encouraged me to sell it. I started selling, and this year in January I started the website.”

Ali grew up wearing clothes made by her mother, who passed on the skills she is using now – making the garments in the family home, and selling at markets such as Hitchin as well as online.

She said: “It’s all run out of our dining room! We have to eat around a very small dinner table now.

“I’ve got a sewing machine and a overlocker to check all the seams are in.

“I have a big box of stuff that’s ready, and other things I make to order.”

Ali already has customers from as far off as the United States and Australia, and she thinks Theo’s Small Business Sunday tweet could give her cottage industry a very welcome boost.

She said: “I think all this is just really amazing and shows you don’t have to be a really big company with big premises. You can do it.

“It’s great that somebody like Theo looks at our website and thinks it’s something he’d like to highlight.”

If you fancy having a look at Tutti Frutti’s wares for yourself, Ali is also set to sell them at Steeple Morden’s market next month.

To find out more see tuttifrutticlothing.com or facebook.com/tuttifrutticlothing, or follow @TuttiFrutti2016 on Twitter.

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