Mandy brings dolls' dwellings to home town
A TIVERTON woman who turned her hobby of collecting dolls houses into a viable business has opened a new shop in Tiverton.
Mandy Longmire became fascinated by the houses after buying a starter kit six years ago, and within two years had opened her own business selling houses and miniature furniture and fittings for them in Marsh Barton, Exeter.
However, the Tiverton resident has taken the decision to turn her back on the city and opened Jasper's Miniatures in a premises on Angel Hill.
The business opened on January 2, and Mandy said she was delighted with the amount of interest the shop was generating.
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She said: "I get a lot of people passing by and looking at our window display."
Mandy said a large part of her business was also conducted online, with orders coming in from across the country and even from as far away as the United States and Australia.
However, Mandy said: "We don't send many items to Australia, because the postage is so expensive, but there is a lot of interest in dolls houses there because they don't have too many shops. I went to Australia last year and visited Sydney and Adelaide and looked for dolls house shops but didn't see a single one.
"It is quite a time-consuming hobby. I was working as a independent financial advisor when I first got interested in dolls houses, but when I started visiting the dolls house fairs and saw people were still spending money on items I thought it had really good potential as a business."
Mandy is well known in the close-knit world of collectors after she won a competition run by supplier Dolls' House Emporium which saw her win a model of a grand house which is on prominent display in her shop. She also featured in a Channel 4 documentary about the lives of some of Britain's self-confessed most obsessive dolls house collectors.
But she said the community of collectors was very supportive of each other. She said: "I went to the Miniatura exhibition which is held at the NEC and picked up lots of ideas from people which I will pass on to customers."
Mandy says because she lives in Tiverton she is now able to open her shop at weekends which she didn't do when she was located in Exeter. Jasper's Miniatures is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 9am-4.30pm.