To bridge the boredom of their children in the lockdown, two Spaniards have come up with something special: tepees for home. Even world footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is a customer.
And suddenly everything stood still during the lockdown in March. The initial light euphoria due to more rest and leisure, as well as less homework, fizzled out after a few weeks and boredom began to spread. Children were underemployed, which the parents began to notice. As did Lia Camacho and Cuca Jaramillo, two mothers with Spanish roots living in Zug. At the time, their children wanted overnight stays with their friends or to invite friends to stay overnight. "This was too dangerous for us because of the pandemic, of course. And then, on one weekend, I finally allowed my son to stay with a friend," recalls Spanish fashion designer Lia Jaramillo.
Because the children had become so bored because of the curfew, Jaramillo's son asked if he could set up a tent, and camp in the living room with his friend and her sister. Jaramillo was initially sceptical, but finally allowed it: "To my surprise, I saw how much fun the children had. So Lia and I thought about whether we could offer something similar to other children." Because the two had been thinking about doing something creative together for a long time, but didn't know exactly where to start.
They taught themselves the handicraft
"After a short market research, it was clear that we would make handmade tepees, and would offer children and young people a special overnight stay with friends," says Camacho, who is a lawyer and teacher. By the time this decision was made, it was mid-May, and the DIY stores had just been allowed to re-open – and the rush for them was enormous. "At that time, we couldn't expect anyone from the hardware store to help us to assemble the wood into a tepee," recalls Lia Jaramillo, smiling. So the two friends started work by themselves. "We organised an electric drill and other tools, and turned our balcony into a workshop. The whole family helped," continues Cuca Camacho. After numerous tests and a burnt-out electric drill, tepees were available in two sizes.
"Everyone was thrilled, and we were more than sure that our business idea would work out.
Lia Camacho (right) and Cuca Jaramillo have developed tepees for overnight parties for children and teenagers during the lockdown, which they rent out decorated for various themes.
Photo: Matthias Jurt (Zug, 10 December 2020)
"We picked up curtain fabric and sewed it together with my daughter's sewing machine. Everything was a little improvised, but it worked," says Lia Camacho happily. The two women worked on their tepee business almost every day, in addition to their normal work. Finally, they took photos of the tepees set-up on the Raten for their new website and, at the end of the summer, organised a ‘tepee sleepover’ for the children of friends in Zurich, which was supposed to be the definitive test of their idea. "Everyone was thrilled and we were more than sure that our business idea would work. So we started our website "Tepees of Serendipity", at the beginning of September, continues Lia Camacho. In the meantime, they have orders for sleepover parties every weekend.
Each party is unique
"We have different motives, such as Forest, Tropical, Flowers, Pinky or Harry Potter, which are very popular. But we are also flexible, and can adapt to the wishes of our customers," says Cuca Jaramillo. Once the customer has informed them of his/her wishes, the women set up an "example party" at home and send the customer a picture. Even when the customer is happy with their idea, the two of them still drive there with two large cars full of fabrics and decorative materials, in case something needs to be adapted to the ambience of the apartment. "Every night is unique, and we leave nothing to chance," says Lia Camacho with satisfaction.
In the meantime, they offer a choice from more than 70 different fabrics, comfortable sleeping mattresses with matching bedding, and even extras such as a popcorn or cotton candy machines, balloons, beauty sets, Polaroid cameras for rent or non-alcoholic sparkling wine. The women clear everything themselves In the morning after the sleepover party.
"Georgina Rodriguez, the girlfriend of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, was thrilled and promoted our tepees on her Instagram profile"
Their business idea spread quickly through social media, and, some time ago, they even organized an sleepover party for the children of Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo in Madrid. "We couldn't believe it. That was a great honour for us. His girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez was thrilled, and promoted our tepees on her Instagram profile. We have a lot more followers since then," enthuses Cuca Jaramillo. They have even had many requests over Christmas that they could not accept, because they wanted to spend the holidays in peace with their families after this eventful year. "We are now fully booked on New Year's Eve with the New Year's Tepees created specially for this purpose."
For more information, see www.teepees.ch and firstname.lastname@example.org.