Photography by Bethany fritz, maypole studios Photography
Can two friends start a business over a cup of coffee? That’s exactly how the Pocket Poppet was born: in a coffee shop here in Williams Bay.
lastAugust,HelenTylerandKaren Krolow met for coffee and conver- sation at Tickled Pink Coffee Shop
and Bistro in Williams Bay. Karen had been out to dinner the night before and was tell- ing Helen how she had been so cold in the air-conditioned restaurant that she couldn’t enjoy her dinner. Helen agreed that she often had the same experience, and for that reason kept a small sweater in her purse. She pulled the sweater from her purse, wrinkled and smudged.
“Someone should invent a sweater that stays neat and clean in your purse,” she commented. There was a pause as the two women considered that statement.
A serious plan began to unfold in the fol- lowing weeks as both Helen and Karen continued to think about the idea. After further discussion, Helen cut a pouch from shower curtain fabric and attached it to the inside of an old cardigan with safety pins. Karen, proficient with a sewing machine, created a sample sweater to take to a pat- ent attorney.
The patent attorney understood the inven- tion immediately, remarking that his wife would want one in every color, as he had purchased wraps for her on more than one occasion while traveling or out to dinner.
The result is the Pocket Poppet, an open drape front cardigan that folds into a self- attached pouch (patent pending) for storage while on the go.
The pouch is water-repellent and tear-proof, and features a small credit card/ID pocket with a wrist strap for carrying. When the cardigan is tucked inside the pouch, it is compact enough to fit inside handbags, lug- gage, or glove boxes.
“We knew from our own experiences that an item like this didn’t exist on the market,” says Helen. “Also, any product out there that was compact enough to travel with wasn’t comfortable or appropriate to wear while traveling or dining in a nice restaurant.”
The cardigans come in sizes ranging from extra-small to extra-large, and in two styles: The Classic Poppet and The Lotus Poppet. The Classic Poppet, made for all occa- sions, is made of soft, high quality rayon and spandex for easy wrinkle release. It is available in six colors: black noir, sap- phire blue, rich plum, red wine, au naturel and heather grey. The Lotus Poppet, perfect for the yoga studio or gym, is made of a bamboo rayon, cotton, and spandex blend, and comes in two colors: soft black and charcoal. Bamboo has natural wicking properties and is partially antimicrobial, two attributes that are ideal for humid cli- mates and changes in temperature.
The pouch on both styles falls in the small of the back and cannot be detected while the cardigan is being worn. Although the Pocket Poppet may wrinkle somewhat when packed, the wrinkles fall out relatively easily with body heat. The style is multi-func- tional: it can be worn during the day with a casual outfit or dressed up for a night out.
The Pocket Poppet is manufactured in Chi- cago. “It was important to us to have our products produced in the U.S. so we could not only maintain the highest level of quality and timely turnaround, but also support the American market, even if it meant a lower profit margin,” says Karen.
The two women are excited about the product’s launch, and grateful for the local support they have received during the devel- opment process. Helen, originally from the U.K., has lived in the area for more than 25 years and recently moved to Chicago. Karen grew up in Genoa City, is a Badger High School graduate, and has lived in Williams Bay for the past nine years after spending time in Angola, Africa.
The public is invited to the Pocket Pop- pet’s launch party on Wednesday, June 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Café Calamari in Wil- liams Bay. A cash bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be available. RSVPs are required by contacting Helen at 262- 949-9027 or sending an email to Helen@ thepoppet.com. The Pocket Poppet will be available at a Special Launch Party price of $69 or two for $130.
Beginning June 10, Pocket Poppets will be available online at www.thepocketpoppet. com. The cost is $99 plus tax and shipping. Check the website or Facebook page (The Pocket Poppet) for local trunk shows and retail locations.