Jessica Bredbenner is the owner and founder of Tiddlywinks Boutique, a children’s clothing store in Dunmore, which also offers birthday party services. Her storefront was preceded by a Tiddlywinks camper that has allowed her to take her services to various locations. She was inspired to create the camper after seeing a mobile store parked in front of a mall while she lived in Oregon. Bredbenner is a graduate of West Scranton High School and Marywood University, where she studied marketing. She and her fiance David live in Dallas with their 3-year-old daughter.
Meet Jessica Bredbenner…
Q: Describe Tiddlywinks Boutique and the variety of services it offers.
A: It started with just the camper. My vision of this was to have something totally unique to the area and give girls this unique experience. At least 75 percent of the business is private parties, so moms will book birthday parties for their daughters. I also do public parties so moms or grandmothers can bring their daughter. We do princess-themed tea parties, and for older girls, we do what we call “makeover balls,” which are themed makeup, hair and a craft. They can dress up in as many costumes as they want, and we do fashion shows.
Q: How did you come up with the name “Tiddlywinks Boutique”?
A: I wanted something meaningful. I didn’t want to just pick a name. My grandparents were a huge influence on my life. My grandfather, who is almost 90 years old, is everything. I’m his only granddaughter. He helped me remodel the camper. I remember playing the game Tiddlywinks when I was younger. I used to play it a couple times a week when I went to my grandparents’ house. I’ve always been into vintage and old-school, retro stuff. I try to find and collect the game Tiddlywinks now.
Q: Where does your interest in sewing and making come from?
A: I’ve always been very artistic. I was never into TV and movies. I was always sitting there cutting things out, drawing and coloring as a little girl. I’ve always been the creative type. I started doing craft shows as a teenager. I guess that was the entrepreneur in me too. When I got into high school, I was very into the arts. My senior year of high school, I took a sewing class by mistake. It was a random elective that I got placed into. I just picked it up like that. I was planning to study art and thought I was going to be an art teacher or professor, but I loved making clothes throughout college. I loved the fashion industry. I did an internship for, at the time, a startup fashion magazine in New York City. I got to do Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, and I sat next to Betsey Johnson and did her show. It was a lot of fun.
Q: What is your favorite part about making clothes to be worn?
A: The creative oven and designing the clothes. In college, I always thought, “I don’t want to buy this skirt for $20 when I can make it for $5.” That’s just the bargain-hunting and business part of me. That aspect along with the creative aspect and being able to make something my own and unique.
Q: How does your own daughter inspire your clothing design ideas?
A: There are so many different styles to children’s clothing. A lot of boutiques have their own style, just like any clothing store. I try to keep things different to other boutiques out there but make them youthful, whimsical and princessey. The first dress I made for my daughter was a vintage, whimsical dress. It had princesses on it and was such a pretty fabric. I put lace and satin on it, but it was also modern so she could wear it to church too. I’m going to put her in a dress until she tells me no.
Q: If you could only make one clothing item for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
A: A dress. It’s just classic. It’s the time of times since back in the Victorian age. Styles have changed, but today, a lot of girls don’t wear dresses that often. I don’t send my daughter out in dresses everyday, but back in the ’50s, you wouldn’t be caught dead leaving the house with your kid in pants; so, definitely a dress.
Q: What influence do you hope you and your business can have on your daughter?
A: I want to show her that any of her dreams are possible, but it takes hard work and you have to keep at it. As she gets older, I want her to realize she should follow her dreams and keep her mind to it.
Q: What is the biggest message you hope to give the young girls you interact with?
A: Girl empowerment is the main thing. Coming in, being creative and feeling special is the mission. I see it so many times where the moms aren’t here and the kids just get so into it. They’re so excited when they get here because it’s something different.
Q: What other hobbies and interests do you have?
A: I did a big fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation before I opened this store. The theme was “Enchanted Winter Ball.” There were vendors, and everyone came dressed up. I like to support that organization. I am also a part of the Rising Tide Society. I just became the group leader, which was pretty exciting. There are different chapters throughout the United States. It’s entrepreneurs, business owners (and) people in the creative industry, so photographers, wedding planners and stuff like that. We have monthly meetings. Our vision is community over competition, and it’s a nice group we have.
Q: Have you had a moment or time in your life that helped shape who you are today?
A: My family has been my support system with everything. My grandfather helped raise me and watched me every day and has been my backbone and my support system since I was little. Growing up with that has shaped me to be appreciative. I didn’t come from a lot of money, so I was taught to work hard for things if I wanted them.