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The benefits of the Starter Company Plus Program from a local business perspective with King and Tupper

For Dean and Amy Howley, creating King and Tupper was as much a business opportunity as it was a chance to expand their creative abilities. Inspired by their son Dawson, Dean and Amy wanted to create a line of wooden children’s toys made of durable, high-quality, and sustainable materials.

“King and Tupper started when I decided to put my woodworking passion to good use and build some new toys for my son, Dawson,” says Dean. “I wanted to create toys that were beautiful, fun, engaging, age-appropriate, and most importantly, stood the test of time and were sustainable.”

King and Tupper’s line of handcrafted wooden toys and children’s decor is inspired by the Montessori method of education and are made with supplies from local vendors. For Dean and Amy, creating King and Tupper is as much a labour of love for Dawson as it is a business for their family. 

As Dean explains, “I’m a professor, and Amy is a paramedic. We were looking for an outlet for our creativity, and when the pandemic hit, we used our extra free time to really expand King and Tupper into a retail business. This is a business that we are both very passionate about, and that partnership is really what makes King and Tupper work for us and our family.”

Based in Millbrook, Ontario, Dean and Amy took advantage of Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development’s Starter Company Plus program to learn more about successfully running a business. Despite having a background in business himself, Dean found the first-hand learnings of Starter Company Plus invaluable. For him, setting tangible goals and defining milestones for his business was a great way to see a roadmap of the next few years ahead. 

Learning about running a business through the different perspectives of local business owners was an invaluable learning experience for us,” says Dean. “We were able to take these perspectives and apply them to our own business right out of the gate.

When asked about the essential elements of the Starter Company Plus program, Dean was adamant that the networking combined with the learning opportunities truly makes the program different. 

We were so impressed with the camaraderie and networking opportunities that the Starter Company Plus program presented us,” says Dean. “There were 13 entrepreneurs completing the program with us, and we still keep in touch with them to this day. It is so inspiring to watch our fellow business owners grow, flourish and find success in their businesses.”

Recently celebrating their one-year business anniversary, Dean and Amy are looking forward to expanding their product line, focusing on their family, and evolving their business beyond the times of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We have a great range of products that have resonated with many families in our area,” explains Dean. “As we move forward into year 2, we are excited to announce new products and continue to expand our work. With the support of the Peterborough community and the Starter Company Plus program, we feel ready to take on the challenge of growing our business.”
For more information on King and Tupper, including links to products, follow them on Instagram @kingandtupper or visit their website at kingandtupper.ca

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