Sam & Tim: Wild Tipi

15/04/2019

Sam and Tim are true entrepreneurs. They built Wild Tipi with long hours and laughter, and they’re now known for throwing the best (and by far the most picturesque) weddings and parties in Cornwall – think Poldark seascapes with live music, lanterns, a field of giant tipis, and hundreds of people dancing until the sun comes up. After writing the words for their website and becoming friends with them along the way, I wanted to ask them about what it takes to get a business like this off the ground.

Sam & Tim: Wild Tipi

“We loved some of your previous work, and we didn’t know you had done it until we spoke! It felt like one of those serendipitous moments. You have worked with all the brands we love, so to have you on board was inspirational. What we loved is that you sat and listened to our story, picked out all the phrases we use and the tone of voice we have, then wove it together to create this poetically humble copy that just sang to us and filled out hearts with joy. You have been a dream to work with and made the process so simple for us.” – Sam, Wild Tipi

Wild Tipi Setting Up

Wild Tipi rubs shoulders with some interesting startups. Many of these relationships have come from small-scale community projects or mutual respect for what the other is creating. Names like Fforest, Millican, Hiut Denim and Nancarrow Farm have all come up in conversation. However, Wild Tipi has, I believe, found their own voice and visual expression – from the poetic and highly-visual snippets of copy on the website, right down to The Land of Giants film (watch it here). This kind of awesomeness can only come from two people who have burning ideas, heaps of creativity and the willingness to trust others.

In my mind, Wild Tipi has always been more than a wedding company. They have kind people around them, and this has naturally spun into events like their secret feast nights. “The first feast night was on a clifftop with 180-degree views of the sea,” Sam explained. “We had a run of bad weather. In the morning, we had a call from the farm to say that the wind was so strong that some of the pins were lifting. Jess from the farm had to run down the field and sit on the side of the tipis until Tim rushed there in his PJs and coat to bash in more pins.” Although stressful and not financially rewarding, this was a real chance to bring people together in nature.

Wild Tipi Feast Nights

After that, they created a Christmas feast in Cardinham Woods, pulling off seven nights of fine dining and big pan parties. “When you see people relax, put away their phones, make new friends around the fire, then dance like no one is watching to a Cornish Ceilidh band – it’s just amazing.” Sam described her lasting memory of the evening: guests leaving the tipis at the end of the night and looking up at the sky in amazement. “When the last couples had gone, I drove the Land Rover across the dark field around to the front of the tipis. Mr Tambourine Man by The Byrds was playing on the radio. I sat and just watched the boats out at sea all lit up like stars. Life felt pretty incredible at that moment.”

Wild Tipi Cornish Ceilidh Band

“Cornwall really does have an entrepreneurial vibe. The air is cleaner, people are friendlier and there are people here who understand that it’s not all about the money. It’s about living happily in your environment and having respect for the community.”

I’m always curious about how businesses market themselves. I figured that Wild Tipi would find most of their bookings through word of mouth, although I know they also have a beautiful Instagram feed. Sam let me in on a few other strategies. After an aborted attempt at Google PPC and a still undecided foray into print advertising, they shifted gear. “Social media is the way forward. Brides and grooms are very visual, and social platforms are a great way to tell our story. The film also made a difference. And investing in the right people for our website.”

So, how do they unwind after hours of taking down 50kg wooden poles at the end of an event? A few beers, an open fire and a good film – naturally. “We also spend a lot of time walking with the little ones and the dogs. We always manage to recharge in nature. We live on the edge of the woods, and so getting outdoors is key to our balance.” Sam also reels off some favourite sandy spots, mostly on the Roseland peninsula where the green fields reach right down to the water. “The little ones sometimes struggle in busy environments, so we like places where we can eat outdoors like the Hidden Hut in Portscatho. We also go to see outdoor performances by the Rogue Theatre.”

Wild Tipi at Night

“Our four children are our motivation. If they see we can do it, then hopefully this will plant the seed for them to take the courage to do whatever they want.”

There was one obvious question left to ask. But I already knew the answer: “Hands down, our own wedding. We were married at St Mawes Castle and held our reception in The Lost Gardens of Heligan. We had an old canvas marquee, wildflowers on the table, an Irish band playing, and friends and family all around us. We danced until late and were the last to leave. It was perfect and completely ours.”

Wild Tipi Wedding

Speaking of weddings, there’s a big one on the horizon this summer: the marriage of Ernie and Marisa (Flowers with M). I’ll be dressed in my best and making the journey down with Aoife (The Creative Shelf)… we can’t wait to celebrate with old friends and new ones. See you there Sam & Tim. xxx

wildtipi.co.uk

Posted by: Seth Rowden

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