In need of a hobby, Ash Tuohey found she had a knack for online retail. Now, with her mum Janice on board too, her ‘baby’ Tiny Sprout is out in the real world and growing strong.

By Sue Turpie

The saying “from little things, big things grow” is very apt for Tiny Sprout. What started as a hobby for Ash Tuohey has turned into a growing business with heart and soul. Tiny Sprout specialises in unique gifts, items to wear and toys for littlies, starting as an online initiative but now having moved into a pop-up retail space at the Bendigo Marketplace.
“My husband is a farmer and farmers work 24-7,” Ash explains, “so while I was working full-time, and I still am, I wanted something extra to do. I like to be quite busy.”
Her first venture was an eBay business quite some time ago, long before it was the done-thing. It was combining this “online knack” with the need to buy gifts for lots of little ones in the family that gave Ash the idea for Tiny Sprout. As it is said, the key to business is to find a market, as well as know your market, and that is what Ash has done, and successfully too. The clothes are stylish and appropriate; clothes for children to be children in. While the accessories and gifts are too cute.
“I found it difficult to find good quality gifts and small children’s items and it prompted me to look around for a few brands,” Ash says. “They were all over the place so I thought what if I could bring them all together, and that’s how Tiny Sprout started. We had a different name originally and have since rebranded with the idea being tiny referring to the little people, and sprout because of the farm.”
It is a competitive industry but for Tiny Sprout the focus is on quality, keeping in mind what is ethical, organic, and sustainability-based and affordable, given how quickly children grow out of clothes. The responses to the products have been positive.
“We often get comments on the products, saying the feel is beautiful and the quality is amazing, which is really nice. Now we’ve been around for a while we’re getting repeat customers and people spreading the word about our products. And we have customers now who we call friends.”
Tiny Sprout has also given Ash’s mum, Janice O’Keefe, an opportunity for work. Janice was employed full-time when she was diagnosed with cancer and because of the treatment, and surgery and medication, she had to leave her position.
“It’s been timely because now I consider Tiny Sprout to be mum’s business,” Ash says. “It’s been lovely because we’ve been able to share it, and together we look at the stock and both have input. She’s a PR dream because she loves to talk. I did give her an employee of the month award,” she laughs. Having finished surgery, and with moving into a space at the Bendigo Marketplace, Janice was able to take on more work.
“It does take a lot of time and effort to do the research and work out what to stock so I’m lucky to have mum. She unpacks the stock, she checks it and prices it all… there is no way known I could do this business without her.”
Tiny Sprout is a pop-up shop at the Bendigo Marketplace, outside at the Mitchell Street end near the Handbag store. It will be there until January 2018, after then customers can still find the store online with free delivery in the Bendigo area. For further information go to www.tinysprout.com.au