The Petersen family presents delightful miniature “forest folk” which they have been handcrafting for many years.
Tiny mice, rabbits and other forest creatures are all the rage at Wee Forest Folk, a Massachusetts-based company that takes great pride in their whimsical collectibles. The founder, Annette Petersen, developed a method of sculpting originals in clay, which are then cast and handpainted. Since being discovered by retailers and eager customers, Wee Forest Folk line has remained a timeless and popular collection. The Arts Business Institute spoke with Jenny Petersen about their business.
ABI: An important contact helped you get started in wholesaling. Could you tell us about it?
JP: Forty years ago when we first started, there were actually two contacts that really put us on the map. The first was Dave Jackson who owned a miniatures store in Carmel, CA. He loved them and came out to visit us here in Massachusetts. He would bring them around to miniature shows and he sounded like a carnival barker but he sure sold a lot of mice!! The second was Jack Harris who founded a chain of stores called The Mole Hole. He set us up with a bunch of them and it really helped get us off the ground in all areas of the USA!
JP: Unlike other companies who do a yearly line, we introduce new sculptures several times a year. The Petersens are always sculpting and when they are finished a new mouse is put on the line. The advantages for our collectors is that they can count on new pieces coming out for each holiday or season and our retailers are helped along throughout the year.
JP: Along with the occasional advertisement that we put out we also take advantage of free magazine editorials that come long and we keep our website, Facebook and Pinterest pages current. We have been attending gift shows for the last few years also.
ABI: Your founder, Annette Petersen, still takes part in the business. What is her role?
JP: Annette started the business in 1972 and she still comes in to work 3 days a week. Besides making daily business decisions, she still sculpts! It takes her a little longer and her daughter, Donna helps her with certain parts but at 93 years young she still doesn’t wear glasses!