Small-business owner and southwest-area resident Jamie Bennett has always had a creative and entrepreneurial spirit.
Her mother, Pegge Stutzman, said her daughter’s first business venture was selling hair accessories to her peers at Bonanza High School. Bennett’s true passion, however, has always been party planning.
Bennett hosts elaborate birthday parties for her two children. Last year, she had an “Alice In Wonderland”-themed party for her daughter Beau. While she was planning the party, Bennett had a hard time find the decorations she had envisioned in her mind.
As a crafty person , Bennett decided to make the decorations on her own and transformed her house into a wonderland complete with singing flowers, horn ducks decorations, the Red Queen’s croquet set complete with hedgehogs, white rabbit party favors, and centerpieces made from vintage tea pots, cups and saucers, stacked together Mad Hatter-style.
After the party was over, Bennett was left with many wonderland decorations and did not want to keep them all.
“I thought if I could not find this stuff myself, there’s probably other people like me that are doing this (party) theme that can’t find what they are looking for,” Bennett said.
Bennett went down a rabbit hole, so to speak, and opened her online business store, Mad In Wonderland, last year on etsy.com, using the leftover decorations from the party. She said that unlike her previous online stores, where she sold jewelry and hair accessories, Mad In Wonderland quickly developed a following, and orders started to come in sooner.
She thinks the success was due to how specific and unique her online store is.
“What I realized is that people were finding this shop so much easier … because there truly was a desire and a need for these things,” Bennett said. “If I had found my shop when I was doing Beau’s party, I would have been thrilled because I would have found so much I needed in one place.”
All of Bennett’s wonderland-themed products are handmade and designed by her. She also makes custom orders to accommodate a customer’s personal style and taste. Most of the materials for her Mad Hatter tea sets come from antique shops, thrift stores and garage sales. She said she rewatches the movie with her kids to come up with new product ideas.
Bennett said that while her shop targets a specific fandom, she also keeps the look of her products universal to fit the customer’s needs. Some of her customers have used her products for bridal showers and simple tea parties.
Friend Molly Mecka cannot think of a more perfect job for Bennett.
“I think, to her, it doesn’t feel like a job,” Mecka said. “It’s something that she loves, not something dreaded on her to-do list. I can see that she gets pure excitement and joy from her work.”
Products average from around $10 to $60. Visit madinwonderland.etsy.com.
Mad In Wonderland