Nice and nostalgic
Laura Cartledge meets the mother and daughter who have been on a caravan adventure with a difference.
Like with everything, when it comes to weddings there are trends that come and go.
From ball gowns to bohemian dresses, church ceremonies to outdoor blessings and sit down dinners to barbecue feasts, the rule book is being rewritten.
Vintage has been a particularly popular buzzword in recent years, with mother and daughter team Lisa and Nikki Neville believing it is more than just a phase.
“We think the elegance and classic feel of vintage is here to stay. Nostalgia is very powerful. People feel comfortable with things they remember,” explains Nikki.
The duo is so confident they have built this into their new Chichester-based business venture, along with another longstanding passion.
“We have always been foodies attending food festivals, trying different cuisine and always stopping off at the nearest ice cream van,” Nikki confesses. “We love the feel of food festivals and wanted to be a part of it.”
A chance encounter with a forgotten caravan in an old man’s garden proved to be the spark needed to give the concept legs.
The owner revealed how he used to holiday in her every year with his wife, and how he was too sad to go it alone, but wished ‘her’, aka the caravan, could still have adventures.
“He has not seen her but we are confident he would be very pleased,” Nikki enthuses, “she has been given a new lease of life and so many people get to enjoy her.”
Tiffany the Vintage Caravan was born, after a makeover in the 1970s spirit, in January 2015 to offer a quirky take on the popular pop-up photobooth, sweet shop and there are plans for a mobile bar option.
Since then the fleet has expanded to include Ida the ice-cream van, Rosie the ice-cream bike and Dolly a smaller caravan.
All of this shows the pair have hit the ground running. So has the response surprised them?
“Not at all,” admits Nikki. “Who would have a boring old white automated box photo booth when you can have the beautiful Tiffany with two lovely vintage clad ladies to give you a personal service and interact with your guests?
“In terms of popularity it is quite equally divided between the photo booth in Tiffany and ice cream in Ida at the moment, although we are both now licensed personal bar license holders and will shortly be providing a mobile bar service in both vehicles,” reveals Nikki.
“I can see a day when this might take over as the busiest service that we provide.”
The success so far is down to a great sense of vision, an awful lot of restoration and great team work.
“We try to divide things as equally as we can, although if one of us is busy with something else the other one takes over,” Nikki says.
“It’s a mum/daughter thing. I don’t think it would work as well if we were strangers.”
Offering a personal service is what the Neville’s really pride themselves on and as such their favourite part is getting cards from customers saying ‘how we helped make their day’.
“We both love serving ice cream as it really puts a smile on customer’s faces when you are handing it over to them,” she adds.
“We are, at present, perfecting our own home mixed ice cream and plan to offer freshly mixed fruit flavours as well as old favorites such as rum and raisin, cherry brandy etc.”
The future also sees The Goodwood Revival on the ‘dream locations’ list after a booking clash meant Tiffany and co couldn’t make it last year.
“Plus we have a few new innovative things up our sleeves which I can’t talk about yet,” Nikki teases, “Watch this space…”
Tiffany the vintage caravan
Dolly the caravan
Ida the ice cream van
Rosie the ice cream bike
To come – mobile cocktail/Prosecco/Pimms/mixed bar and Pimms bike.
Not just for weddings
Birthdays, christenings, proms, end of school year parties and family gatherings are all events the fleet can be hired for, along with corporate events or as a media/ photographic prop.
Recent events have included the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum and the Vintage and Steam Festival.
Nikki and Lisa cover events in Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Kent and Essex. To find out more, visit www.tiffanythevintagecaravan.co.uk
Pictures: Bruce Neville Photography