INDIANAPOLIS — What's something that can make both a child and a 60-year-old feel confident? A tutu.
No one knows this more than Tanesha Triplett, the owner and stylist behind "Tutus by TT." An online, custom-ordering store that all started with the mission to help young girls feel more confident.
"I don't know if you ever put a tutu on before, but it was like the best feeling ever," 30-year-old Triplett said, laughing.
Soon after making her first few tutu sales, Triplett realized a tutu was not just a self-esteem booster for children but also for grown women.
"I felt like it was just something amazing for young girls. And then it expanded to adults wanting tutus," Triplett said.
"I have done tutus for newborns and my oldest customer was 60 years old (ordering a tutu) for her 60th birthday. So, there's no age limit or size limit — I do it for everyone."
Ballet fashion is nothing new.
From Sarah Jessica Parker's iconic fit in the opening of Sex and the City to the 2018 tulle skirt trend that took over magazines — tutus have always made it into the limelight.
Triplett knew this was a consistent fad that kept popping up back in 2017 when she wanted to make "something special" for the many young people in her life.
One day at home, sick from work, Triplett decided to learn how to make the tulle-layered skirts herself.
"I watched YouTube videos, and I just tried different methods that I kind of wanted to do myself," Triplett said. "I do a lot of different custom designs — different colors, different lifts, the half tutu trains — so just a bunch of different designs."
The need for tutu makers was an avenue that even Triplett admits she didn't know needed to be filled. It was a need that quickly grew to her having a thriving business almost overnight.
"I started just thinking that it would be like family and friends, and one day I posted online, and a co-worker asked 'can I place an order?' and it went from there," Triplett said, smiling.
Since then, the self-taught tutu-maker has made tutus for birthdays, breast cancer walks, modeling events, and several other special occasions.
"It has been amazing. It's more than I would've ever imagined," Triplett said. "I always had the urge to work for myself. It seemed like every job that I had, it was like 'This is not it; This is not fulfilling my passion; This is not enough.'"
Now, Triplett is self-employed, constructing custom-made tutus full-time. Recently, she's expanded her business to include several other fashionable items.
"I just expanded to having everything girly that you would ever need," Triplett said, laughing.
"The crazy part is I'm not that girly!" Triplett said of her own youth and how she sees herself now. "I love to dress other people up, but I'm not like the girliest girl."
Triplett says that even in the pandemic, orders have not slowed down. At this time, according to her, people are still ordering tutus, but the big seller is custom t's.
"At first, when everyone was a little scared still, it slowed down. I would say for maybe two weeks, and then it continued," Triplett recalled. "People still wanted t-shirts. And I'm like, 'but where are you guys going to be wearing these t-shirts? But OK!'"
Even though t-shirt orders are the highest seller right now, Triplett says the tutu orders keep coming in because at the end of the day, "little girls' birthdays don't stop."
Although her business has soared since she started in 2017, Triplett hasn't let her original mission slip from her mind.
As she's added more fashion items to her docket of custom-ordering, she's also instituted a "Tutu Amazing Girl of the Month." Which is currently her 9-year-old niece, Kyleigh Williams — Triplett's resident model.
"I want to get more into mentoring young girls. So, I'm trying to implement something where it shines a light on girls that do amazing things within the community or achievements at school just to ... inspire them to keep going," Triplett said.
According to Triplett, mentoring and giving back comes naturally to her. Being of service is something she says her father instilled in her when she was growing up. He's been a mentor to young men and people with disabilities in the Indianapolis community for over 20 years.
"It was very inspiring for me. So, I said, 'you got the guys, let me handle the girls,'" Triplett said.
She didn't see her business thriving as much as it has, but Triplett is already looking forward to furthering her professional footprint in Indianapolis.
"My goal is to have a store," she said. "I just want a store with everything girly in it. And I want Tutus by TT to turn into a full mentoring program."
All things pink, fluffy, and special to you can be custom-ordered from Triplett at tutusbytt.com. There, you can learn more about becoming a Tutu Amazing Girl of the Month, as well.