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PHILIPPA'S CONVERSION; Ex-rugby star sets up DIY workforce of women.


CAN she fix it? Yes, she can!

If you need a wall re-plastered or a kitchen refitted, ex-rugby star Philippa Tuttiett reckons she's just the woman to tackle the job.

And if she can't do it, she'll find a woman who can - without a wolf whistle or builder's bum in sight!

Philippa from Cardiff has just launched a new building company run exclusively by women for women called Female Building and Interiors (FBI).

And the 24-year-old former international, voted WRU Player of the Year 2007, is hoping her multi-tasking workforce of women can polish off those niggly jobs around the home.

Philippa said: "I formed FBI primarily because I felt women have lost confidence in the building trade. We've all seen the TV shows which expose builders who put price above quality and this has caused a building stereotype that's hard to ignore.

"But also I think women do go that little bit further with a job.

"There's a little bit of extra consideration and we take a great pride in cleanliness and communication.

"We believe in treating every project as if it were a job in our own home, completing it to a standard we would personally approve.

"For example, we protect all furniture and clean up properly. We all carry vacuum cleaners, sweeping brushes, mops and all cleaning products. We aim to ensure the house is left every evening in the same clean state it was when we arrived. Basically we feel it's vital to keep dust to a minimum, and to create as little disruption as possible."

Philippa has worked for several years in property renovation, thanks to her builder dad Robert, and says most women's hearts sink when they know there is a job to be fixed.

She said: "When I used to renovate properties, the women organising most of the work around the house would dread the work being done. They would often get conflicting advice on what needed to be done - and wading through the industry jargon was a nightmare.

"And some women who lived on their own said they felt a bit anxious about having men round to do the work, so that' when I got the idea to start up FBI."

And Philippa is hugely determined to make the company work-especially after hanging up her beloved rugby boots to concentrate solely on the building trade.

She said: "It was a really difficult decision and one that I certainly didn't take half-heartedly. Playing rugby takes a high degree of dedication and to play at the level I'd reachedI would have had to train constantly and felt I couldn't give that kind of commitment.

"I'd just worked my way up to the captainc so it's been very difficult to let it go. But the rugby has helped with my motivation and determination and I'm looking forward to a new challenge."


PHILIPPA Tuttiett's business venture follows in the footsteps of several fictional all-women businesses to have featured on TV and films over the past 40 years

Carry on Cabby

When long-suffering Peggy (Hattie Jacques) gets fed up with husband Charlie Hawkins' (Sid James) attitude to his Speedie Cabs business, she sets up an all-female rival called Glam Cabs. In true Carry On fashion the '60s dolly birds snap up all the customers.


Ageneration after Carry on Cabby, this early 1990s BBC1 drama starred Jill Baker as Patrice, a former Army officer who sets up an all-woman taxi firm.

In keeping with its gritty realism, the show dealt with the personal dilemmas of the drivers and featured a transsexual character and a lesbian couple.

The Worm That Turned

This Two Ronnies spin-off series featured not so much a business run solely by women, but the vision of a world run by women, with Diana Dors at the helm.

In this willfully daft riposte to '70s feminism, men are oppressed with women's names, dodgy frocks and having to do the housekeeping.

Intriguingly, the Ronnies - playing lead characters Janet and Betty, pictured - try to flee this feminist state for the sanctuary of "macho" Wales.


BUILDING A REPUTATION: Philippa Tuttiett hard at work and (right) in her playing days PICTURES: ANDREW DAVIES; SUCCESSFUL FOUNDATIONS: Philippa Tuttiett with colleague Philippa Skinner
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 12, 2008
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