Today we have not just one mama on a mission, but two! Friends and Co-Founders Anna and Lydia joined forces when as new mums, they both struggled to find changing bags that suited their style (whilst still being functional)… Quickly realising they weren’t the only ones looking for said product, Tiba + Marl was born.
Launched in 2015, the London-based label has design, parenthood and family at it’s core. Both Anna and Lydia wanted to create a livelihood and lifestyle that allowed them as much time with their families as possible. With collective backgrounds in fashion and accessories, the duo chat to us about how it all began, motherhood and taking risks in business…
TELL US ABOUT TIBA + MARL… HOW DID IT ALL COME ABOUT?
Anna: We met during our first jobs at Miss Selfridge when I was a junior buyer and Lydia was starting out as a footwear and accessories designer. We bonded over fashion as we both have a really similar sense of style and our friendship grew from there. We became mothers at a similar time and started lamenting the lack of decent baby changing bags on the market at the time. There was nothing really cool or unisex that we felt appealed to modern parents with a more pared back, contemporary approach to style.
Lydia: There was definitely a gap in the market so we decided to go with our gut instinct and create a range that we knew our friends and contemporaries (various friends in fashion and design backgrounds, who like us had just become parents for the first time) would like, rather than creating anything similar to what existed in the market. We spent a lot of time testing the bags, and wearing them to parental events – like Mothers Meetings for example – and we found that people loved the brand and we started to get press in publications like Grazia before we even launched! We ended up with a waiting list of 1000 people before we launched, and there was such a great buzz about our brand, that we started to realise very quickly that parents were really ready for this new direction in changing bags.
WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE BRAND’S NAME?
Lydia: The brand name is a blend of initials from both of our surnames and our first children’s names. We wanted a brand name that was contemporary and strong-sounding, but at the same time meant something to us.
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
Anna: Frequently! An oat cappuccino starts my day, and I’m loathe to do anything unless I’ve had that caffeine hit (basically don’t ask me anything until I’ve drunk my coffee!!)
Lydia: I’m a flat white girl – Anna and I always start our day over a coffee in the office chatting about what’s on the to-do list for the day.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR FAMILIES…
Anna: I have two young boys, Raf is about to turn 7 and Miller is about to turn 5 – both December babies… December is an expensive month for us!! My husband James is our Art Director at T+M, so we spend a lot of time together, I think sometimes James feels he has two wives – me and Lydia!! The brand came about as Lydia and I wanted to create a livelihood for ourselves that allowed us more space and time to spend with our families, it’s taken a long time but finally we have a good life/work balance.
Lydia: I’m a Mum to Mabel (9) and Elwood (5) and my husband is called Kaspar- we’ve named bags after all our kid/ husbands so you may recognise the names from our range! Our kids have got to the stage where they recognise our brand, and love to point them out when we spot one out and about.
TOP TRICKS FOR JUGGLING MOTHERHOOD AND BUSINESS?
Anna: We are lucky now that both of our kids are at school so life is so much easier, though we’ve been there with new business and newborn babies – it ain’t pretty, but somehow we managed it (mainly because we had no other choice!).. I’m really not sure there are any amazing hacks/ tips or easy option except knuckle down and realise it doesn’t last forever. We’re now both really nostalgic about the early days with our little bubbas, but at the time we were tearing our hair out (what postpartum hair we had left!!)!
Lydia: I agree with what Anna said – it IS hard juggling motherhood and business, but it’s a time of your life that was always going to be knackering – and it really does go quickly, and gets so much easier with time.
WHAT’S YOUR MAIN SOURCE OF INSPO WHEN DESIGNING A NEW ITEM?
Lydia: Working long hours and balancing family life, we have to make sure we can find inspiration as liberally as possible, in sometimes unexpected locations – we keep our eyes peeled wherever we go and get a lot of inspiration from street style. Like anyone interested in trends and popular culture we subscribe to the usual magazines, blogs, IG accounts and keen a keen eye out for new trends, inspirations and influences.”
Anna: We both live and breath fashion so following trends – going to shows, visiting museums and cool places – is part of our daily lives anyway.
WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE FOR SOMEONE ON THE BRINK OF SETTING UP THEIR OWN BUSINESS IN THE PARENT & BABY MARKET?
Anna: Don’t be afraid to take risks! Know your brand, what it stands for and don’t be afraid to be different.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU – BUSINESS OR PERSONAL – FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR?
Anna: We are about to launch an Australian website in a few weeks which is taken a lot of focus – it’s really exciting as Australian + NZ parents have really taken our brand on board, and we’ve grown a fan base over there really organically without PR + Marketing – we think they like the Sports inspired elements of the bags, we can’t wait to launch. Maybe a trip to Australia is calling us!
Lydia: Work-wise we are pretty busy up to Christmas with photoshoots, collab meetings and working on our collection for next AW20. It’s hush hush but we have some really exciting projects on designing some new product categories and a potential high-end collaboration with a well know US company!
LASTLY, FAVOURITE T+M PIECES?
Anna: I always love our T+M x Selfridges styles, my go-to bag is the Black Mesh Elwood backpack. It goes with everything and looks really sleek.
Lydia: I’m super excited about our Eco styles that are hitting down for AW20, we’ve been working on them for absolutely ages and it’s been in the forefront of our brand values for a long time now to be more environmentally friendly.
GO TO: tibaandmarl.com
Inspiration/Image Credits: tibaandmarl.com