Anna Tizard and Lydia Barron, co-founders of maternity bag brand Tiba - Marl...
Q. To what do you owe your success?
Lydia: Initially there was a true gap in the market – a gap for contemporary changing bags for parents seeking unisex designs that didn’t compromise their sartorial choices.
Practicality and fashionability was also incredibly important to the brand from the offset; the aim was to make them look nothing like traditional baby bags while having useful and well thought-out design elements. For example, all our bags are water-resistant and wipe-clean inside and out; they all include a luxury padded changing mat, insulated bottle holder, a multitude of pockets, key fobs, extra snack pockets and metal feet on the base. They also have double metal zips for easy access with one hand when holding a baby, laptop pockets and a co-ordinating wet clutch or cross-body bag for baby bits, toiletries or other stuff… with both of us coming from a design/retail background, we’re obsessed with fashion, scouring shows and blogs and keeping a keen eye on street style. This is reflected in the aesthetic of the brand.
We also love to push the boundaries of what a “baby changing bag” can be – introducing new styles, such as our bumbags and belt bags, and collaborating on other areas, like our bag stickers or our new beauty range.
Q. How has the company evolved?
Anna: We’re now in our fourth year of trading and the company has grown quicker than we would ever have anticipated. We are so grateful to our customers and supporters. This rapid growth has resulted in essential evolution like employing staff (otherwise Lydia and I would have had joint nervous breakdowns!) and moving to a bigger HQ to accommodate us all in a lovely
We now employ five members of staff as well as working alongside PR and marketing agencies and an external warehouse team, meaning we have the support to smoothly maintain the day-to-day running of the brand. This allows us to work on the creative direction, new products and collaborations. It’s a big responsibility having a team of people who rely on the brand, but it’s also emancipating at the same time, and it motivates us to ensure we continue to have success.
Q. How flexible does owning your own company allow you to be?
Lydia: We feel lucky every day that we are able to create a healthy work-life balance. The ability to make our own rules and set our own office hours has been really liberating.
As Anna mentioned, being able to grow our team, our support and our infrastructure as a business has given us the freedom to push the creativity of the brand further, spend more time gathering inspiration and still do the school run several times a week, make all the school assemblies, help on the PTA, take holidays when we want.
Obviously we work really hard, are dab hands at multi-tasking and all too familiar with working late into the night running the business, but being able to set our own hours is a truly great thing and we’re so thankful.
Q. How do you keep momentum going and stay fresh in a competitive market?
Anna: We never switch off! It’s pretty clear we have inspired other changing bag brands and seeing this always motivates us to not rest on our laurels.
Our aim was to create a brand that stands apart and is focused on modern individuals who want to retain their identity once they become parents – parents whose only consideration of a changing bag would be a T+M as it aligns with their pre-baby sartorial style. It’s our mission and ingrained in our brand DNA to always be first-to-market with trends, innovation and creativity. One area where we feel really creatively fulfilled is our brand collaborations. To date we have participated in collabs with Selfish Mother (on their charitable tees); Mamas and Papas (we created an exclusive collaboration for them that they retailed worldwide); our ongoing link-up with Selfridges; a sell-out partnership with Scamp and Dude; and our current beauty range with Honest Skincare. We LOVE working on these projects, they are real passion projects that we create to have synergy with our main range, and offer our customers the T+M experience in other product areas. We have two new collabs in the pipeline, one with a beautiful new brand called Binibamba, which creates insanely soft and beautiful sheepskin liners that are made in the UK, and the second one is still top secret – keep your eyes peeled!
Q. What’s the most fun thing about working for Tiba + Marl?
Anna: We love hanging out in the office working and being creative with our team – they are all experts in their fields, but also a lot of fun. We are all parents so we understand if one of us has had a sleepless night or if someone just wants 10 minutes of quiet! There have been loads of great opportunities working for T+M including trips to Copenhagen, Paris and Florence, where we always make sure we have time for cocktails and shopping. We’ve met loads of amazing women from going to Mothers Meeting events and being on various panels for them – always loads of fun and makes us great contacts. We’ve always tried to have a laugh and have fun, even through disasters and exhaustion!
Lydia: The travel, freedom and creativity that running T+M enables has been really fun. The fact that every week is different – we work really hard in the office one day, on a location shoot the next, or sneak off for a working lunch somewhere delicious the next. The passion and excitement of seeing the daily growth of something you built from scratch is really exhilarating. The fact that Anna and I get to share that journey – all its highs, all its lows – has been something really special, too, sharing a vision and the drive to build something bigger and better for ourselves
and our families.