ANNA TIZARD AND LYDIA BARRON
British changing bag brand Tiba + Marl was launched by Anna Tizard and Lydia Barron in 2015. Anna was previously a Bag Buyer for Urban Outfitters and Topshop, and Lydia worked as an Accessories designer for Kurt Geiger and Sigerson Morrison. When the pair became mothers, they realised there was an opportunity to disrupt the staid tradition of baby changing bags by combining contemporary shapes, modern graphic prints, premium and high-tech materials with stylish and practical design details. Inspired by catwalk trends and street-style, their award-winning collection is known as the cult accessories brand for cool, modern parents who are seeking unisex designs that don’t compromise their sartorial choices.
Lydia: “The fact that they don’t look anything like traditional baby bags is one of the most impactful things about our brand. The unisex element is incredibly important to us and woven into our brand DNA. It was one of our key objectives when we came up with the idea for the brand. We wanted to create bags that considered the increasing role that Dads are having in their young children’s lives, along with offering multiple styles that could be used by both parents seamlessly. One of the key things we noticed when we launched is that Dads were simply not catered for – we wanted to change that.”
Read our interview with Anna and Lydia below.
THE UNISEX ELEMENT IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO US AND WOVEN INTO OUR BRAND DNA. IT WAS ONE OF OUR KEY OBJECTIVES WHEN WE CAME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THE BRAND.
HOW DID TIBA + MARL FIRST COME TO LIFE?
We spent a lot of time researching the market, and considering why there was a blind spot for contemporary, fashion-inspired changing bags. 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 trialling 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!
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME AND WHAT IS THE IDEA BEHIND IT?
Anna: “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.”
WHERE DOES THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR COLLECTION COME FROM?
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.”
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER AND DESIGNING FOR KIDS?
Lydia: “We have such a shared love of our brand vision which means most of the time things come naturally and we both like each others’ ideas! We love working collaboratively together on every aspect of the business, from the design process and discussing new trends and ideas for shoots and lookbooks etc. It’s so great to have someone you get on with really well to be able to bounce ideas around with. Working in the childrenswear/parenting sector is unique as it’s a constantly revolving market meaning we have the opportunity to repeatedly bring new people into our brand.”
WORKING LONG HOURS AND BALANCING FAMILY LIFE, WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE WE CAN FIND INSPIRATION AS LIBERALLY AS POSSIBLE, IN SOMETIMES UNEXPECTED LOCATIONS…
WHAT IS THE NEW COLLECTION INSPIRED BY?
Our favourite part of our jobs is adding in seasonal fashion styles to sit with our core styles, it’s where we can be really inspired by up-and-coming street and catwalk trends. We loved seeing the neon colour palette that had been emerging on the catwalk, with brands like Prada and Helmut Lang championing acid tones, and we knew we had to add in a fluorescent shade into the collection – we can’t wait to see little fashionistas with our neon yellow Mini Elwood. Clearly, snake-print is THE animal print of the season (goodbye leopard!), so we have made over our best-selling Raf holdall and Miller backpack in tonal snake print, which we love – you would never know these are changing bags! Also for a sleeker, more luxurious edge we are introducing the Raf holdall and Miller backpack in super soft grey tumbled faux leather, finished with eye-catching gold hardware – it’s quite a different look for us, as it steps away slightly from our androgynous, sporty style.
WHAT IS THE DESIGN PROCESS AND HOW ARE THE COLLECTIONS MADE?
Lydia: “We both constantly come up with ideas for things – discussing new shapes, colours, trends, materials, new features etc together. We pretty much work from the bags conception all the way through to selling as a duo – it’s really fun and collaborative. We then split off into our Designer/Buyer roles – I sketch out all our designs and ideas, do the final specs and then make all the technical drawings for the factory, dealing with all the sampling to the final stage. Anna handles all the orders with the factory, phasing, delivery etc.”
IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ONE KEY STYLE FROM THE NEW COLLECTION, WHICH WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
The snake-print Raf holdall – we’ll be using this non-stop as our work bag/ gym bag. This bag looks so strong with a monochrome outfit and gives a new-season edge to any look.
WHAT DOES YOUR WORKSPACE LOOK LIKE?
We have a lovely private studio in a shared creative workspace called Huckletree in West London. It is a really lovely buzzy place to be, full of tech start-ups, creative businesses and like-minded people. Our studio doubles as our showroom, with the current collection on display, as well as rails of new samples we are working on. Moodboards line the walls and it’s full of plants.
We have a massive central desk in our studio that we all work around – sometimes just Anna & I are in, sometimes all 7 members of the team – it really helps with the collaborative nature of our brand (although it is always littered with magazine tears, swatches, Pantone chips, stationary, sketches, and various bits of paperwork!).
WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO WHEN YOU’RE WORKING?
We always have music on in our studio, we find it really helps with creativity.
We listen to all kinds depending on the mood – from Neil Diamond to Kendrick. Our current faves are Jorga Smith, Maggie Rogers, Loyle Carner, Sampha, Young Fathers our 90’s R’n’B playlist when we wanna have a silly dance about.
WHAT ARE THREE THINGS YOU ALWAYS CARRY IN YOUR BAG?/ WHAT ARE THREE THINGS THAT YOU ALWAYS HAVE WITH YOU?
Our phones, our All Purpose Restoring Balm we made as part of our beauty collaboration with Honest skincare, Kleen Kanteen water bottle.
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND IN THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
MODERN. PROGRESSIVE. FUNCTIONAL
AND FINALLY, DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS YOU LIVE BY?
Don’t sweat the small stuff, be kind and have fun!
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