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Tikiboo: How Our Fitness-Based Fashion Label Conquered Social Media

What do a newly married couple, both working director level jobs and raising their daughter do, shortly after their wedding?

Start a brightly coloured fitness fashion brand of course!

Faye and Daniel Jobbins of Tikiboo Fitness took the leap into entrepreneurship alongside their full-time jobs and family commitments. 

“I think after the preparations for the wedding had come to a close we both felt we needed a project to get stuck into. We wanted a sideline to our jobs to work on something together and generate a bit of cash, so put our heads together to come up with a plan.”

But the road to business success is never that straightforward, and the newlywed’s first plan to launch a clothing boutique, didn’t quite work out:

“Initially we set up a clothing boutique and called it Tikiboo Boutique. We were purchasing wholesale clothing and selling online, but we soon found that it was a hugely competitive market, and many people were selling similar items on eBay so cheap that we couldn’t compete.”

 

“I personally grew bored of walking into sports shops wanting something fun and bright and being presented with an array of black and pink garments.

 

Inspiration born from frustration

The turning point came, as it does with so many new businesses, during a moment of frustration. Having just qualified as a personal trainer, Faye noticed a gap in the market:

“I personally grew bored of walking into sports shops wanting something fun and bright and being presented with an array of black and pink garments. There are so many fabulous colours that companies could be using and I felt this was something I wanted to bring to the market.”

“It seemed a more natural fit to progress to the fitness fashion market as that was something that I had a personal love of and knew what I wanted in an outfit. So we decided to rebrand and start our own fashion label for fitness called Tikiboo.”

 

 

After months of late nights, Tikiboo finally launched in February 2015.

 

From bland to bright…

Faye and Daniel began working on their first collection and setting up their website. After months of late nights, they finally launched in February 2015 and the initial demand took the couple completely by surprise. People bought, and loved, Tikiboo leggings! 

The next few months saw them picking and packing all the orders in their living room and juggling Tikiboo alongside their day jobs:

“We were doing everything in-house: all the photography (Daniel took the photos, Faye modelled), packing, taking sacks of parcels to the post office, creating marketing campaigns, writing product descriptions, social media posts, SEO, customer service, managing returns… literally everything between the two of us! There were weeks when three hours sleep a night was normal. We were like Tikiboo robots.”

 

 

“Finding decent manufacturers was difficult. We got stung a few times by companies stealing out money when we’d paid for stock.

Startup challenges

Alongside doing everything themselves, Faye and Daniel faced other common startup challenges.

  • Cash flow: “We didn’t have any investment from banks or outside sources, we simply put £500 each in and bought stock, we then had to rely on selling stock to purchase the next batch, so as it grew, so did the demand for new patterns and bigger orders.”
  • Marketing: “It was difficult to get the marketing started and we relied heavily on word of mouth and friends of friends purchasing”
  • Manufacturing:Finding decent manufacturers was difficult. Sometimes when you work with overseas companies, in some cases it can be harder to maintain a good working relationship or even trace them down should things go sour.”

 

 

“10 months in Tikiboo was generating more income and demanding more of our time for than our day jobs

Taking the leap

As the couple ironed out their initial challenges, and the customers started rolling in, they decided to take the leap and quit their jobs:

“10 months in Tikiboo, was generating more income and demanding more of our time than our day jobs. We both bit the bullet and decided we had to give it our all in order to grow it to the brand that we wanted it to be.”

The support of friends and family helped, not only to boost Faye and Daniel’s confidence to take the leap, but also to elevate the brand:

“Many of my friends loved the creations we were making initially. Before long, the girls at my gym wearing black were standing out more than the brightly coloured ones!”

 

 

 our customers started sharing posts on Instagram etc and before we knew it our customers were ramping up pretty quickly.”

Standing out on social media

One of the key tactics for success was marketing their fitness wear through social media:

“I think the Crossfit market bought into it really quickly as that’s where I was predominantly based. They love bright colours and before we knew it people were sharing our website with their friends. This then grew as our customers started sharing posts on Instagram etc and before we knew it our sales were ramping up pretty quickly.”

Our products are very visual so social media worked really well for us. But with Facebook constantly changing algorithms, we also had to invest a lot in paid posts in order to get seen. If I can give advice to other businesses using social media it’s this: pay for adverts, it’s the only way this game works!

Taking social media and the popularity of the brand one step further, Tikiboo began to recruit Instagram ambassadors.

 

Maximising Instagram influencers

Taking social media and the popularity of the brand one step further, Tikiboo began to recruit Instagram ambassadors. These are carefully selected customers who want to become affiliates for the business. By sharing pictures of them wearing their Tikiboo gear online, they get a cut of any sales via their exclusive discount codes.

Whilst it was a natural next step for their marketing, Faye was keen to choose the right people to become ambassadors:

“We have been very selective using real girls that are genuine fans of the brand. We find this resonates better with our customers more than the glamour girls/celebs that are clearly being paid to endorse brands. All of our ambassadors are friends or fans of the brand and we treat them like family.”

And this is exactly how I came across Tikiboo fitness myself. Having started running this year, I noticed some of the people I followed online were wearing bright fun gear, including Elisha of @wwlifestyle92:

“As a fashion junkie, finding Tikiboo a few years back was like finding a breath of fresh air in the activewear industry. It was like the brand was made for me – rainbows, unicorns and sparkles! The leggings are 100% squat proof and have lasted thousands of wash cycles. This is one of the reasons I became an ambassador.” 

Another main reason is to show others that you shouldn’t stand in your own way of feeling confident when exercising. You don’t have to be a certain weight, shape or size to workout, and Tikiboo gave me that confidence to get out and get active!”

 

 

Journalists started to notice the brand too, creating some priceless press coverage for the budding business.

 

Hitting the headlines

Picking up on the popularity online, journalists started to notice the brand too, creating some priceless press coverage for the budding business.

But this exposure, and subsequent rapid growth of the business, didn’t hinder Faye and Daniel’s relationship at all. Quite the opposite:

“We barely saw each other due to our work commitments before, so it has actually been great and brought us closer together! We are just surprised we didn’t do it sooner as we have a really good joint skill set, which is why I think Tikiboo works.”

 

 

Since those days packing orders in their living room, Tikiboo has grown into a solid small business.

 

The future’s bright

Since those days packing orders in their living room, Tikiboo has grown into a solid small business. They’ve collaborated with brands such as Mr Men and Little Miss and Candy Crush to bring out exclusive ranges, and ventured into children’s fitness clothing on the advice of their daughter Leila.

So what’s next for Tikiboo?

“We have many things coming this year. We have several new licensing agreements and will be branching into the fashion side of the business, as well as expanding the fitness range. We are so excited as there are endless possibilities in which we can push the business direction, so we are working very hard to make them all work.”

“We often hear stories of people that have become friends through their love of Tikiboo. They recognise others wearing the products online and at events and start talking to new people. This is what makes it so special for us. Tikiboo is no longer about us or the leggings… it’s about the community spirit and bringing like-minded, passionate people together (all with a love of fitness and fun bright clothing). So, more of the same for the future of Tikiboo!”

 

The words of Jen Smith, Informi’s resident email blogger. For a comprehensive guide to getting your business up and running, download our how to start a business in 20 days eBook.

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