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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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!”
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.”