The Tilbea Story
So, Tilbea, where do I start?
It’s been a whirl wind couple of years to say the least! I remember clearly when my parenting journey started; 4 years ago when I found out I was pregnant with Matilda. Being a stylist I was looking forward to the new challenge of pregnancy, and styling my bump.
I was so sure I’d find it easy to maintain a sense of personal style in the midst of pregnancy and breastfeeding, but it just wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped. The majority of maternity and breastfeeding dresses I tried were boring and colourless and the garments that did have a nod of fashion to them were poorly made; functionality was definitely an afterthought.
It took me hours, usually whilst breastfeeding Matilda in the middle of the night, of googling and insta hunting to find pieces that I really wanted to wear. The choices were so limited that more often than not I ended up adapting high street pieces that I loved to make them maternity & breastfeeding friendly.
I wasn’t ready to accept that just because I was pregnant I should lose my sense of style. I’ve never blended into the background before, so why should I start now. I was damned if opening my wardrobe become a chore rather than a thrill. So I started thinking, there must be a better alternative to this?’
Soon after my first arrival Matilda, came Nicky’s bundle of joy, Beatrice. Both on maternity leave at the same time we started spending even more time together, if that were in fact possible. We’d huddle round the kitchen table discussing our small humans, husbands, lack of sleep, poop and so much more, but one thing that kept cropping up, aside from the usual daily moans, was how we felt we had lost our sense of identity!
Why was it so hard to find breastfeeding clothing that we could feel good in?! That would bring the joy back into choosing an outfit. Where was the individuality, the colour, the print, the vibrancy? We couldn’t find it anywhere, so we decided to do something about it.
It was over yet another kitchen table chin wag, although this time with a bottle of wine, that Tilbea was born. Nicky and I decided to create a brand that was for women like us. Women who didn’t want to apologise for being pregnant, and who wanted to embrace a sense of personal style on their motherhood journey.
So, we sketched, we chatted, we researched, and soon found out we knew very little about how to get this brand up and on its feet, but, being sisters, collaborating and working together was second nature to us.
On paper we are hardly the ideal partnership. Nicky is a Criminal Barrister, used to the adrenaline highs of the court room, arguing tooth and nail in front of a jury. I am a stylist used to creating beautiful outfits but not making the from scratch. Our work lives could not have been more different. I still can’t believe I managed to persuade her to hang up her wig and gown for a little while. She took a leap of faith and joined me in the world of fashion, I’m hoping she hasn’t looked back;)
We’re a team! If one of us can’t hold it all together the other steps up. If I’ve had a bad day Nicky is there with a glass of wine, if she is struggling with the juggle of a newborn and a toddler I am there with an extra pair of hands. Just 2 days ago I was hit by a sickness bug and my husband was away with work, Nicky stepped in. She dressed and fed my kids, did the mammoth school and nursery run with all 4 small humans including her 5 month old Josh. Having a support network so close helps us become more productive at work and at home; maybe a little less so after the wine, but you get my point.
Tilbea is not even a year old, we’ve only just begun. We are excited to continue to grow as a company, making women’s pregnancy and breastfeeding wardrobes a little more exciting, and of course, comfy.