The Evolution of TIZZ & TONIC

The Evolution of Tizz & Tonic

Tizz & Tonic came from very humble beginnings. Very little start-up capital, very large ambitions. 

We’re going to tell you what the journey has been like for us so far, building a brand from scratch and doing it all in a foreign country. We’re also going to share some advice for other young or budding entrepreneurs all in a blog post coming soon. We’ve been so busy preparing for our birthday and managing the logistics of the Spring collection we didn’t get it done in time - but check back soon!

So until then, and as we are celebrating 5 years of Tizz (!!!), we thought it would be fun to take you on a visual trip through the The Evolution of Tizz & Tonic. Take a glimpse at how this mini but mighty brand has grown from my tiny flat into its very own clubhouse. 

YEAR ONE (2017- 2018: Home Studio)

My sister and I started the business out of my flat in Bremen and worked from this location for the first year. Our first year in business was really, really slow for sales and getting attention from pretty much anybody was challenging. But we kept pushing forward, testing out ideas, learning from our mishaps and celebrating our little successes along the way. 

When Tizz launched we didn’t know many people in the city and had zero budget for photos, so sometimes we had to model ourselves and we took all the product shots in my bedroom when the sun decided to shine. (I actually still do this!) 

Luckily, after a few months we were able to connect with a Toronto-based photographer who shot for us for free which was mega sweet. This was essentially the first time we got to see our products on more body forms. We count our first year in business like a very soft and slow launch. Take a look at some of the first T & T pieces - you can see how far along it’s come since then! 

YEAR TWO (Spring 2018 - Late 2018: CityLab) 

In March 2018 we got a short-term rental contract for a cheap studio space in Bremen's downtown area. The building was (currently is) being torn down and renovated but before that, the city offered a few spaces to young start-ups/projects for a limited time. After some asking, we got the keys to our first real studio - it was 180 square meters in total, really big and really outdated but perfect for us. 

When we moved out of my flat and into a ‘physical location’, more local people started to become aware of our start-up and having an address downtown gave us more credibility to our online buyers. 

So things started to pick-up, especially when we opened the studio doors to the public with a small pop-up shop beside our sewing machines. Newspapers were starting to take interest, we participated in a local crowdfunding competition, we were able to improve our products based on feedback from interacting with live customers and set up a lot more collaborations between young start-ups and established brands. This move to the public-sphere was pretty nerve-racking for us (being introverts and not totally immersed/embraced in the German culture just yet) but we did it, and it was a really wild and fun time. 

YEAR THREE (2019 - Late 2020: Bischofsnadel 12)

When the rental space at our first studio ran to the end of its contract, we moved about 800m away (even more into the heart of the city) into a big shared space with 3 other brands. This was the Bischofsnadel 12 location where we had an open-concept studio and shop for almost two years. Working with other local brands was a cool experience for us since we were able to share ideas, and learn a lot from each other. Each brand had their own unique challenges to overcome and we all brought our own network, styles and experiences to the collective. 

The start of 2019 also marked the year we imported our first kilos of cotton from India that was made-to-order just for us. When we first launched Tizz only our single-coloured cottons were organic and the prints were from run-of-the-mill fabric shops. So this was a big turning point for us.
At this studio space we invented the Valerie Bralette and the Brazilian Panty, hired our first employee (the lovely Elisabetta), hosted a few rad parties, appeared as guest-speakers at many start-up events and really just grew a lot in the time we were there. 

But in January 2020 we knew that it would soon be time to leave our shared-studio location because Tizz was growing and we needed more space for production, creativity and fluidity for our everyday life (i.e. not having set opening hours for the public and focusing more online). So in late Fall last year, after a few hiccups, we moved again (hopefully the last time for a while) into an old cocktail lounge, more than doubling our working area, tripling our machinery and having our own private bar to boot. We have put a lot of energy and love into renovating this new spot and it has become the most beloved clubhouse ever. We are so delighted to celebrate 4 Years of Tizz (and many more to come) here at the new Tizz HQ. 

YEAR FOUR: (2021 in our current undie-bar location)

And then came 2021. And wow, 2021 was the most intense rollercoaster year for Tizz & Tonic yet - and we are certain a lot of other small business can say the same. My sister and I navigated our micro-brand through year two of the pandemic (which proved much more challenging than the first), celebrated our first full year in our bar studio, invested in better machines, were hit by supply delays and faced more lockdowns.  

Tizz & Tonic in itself is rarity in Germany as we are an independent fashion brand that maintains local production. The COVID-19 pandemic saw a big push for an increased demand of locally made products. As this renewed love for 'shop local' increased in popularity, it is created a new set of challenges for independent designers and small brands. For us, these challenges included not being able to meet demand due to lockdowns in fabric production countries and organic cotton supply chain issues. This is currently an ongoing issue as the costs of many commonly used textiles (like linen, silk, wool and synthetics) have surged in the past few months, reinforced by this global supply-chain crunch.

The delays for our supply happened not once, not twice but four times - each hiccup resulted in month-long fabric shipment delays and material shortages, leaving us with almost zero fabric left to produce our comfy undies for your great butts. 

These unforeseeable problems dictated much of how we navigated our second year through this pandemic and our fourth year in business. But it wasn’t all bad - out of necessity innovation was born. 

Model at TIZZ & TONIC Grapefruit Underwear

2021 saw us creating our first Capsule Collection designed solely from fabric off-cuts from previous collections. We sold out just in a couple of weeks while we waited for our Fiesta Collection fabric to arrive. That was fun.
Luckily our most anticipated fabric delivery (the aforementioned Fiesta Collection) came just weeks before we were featured on national and local TV so we were able to hit the ground running with the new prints and colours. This spotlight also earned us a small feature in Elle: We Love Green magazine. So that was also fun. 

During the summer months we expanded our team and our sewing area with more machines, really mastering our underwear production line like never before all the while trying to navigate and innovate.
We introduced our first recycled product (Tizz Tennis socks), and brought a new buttery soft textile (Micromodal) into our collection too.

Throughout the year we planned small photoshoots with local women in-between lockdowns and everchanging regulations but we were only able to have our doors open to the public a few times - we really missed you guys! 

Amazingly enough, after much pandemic uncertainty we were able to host a Tizz x Nork Studio Party at the Tizz HQ for our local freaks & geeks. It was an evening of good beats, good drinks and overall chill times - a refreshing bit of normality after months and months of social separation. 

2021 was a year of our highest of highs and our lowest of lows. But to close off our 4th year in business, Tizz & Tonic was accepted into Fashion Revolutions Small but Perfectly Formed program which will keep us busy this year trying to recycle underwear into socks. Hopefully this is a good omen for the coming year. 



The adventure continues and would not have been possible without you.

Thank you to our ‘early adopters’, many of which are still with us today, to our repeat customers, to those who have been the threads of the brand by giving us opportunities to share and grow, and to those who stop by with flowers and bottles of wine. And of course a lot of adoration goes out to our new Tizz lovers who are just joining the party now - you’re not too late cause really, it’s just begun. We have a lot for you this year -but our lips are sealed for now (we don’t want to jinx it). Check back soon.

2022 is going to be wild.

-Imke & Yanna

Plant Based Intimates TIZZ & TONIC
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