It’s seems crazy to think of how far our story goes back now. It was back in 2013 when we first had the idea to launch a kidswear brand for boys that made the comfiest, cutest , coolest leggings in the land – leggings that bucked the disappointing trend for ‘blue is for boys and pink is for girls.’ We’d worked together at a luxury online fashion store for about 6 years before this, working on the brand, designing the website, art directing shoots and creating content. We became friends and totally unplanned, had little boys about four months apart. Returning from maternity leave we found ourselves seeking a new, more flexible career path – let’s just say our employers weren’t very modern with their views on working arrangements for new mothers. A pretty random conversation about finding it hard to find comfy leggings for boys took place and a ‘bingo, that could be a business’ thought started to grow. Leggings for boys seems like an overly simple idea now, but back then it was almost impossible to find them amid a sea of jeans, chinos and old school joggers. Our leggings chat couldn’t have been better timed as we were made redundant within a week of it, and over a sorrow-drowning bottle of rosé, we decided to take the leap.
We started from scratch, learning as we went along (while working freelance or taking up other short-term positions) and launched with four pairs of printed leggings in June 2014 under the name Tobias & the Bear after our own little fox and bear Tobias Fox and Arlo Bear – it seemed only right to name the business they’d inspired after them. A little platform called Instagram helped lots of customers find us, and we quickly discovered that parents of little girls loved the leggings too. Just as we’d been perplexed by boy’s fashion and its lack of comfort and personality, they were frustrated with how everything for girls had to have butterflies and fairies on it. Why couldn’t they wear fox print leggings? Why were kids being pigeonholed? Tobias & the Bear evolved quickly and we started to think in terms of unisex designs, which honestly wasn’t that different to what we’d been doing with the animals, cool patterns and fun characters already at the heart of the brand. Tees, rompers, bloomers, sweatshirts and jogger co-ords, rainboots and bedding have all since joined the collection and we’ve had a crazy few years of growing the business around the world, travelling, winning awards and meeting some amazing customers – albeit virtually!
If you’re just finding us now, we believe in excellent quality and only use the softest most tactile fabrics – of course we want your babies, toddlers and children to look great, and we LOVE creating the cutest, coolest designs that stand the test of time - but they must be as comfy and as snug for their many adventures too. We’re forever bowled-over to see how the pieces we sold at the beginning are still being passed down to friends and siblings, and that’s really at the heart of Tobias & the Bear - we work hard to look after the environment as much as your little one’s wardrobes by using organic cotton, natural rubber and recycled, recyclable and biodegradable packing.
Thank you for joining us on our journey so far, we look forward to its future.
Leanne and Ruth x