Tigerlilly opened its retail store doors in 2016, starting off as a dancewear brand inspired by our founder's daughter, Lilly. Born with Cerebral Palsy, Lilly has faced and overcome physical challenges throughout her life with pure grit and determination which has been an inspiration to us all. This inspiration ultimately lead to the name “Tigerlilly” and has been a key driving force behind the success of the brand. Tigerlilly has since grown into a premium, multi-category retailer showcasing the best of the best in activewear, loungewear, beachwear and accessories from top local and international brands.
We sat down with our founder, Brigitte Hersch, to learn more about the Tigerlilly brand and how it came to be what it is today.
What inspired the transition of being a dancewear to activewear/lifestyle brand?
So many businesses had to pivot during Covid, and ours was one of them. Fewer dancers were going into studios to dance with a lot of online classes being the norm, so the need for dancewear was very low at that time. Coupled with that, and my personal passion for pilates, yoga and being outdoors helped identify a gap in the market and a need for higher quality athleisure and accessories.
How does Tigerlilly select which brands are stocked?
We do try and support local brands where possible, and ones that align with our value and mission of sustainability and being eco-friendly. We have built up strong relationships with certain brands, and have great relationships which have become special friendships over time. We are seeing more local brands emerging that are focused on recycling and sustainability which is just wonderful and extremely encouraging. We are excited to share more brands and products with our customers in the future.
How did you decide which categories you wanted to stock & venture into?
We mostly listened to what our customers were asking for, and have brought in categories in addition to Activewear, such as loungewear, supplements, skincare, yoga & pilates accessories, etc. The past few years after COVID definitely dictated what our clients were wearing, and the rise of athleisure wear was incredible to see. We are now seeing a swing back into the other direction again, however activewear and athleisure wear are here to stay for now.
What word would you use to describe the overall “vibe” or fashion style Tigerilly?
Where would Tigerlilly like to be in the future, any dream brand collaborations or partnerships?
My vision is to be the home and stockist of at least 50 activewear and lifestyle brands, with more local South African brands added to the mix. I would love to see us as a platform which new brands can and will want to showcase their products. I aspire to having more established brands be part of encouraging our customers to be active and to keep moving, in style of course.
With so many competitors, what sets Tigerlilly apart from other lifestyle brands in the market?
We pride ourselves on selecting partners and brands for their high quality. We also focus on offering a great variety of products and styles, ensuring we are servicing every customer and their needs.
How do you ensure that your products cater to a diverse range of women's needs and preferences?
We listen to our customers feedback, and stock different styles, lengths and patterns to suit everyone.
Can you share any specific challenges you faced in establishing and growing your brand in a competitive industry?
I think COVID was a massive challenge in the sense that we had to pivot and move forward with the demand and the trends. This however did force us to relook at our offering and our brand, which has been such a positive shift. Owning and running a small business comes with many challenges, but this just drives me to learn from these challenges and improve what we do. Most importantly, I love what I do.
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."
How do you stay updated with the latest trends and demands in the women's lifestyle market?
Most of our suppliers plan months in advance, and we are all inspired by international trends. Based on what is happening in the fashion capitals globally, and the client demand at the time, we are able to offer our clients the latest trends.
Which product/s stocked by Tigerlilly have you personally loved and would recommend others trying/owning?
One close to my heart is STRONG, by the T-shirt Bed Co. Partly because it is owned by my sister who is a great inspiration to me, and partly because of the fact that it is just a great product. They have managed to harness loungewear that you can dress up or dress down, and it’s a very popular brand for us.
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