Meet The Makers Interview with the founders of Twisted Twee Personalised Gifts.
Why and when did you decide to start your business?
Twisted Twee was created in 2003 by me Suzi Warren and my partner Georg Thesmann as an outlet for our particular mergence of wit and practical lunacy. We work with a fierce and funny team of friends in a garden chalet in Camden to ship thoughtful and well crafted silliness to all corners of the earth. We began life in London’s Portobello Market just under the Westway. We figured that if we had to wake up in the middle of the night anyway thanks to our newborn Betty, we might as well be setting up a stall at 4am and making a living. We also used those long lonely night hours to create a website and the stuff to fill it.
Where do you seek inspiration from for your product range?
Why do we pretend that children are sweet, rather than fierce and funny? Why isn’t the bond between Father and child as celebrated in the same way as that between Mother and child? Why are the words used to describe women of middle age all perjorative? These are the sort of questions that occur to me and which lead to products like our best selling Film Buff Baby grows, the Dad and child t shirt twinsets and our new Hag range.
What are your greatest achievements to date?
The National Gallery have blessed our efforts to adorn the bums of babies with High Art and have praised and sold our range of Tudor Portrait Pants. Fashion Designer Betty Jackson commissioned adult versions of this range to show under her gorgeous sheer slip dresses as the finale to her London Fashion Week show 2016. She sells them in her London shop. The National Theatre commissioned a range of babies underwear to tie in with their theatrical season in 2013. The V&A have exhibited our children’s clothes as part of an exhibition which combats gender stereotyping, and they are now in the V&A permanent collection.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee BBC live coverage broke off from the Royal procession to show Jeremy Humphries modelling our Hi VIZ Diamond Liz builder’s jacket. Our Election Baby Races have been followed and commentated live by Guilty Pleasures host Sean Rowley and BBC Radio London host Robert Elms. Russian TV interviewed us about our predictions of the 2017 election results based purely on how many pairs of pants we’d sold of each candidate. We’ve caused column acres on MumsNet, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Jezebel, SwissMiss and a hundred chatrooms regarding some of our more polarising designs with comments ranging from ‘Genius’ and ‘Hilarious’ to ‘They should be chemically castrated’. We have been interviewed / interrogated on Women’s Hour, the Tyra Banks show in NYC and BBC Ireland and made it simultaneously into Buzzfeed’s Top Ten Most Inappropriate Children’s Gifts and the Top 100 Best Brands of 2015. We have won many awards including and most recently the UK Small Business Elite award for Excellence in Clothing Design 2018. Our Hag Wear range is gathering momentum on Instagram and Facebook and is championed by writers and journalists like Alyson Walsh.
Who inspires you?
My friends. And Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
What is important to you in business?
To be extremely silly and to be extremely Green. All our t shirts are sourced and made for us from 100% organic and Earth Positive cotton. We work with the UK’s only all organic silk screen printer and we always consider the environment before printing any email. And if each product we create doesn’t fit with these 6 criteria, it doesn’t get made: Totally original, completely practical, aesthetically beauteous, pleasingly durable, pleasantly affordable and utterly bonkers.
What do you enjoy most about your business?
Getting the chance to make and create all the stuff in our heads. And the customer reviews and photos. Nothings makes our day like a customer taking the time to write and say how much their purchase not only exceeded their expectations but made them laugh out loud. And we absolutely love seeing our products being worn.
What has been your biggest endorsement to date you have received for your products?
Our Portrait Pants of well known celebrities have been commissioned by the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV. They have appeared on Ian Wright in The Wright Stuff, on the bottom of Barak Obama on his election night and on Alan Titchmarsh on Ground Force. We also happen to know that Boris Johnson, Gordon Brown and David Cameron have all been bought their very own Political Pants by their respective wives and that Nigel Farage was given his pair by a saucy pub landlord.
Why did you choose to list your products on oodlique?
Other designer makers recommended Oodlique to us. We took a look round and jumped at the opportunity.
What has your experience been like working with oodlique?
Oodlique are a joy to work with; their staff have been both supportive and kind. They helped us at every stage and are unfailingly cheery. This makes a huge difference when you are working flat out. That said, oodlique do have the nicest customers.
What does the future hold for your business?
In the next 10 years we would like to be building follies, writing books, organising clothing repair/ reinvention shops, expanding our Clothing Hospital and sticking our Twisted fingers into all sorts of pies. We want to stay relevant, conscientious, batty and useful.