TIC CC is a performance cycle clothing brand established with sustainability and responsibility at its heart. Founders Daphne and Andrew Monk introduce their business.
This piece first appeared in the May edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here
Tell us about TIC CC
We are an independent, self-funded British brand. We make distinctive, performance cycling clothing for the sustainably conscious athlete. Our focus — maximum impact on rider performance, minimum impact on the world we love to ride. All our kit is made responsibly, ‘close to home’ in Europe.
Our journey started in 2015. Both keen riders, we left our corporate roles in search of a more purpose-driven future. We wanted to make things that change things and champion a more ‘responsible’ approach to profit, growth and purpose. We spent some time working on projects for other cycling sector brands before we took the plunge. We felt that with our personal and professional experiences, we could add something ‘fresh’ to the cycling apparel sector.
We pride ourselves on being a creativity-led, strategic brand. Co-founder Andrew Monk had previously been responsible for leading global brand projects for a variety of diverse clients. He helped brands stand out from the crowd in highly competitive marketplaces. ‘When creativity is allowed to lead it often produces distinctive and constantly surprising solutions. You need to be different, sound different, and look different if you want to make a difference’.
Co-founder Daphne Monk’s background was in business psychology. However, her career was cut short when Daphne was involved in a life-changing car accident. It left her with severe chronic pain. Over time it was clear to her that being reliant on high-strength pain medication was not a long-term solution. Instead, she looked for other coping mechanisms. Simply put her bike became a core pain management tool. The physical and psychological benefits of riding have allowed her to cope when others have struggled. The bike is an incredible self-empowerment tool and we are keen to celebrate and communicate this through TIC CC.
For us, like many others, our bikes and the experience of riding them connects us closely with nature. We are acutely aware and ‘tuned in’ to its beauty and the importance of protecting the irreplaceable. If we ride it, we have a duty to respect and protect it. This is a fundamental component of TIC CC’s purpose.
Who are TIC CC products aimed at? What makes them unique?
Our products are developed for the performance-orientated rider. We focus on developing essential performance riding wear that works for a multitude of riding scenarios. It is often tempting to try and ‘cover all bases’ but we prefer to concentrate on doing one thing well.
For us, a great product is one which meets the needs of the athlete, and which is made responsibly. Where every aspect of it: materials, construction, who makes it, from what, and where it is made is carefully considered.
We make the best we can so they last the longest. We use superior quality materials and European craftsmanship. Longevity doesn’t just come from how it is made, but also from how it is designed. A great fit and distinctive, timeless graphic language ensure our products are ‘loved for longer’.
Versatility is a key focus for us. Making necessary products to eliminate unnecessary waste. We focus on the needs and demands of how cyclists move, not the terrain they move over. This has led to our product categories: Race/ Ride/ Roam.
Back in 2015 when we started, we were very aware of the division between how men and women were portrayed in this sector. From gender cliche ‘pretty’ patterns for women to stereotypical ‘gritty’ black and white photoshoots featuring rugged men only. We were keen to try and help reshape the narrative. We have a gender-neutral approach to designing and making our products.
We treat everyone the same — as equal. From customer feedback, we know it is a welcome approach to an age-old challenge. Our garments are designed, where possible, to fit both male and female athletes. Our unique ‘unifit’ pattern system and textile technology expertise allow our clothing to form and function around a variety of body types perfectly.
How has TICC been received so far?
Being primarily an online, self-reliant business means we don’t connect as much as we would like to with the ‘extended’ industry. However, we do connect and collaborate with people we know who have been or are still involved with the pro peloton. From performance sportswear developers to rainbow stripes/yellow jersey ex-pro riders. The feedback is often the same — great fitting, great performing kit which looks distinctive and different.
What are your plans for 2023 and beyond?
This year we continue to drive our innovative design-led. Our SS23 collection is a good example of this. We have a lot in the pipeline, but like all things timing is key. As a self-funded brand, we are acutely aware of the importance of bringing products to market at the right time.
Currently, our products are only available through tic-cc.com. We see the value of retail, and our worldwide customer base often asks if we intend to sell through physical stores. We are aware of the immediate challenges facing retail but are looking at the possibility of identifying potential future retail partners.
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