Founder of Tizz & Tonic - Imke and Yanna Hanscomb
Imke Hanscomb, 26, and Yanna Hanscomb, 27, Tizz & Tonic
“We discovered our roots here in Bremen,” say Imke and Yanna Hanscomb, when asked what brought them to Bremen. The sisters were born and raised in the small town of Elora in Canada. Their German mother, who hails from Münster, met their father, who is English, on a year abroad in Canada, and they both decided to stay. It was pure coincidence that brought Imke to Bremen.
She is passionate about fashion, which is no surprise considering her parents are artists and have their own studio in the basement of their home. “If we wanted to be creative, we could always go down to the basement and let our creativity run wild,” says Yanna. Imke decided to work for herself at a young age, launching her own fashion label, Johnnywishes, when she was 16 and still at high school. Three years later, she left it behind when she moved to Toronto to study fashion design with a focus on lingerie. “The course showed me how it should ‘normally’ be done – the design, the tailoring and the sewing,” Imke recalls.
“I had taught myself everything, and I found the course very restrictive.” After spending some time travelling and working in casual jobs, Imke arrived in Bremen. A welcoming city – but is it a place to set up a company? Imke loves the city’s thriving creative scene which gives her, as a fashion designer, plenty of opportunities to network and to find inspiration. So why not have another go at setting up on her own? She asked her sister Yanna for advice, who at the time was living in Spain on her year abroad. Yanna was so taken by the idea of producing eco-friendly underwear that she moved to Bremen. Together, they founded the label Tizz & Tonic in March 2017.
Since spring 2018, they have been sewing and selling their underwear in a pop-up store in Bremen’s city centre. The language barrier was their biggest challenge. “The people here are very open and friendly, but you won’t get very far if you only speak English,” says Yanna. Nevertheless, setting up their business here was the right decision. “We met the right people at the right time and received plenty of good advice,” Imke says. Both are now taking language classes. And their mother really enjoys visiting her daughters back in her home country twice a year.