Meet the founder of KBD



Before we get started, please introduce yourself.

Hey, my name is Tori, also known to most as “Tori KBD”.

What is KBD?

Well in a nutshell, it’s my brain child, my baby - created out of a frustration I had of not being seen as an individual.

In my college days, I was known as the person that would get trainers before anyone else, but give a few weeks, everyone would have them and this frustrated me, so I would customise my trainers – change colours of certain sections just so it was unique. That sparked it off for me, people would pay me to do theirs in various styles. I quickly moved onto customising my own clothes and friends would ask me to do the same for theirs. When I started skating it only made sense that I “KBD” my roller skates too and again that was another leap for me, people are still coming to me to get their skates done now. From customers in London to nationwide and now I am receiving skates in the post from customer in the USA.

Then in August 2013 I decided to take the leap and begun making garments from scratch and I have not looked back since. So, KBD is my whole creative “explorational” journey (if that’s even a word Haha, I‘m owning it).

How have you funded your business so far?

It’s all self-funded, I worked and used money I earned to build things up from scratch. Now I am self-employed and the business is paying for itself.

Being a young entrepreneur – what do you enjoy the most about running your own business?

I love that I’m my own boss, to a certain extent. The independence of working whenever I want and for however long I want too is something I enjoy too. I am a Night Owl – which means I would pretty much start work when the sun goes down and it is perfect for me!

We read that you went into self-employment just over a year ago –why did you drop the 9-5?

What really made me take the leap was the summer of 2013 when I took time 3 weeks holiday off work – I saved up those 3 weeks and promised myself that every day for those 3 weeks I would make the most of it. That’s when I decided to teach my self to make garments from scratch.

As my holiday came to an end I realised I couldn’t go back to work, everything I had been doing in my time off was what I was meant to do, my heart, my soul, my calling if you will. I’ve always been a creative person and that was the first time I ever had the chance to fully explore it with no constraints and it was the best period of my life to date.

I never when back to work. I was officially self-employed about a month or so later!

What is the best business decision you've made so far?

Jumping into being self-employed, I know what I'm like. So I know that if I eased into it I would never fully take the leap. I needed to have the reality of, if I didn't work bloody hard for it, I wouldn't be able to eat or pay my rent. I needed to leap into it to see if I really wanted it as bad as I thought I did.

What is the worst?

Jumping into being self-employed with no solid plan – yes it was the best decision I ever made, but it has its faults if not well prepared. I struggled for a long time I had to freestyle/guess work with a lot of things for so long which did not, DID NOT, DID NOT, work in my favour financially. But, I learned a heck of a lot about myself, which I doubt I would have discovered had I not taken the risk. So ultimately a win in the end!

Who taught you to sew?

I learnt the basics of treading a machine in secondary school, but didn’t learn much else. I failed textiles, lowest score in my class. Everything else I learned from my favourite teacher Mrs Youtube. (hehe) and Mr Trial and error and little more trail and error.

You use social media in a very unique way, what inspired this?

Do I? I just do what I think is interesting. I don’t like being generic because frankly I’m not, so I just do me! The key is to be yourself and avoid trying to imitate anyone else.

Think back to when you’d just started out – what do you know now that you wish you’d known then?

Planning, planning  and more planning! It is also important to remember that there’s not rush, there are things that you have to go through to get you where you need to be. I believe it is not all about talent and skill or even drive, there are things that you need to discover about yourself that only happens over time, Dionne Reid captured it so well by saying “respect your process”.

As a young female entrepreneur of many talents – do you have any other businesses in the pipeline?

That would be telling. I’ve learnt never say it publically until it’s real. I am currently on a journey I call “Fear Less Year – FLY” and I have created a YouTube channel to share as much as I can. Many things will be revealed via my new channel.

What is your favourite dish and why?

I don’t have one, to be honest, I would rather drink juice than eat. But, if I had to choose something it would be ice cream!

What advice would you give to young budding entrepreneurs?

I would say plan and start small then build on solid ground. People say life is short, but trust me its long. You always have time to plan and always “Respect your process”, even when things go incredibly wrong – there is always a lesson to be learnt from it to become better.

Where do you see KBD in the next 12 months?

I see it as a self-sufficient, creative and unique entity. That is actively empowering and inspiring people to be exactly who they are and proud of it!