That night the KxP crew met Mike and Kory at a pop-up market was like a match made on King Street (Toronto). We set up our KxP booth, stocked with our favourite socks from our subscription, as Mike and Kory were setting up their TenFed apparel booth.
Mike and Kory oozed personality that just couldn’t be ignored. And their brand is just as awesome as they are. For every TenFed item that is sold, TEN meals are provided to feed hungry children around the globe. With the collaboration of Kids Against Hunger Canada, TenFed has provided over 45,000 meals to date!
As fellow Torontonian entrepreneurs, we wanted to hear about Mike and Kory’s startup story:
What were you doing before TenFed and how did that lead to how you started?
M: I worked in the corporate world at TD Bank, and Kory had a landscaping company before getting into the Social Enterprise sector. Both of us were tired of working so many hours at something that we had little to no passion for.
K: We both felt like there was something bigger to all of this. So we decided to travel to Chicago to go see Tony Robbins in a 4 day seminar. Being at this event solidified our idea of wanting to do something greater for the world, and something that we had a passion for. We basically left that seminar with an idea, and a bigger drive to make it happen!
What was the biggest hurdle in getting your business launched?
K: One of the biggest hurdles to launching this business was the lack of experience and understanding of the apparel industry. Of course every single company that you approach says they can do just what you want, but you soon realize that’s not the case.
M: We were basically stumbling around in the dark trying not to crash into things! It forces you to learn hard lessons very quickly which is really a blessing in disguise. It also toughens you up as it allows you to understand what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
Name the biggest overall lesson you’ve learned in running a business?
M: Set expectations through the roof, and understand that there will constantly be disappointments as well as successes. You have to learn to accept the lows along with the highs. It’s all about finding solutions to problems, over and over and over. The bigger the problem, the better you’re likely to be doing.
What’s the thing you enjoy most about being your own boss?
K: There are so many perks to being your own boss, but I would say the part that is most enjoyable is the creative freedom to do WHATEVER YOU WANT.
M: You can go in any direction that you feel like going. It’s yours to choose what you do with it. That sense of freedom is key. Other than that, of course, being able to take an afternoon off to sit on a patio is somewhere on that list.
what peice of advice would you have offered to your younger selves?
M: Get out there and get creative. Get experience with a lot of things. Find out what you are passionate about and find a way to turn that into your life and ideally into your income. Also, go find some people, or even just one person that you want to be like and live like. Learn from them. Listen to them. Follow their lead.
K: Also, learn how to deal with money as soon as you possibly can.
If you were given $100 million, would you run your business any differently, how so?
M: I mean… of course a lot of things would change. But going through the struggles of building a business from the ground up, and being smacked around by your mistakes is what makes this whole thing fun. Failing makes you want to succeed that much more. Knowing that you came from nothing, and turned that nothing into something is the best part. It makes the celebrations very real.
K: But ok, if someone gave us $100 million right now, we would travel more, hire amazing talented people to help us, and put the rest in a treasure chest and bury it for a bit until we figured the rest of the answers out!