Hey, I am Ti, a twenty eight years old city girl living in the country. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York but currently live in Atlanta, Georgia, most people know me as ‘twin’..lol. TiKeDi is my baby brand that I started while in school. If you mispronounce it I wont correct you, but it’s just like saying my initials TKD, just really fast. I am a design fiend, and I am grateful and blessed that I am able to do what I love for a living. I really appreciate things that are aesthetically pleasing and I do pay more for cute packaging. My mom thinks that I am too liberal…and my answer to any question will always be ‘But did you vote?’
Was designing your dream job?
No, designing was not my dream job. Although I have always been creative and my mom always allowed me to explore my creativity and options in life, I come from a family that believes in traditional careers. Having Jamaican parents and family roots, I grew up with people that were very opinionated, I had a vision of what my life was going to and should of been in my head. When I started college at seventeen I did not know what I wanted to do, however because almost every member in my family is a nurse, the most natural decision for me at the time was to pursue a degree in nursing. I started the pre nursing track upon my entrance of college but my heart was never in it. After my freshman year, I spent about a year and half trying to find my niche. Legit, I went through four or five majors during the course of three semesters. Designing itself, was a mistake, long story short… I was laid off and needed an income.
You have a unique process when creating your pieces,? What sets your style apart from others
What makes my process unique is that I believe in imperfect perfection. Truthfully, although I started my brand out of a need, it became bigger than me and my bills that needed to be paid. I genuinely love what I do and I believe that it shows in my work. One of the hardest things for me is seeing people take my pictures and styles, and passing it off as their own. I used to get so upset when it would happen, but I’ve learned not to give those people and it any of my energy. I realized that feeding my energy into dishonest people and situations were and will always be a hindrance to me, not them. That is valuable energy that could be used to fuel my creative process, plus people always tend to want the original. Yes! TiKeDi is largely based around distressed and shredding but when you look at the details and see a TiKeDi piece, you know it’s a TiKeDi piece. I myself, am a plus size woman so I design for every woman, regardless of size. I am not going to make a line that strictly caters to plus size woman or create something that can only fit individuals that are a size 0-10.
Talk about some places and some people we may have seen your designs on?
Man, TiKeDi has been blessed. Like any life process we go through our highs and lows, however, we have touched a lot of people. A few years ago we would have never thought we would be associated with or having pieces requested and worn by half of our clientele, all of which is due to my sister who has a pulse on who what and where.TiKeDi is in boutiques in both New York and Atlanta. On top of boutique placement our pieces have been used at shows during NYFW in 2014, TBoz on her TLC reality show in 2013, VH1 Love and Hip Hop 2015, Young Thug BET Awards 2015, Young Thug Danny Glover Video, Kendrick Lamar Street Dreaming Video, India Arie music video. Outside of television our pieces have been worn by Teyana Taylor, Brittany Hall, Ashunta Sherriff, Tionna Smalls, Makeup Shayla, Hrush, Alexis Branch, Dondria and countless bloggers, just to name a few.
One of your garments was recently seen in Harper's Bazar speak a little bit about that ?
Yes, that was an amazing feeling because it was unexpected. But Hrush, the Kardashians makeup artist wore a couple of our pieces during her time at NYFW so when she featured an article on Harper’s Bazaar website talking about her time at NYFW and the details of her looks, TiKeDi was featured in it as well. Literally 8 slides of TiKeDi on freaking Harpers Bazaar.
What is your personal style like ?
My style is constantly evolving but a few things that stay consistent is black and comfort. Right now I am in a phase where less is more. I live for a good oversized tee, or v neck, and the perfect skinnies. Oh yeah, the higher and thicker the platform, the better. Recently it has come to my attention that I am ‘goth’ but that is not how I identify, I like to think of myself as an NYC downtown girl.
If you were a lipstick what color would you be and why ?
If I were a lipstick I would be a chocolately nude, I am so into nudes right now when it comes to makeup and I think it is because it matches my personality the most. It seems so cool and calm, yet makes a statement at the same time. It is a little bold without being loud. Some may think its boring and others love it. Yup, chocolately nude I would be.
5 things you cant travel without ?
Five things I cannot travel without are my computer, phone, Instax camera, headphones, and a cute bag.
What's the last album you listened to in its entirety ?
I have ran Emile Sande Long Live the Angels down, but the last album that I listened to, which was today is John Legends Darkness and Light
Who is your muse ?
My sister Asia is my muse. It is crazy because we are complete opposites in every way but whenever I am designing or thinking of a new style she is the first person I think of. She is the prototype because sometimes she throw shit together and on someone else it would look like shit, but because of her personality for her it works. And then there’s other times where she is completely downtown edgy and I just love it, she’s a chameleon.
Favorite place to find hidden gems when shopping ?
My all time favorite place to find hidden gems is in….(dun dun) WALMART. I freaking love Walmart! They are so underrated but for me it is a gold mine, especially the men section. I will go in there for cheese and I end up walking out with bags of shit.
What is hardest part about running your own shop?
The hardest part about running my shop, is stopping. There’s 24 hours in the day and I feel like I work 22. Hell truthfully I think I work 21 hours everyday though. You know your business is your baby, and I think that is truer now with us millenials. We’re holding off having actual babies because we’re out her fostering and growing something of our own, putting our own stamp on things. Doing this causes me to be so hard and judgemental on myself, as well as sacrificing a social life and love life for my work life. Seriously, I’ve been finding myself on dates thinking, urggghhh this is a waste of time I could be home working on such and such.
What is the most fulfilling thing about running your own shop ?
The most fulfilling thing about running my own shop is seeing what I’ve done out in the physical world. It’s one thing when it’s in your head, and then when you create it you’re like ‘ok, ok’ but when you put it out and offer it up to others and they fuck with it as much as you do….that feeling is everything. Like I said, your business is your baby, no one ever wants their baby to be rejected or criticized by others.
Something you are looking forward to accomplishing this year 2017?
I am looking forward to releasing a cut and sew collection for TiKeDi, I am currently developing VIII XXIX by TiKeDi which is basically the infusion line to what we already have. I have so many ideas that I just need to get out so I cannot wait to get it solified.
Being a business owner often requires you to be a jack of all trades what are something hidden talents you have ?
This is an understatement of all times, I have to wear so many hats running my own business that sometimes I question myself. But something that I am really really good at is making things really pretty. So when I am not designing for TiKeDi, I am desigining under TKD Designs….yes I am a web and graphic designer beasting both the back end and front end of people websites. I always joke that I wish I knew how to hardcore hack because ultimately that’s what I want to do, hack the hell out of someones computer, phone, or bank account, just because I can.
Favorite childhood hobby ?
My favorite childhood hobby was drawing. I remember growing up I used to draw all the time (which is weird because I don’t know how to draw now). But when I was younger my mom would always find an art class for me and a writing class for my sister. When she was going to college, she enrolled us in classes as well. One of my favorite things that we used to do, was every Saturday my mom, sister, and I would spend the day creating and doing arts and crafts at the dining room table in our apartment. Then we would head to Downtown Brooklyn, shop a little and eat fish and chips.