What started out as a simple hobby to outfit herself and her best friend “Tanuke” has grown into a successful business. Fashion designer Krystal Cobham, who started her business, Kadburry Designs, in January 2012, said thanks to her loved ones who gave her a “huge push”, she took her talent more seriously.
“I won’t say I chose fashion design… It chose me. I decided after getting an outfit made for the first time and examining it… that it was something I could have done myself. I started out by tracing clothing I already had, then graduated to free hand using measurements. At first, it was experimentation and mostly for my best friend and I. However, after I started to gain exposure and clients, I decided to do it full time.”
She added: “After losing my job, it was something to pass the time. A huge push from family and my best friend got me to where I was comfortable in my abilities to make clothing for other people. I was 25 years old at the time… self-taught with no formal training.”
The 33-year-old said it was actually her best friend “Tanuke” who named her business, which is located in Jericho Market Hill, St George.
“I went to her with an idea and I was not disappointed. Kadburry comes from the ‘K’ in Krystal, fused together with my favourite junk food, Cadbury chocolate. Kadburry’s pronunciation in itself has a sensual sound and reminds people of something sweet… like my personality.”
Kadburry Designs specialises in casual, semi-formal, resort and beach wear. It mainly caters to females, petite to plus size, but also creates for males as well. Menswear would be shirts or beach shorts.
“Kadburry Designs is for any day or night event. Although I specialize in certain types of clothing, you can still get lingerie or a gown, for example. I’ve made clothing for bridal parties, graduations, christenings, beach parties and photoshoots just to name a few.”
She continued: “I have worked with local artists and the dynamic and royal entertainment agency to outfit backup dancers for the International Bashment Soca Competition… They include: Stiffy, Walkes, Lil Rick, Coopa Dan and Rhea. Moreover, I have also outfitted artists such as Kandie and Azura for their music videos and Mara Rose for stage performances.”
Krystal, who graduated from the Barbados Community College with an Associate Degree in environmental science and mathematics, said there were a few challenges when she first started.
“Funding, investing in equipment and gaining exposure were my major challenges. I want to thank my dad, Winston Cobham, for being my biggest supporter and stability. One regret is that I could have taken the risk sooner to invest in my business and trusted my instinct more,” she said.
The fashion designer said she creates for customers ranging from tots to seniors. She has made outfits for newborns as well as grandparents.
“I strive for customer satisfaction. It is my goal to bring their ideas to reality. Seeing the excitement and smiles from clients after collecting a completed garment gives me the most fulfilment. Most of the time, clients already know what they want. However, I draw some inspiration from movies and social media, specifically Pinterest.”
Krystal said her business initially started growing via customer endorsements but branched off to social media. She has also done a couple paid advertisements to boost her reach.
“During peak periods I practice better time management. My schedule is usually six days a week between the hours of 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. but during peak periods I have to put in extra hours. I also post a deadline notice when I have reached my quota so that I’m not overwhelmed and overworked.”
Her vision for the business is simple: “In the future, I can see Kadburry Designs incorporating a seasonal clothing line with a team as well as starting a mentorship programme. I’d also like to have my own physical store and have my brand on the regional and international stage.”
The young business owner has complemented her designing talents with an active role in a modelling agency.
“I joined the Emerald Model Management team in January 2019 and have since been a part of the agency. This has helped me become more confident and gain exposure for my brand. I am now more aware of what goes on behind the scenes in the fashion industry.”
Krystal said at one time her dream job was to work in a bank, but she certainly never thought she would own her own business.
But what keeps her going? “I’m motivated by a challenge or opportunity. Additionally, setting goals helps me to remain focused. Encouragement and support from my family and friends also boosts my attitude and determination.”
The entrepreneur’s advice is sound: “Follow your dreams and your passion… Strive to do your best work. Entrepreneurship is not easy. If you are not self-motivated, this is not the field for you. There will be many days and nights you’ll feel like giving up. You need to pull from inside of you to propel yourself. If your heart is in it, your body will follow and also remember there is always room for improvement. Don’t compare yourself to others.”
Balance is key, so for Krystal there is a list of activities she enjoys when she is not busy working.
“I love dancing. Salsa and ballroom socials are what I vibe to. Going to the beach is a close second. I’m not a good swimmer, but I enjoy paddling through the water and watching the waves. It’s mentally and physically relaxing. Modelling, reading and kayaking are some other interests of mine.”
However, one personal regret she has was not spending more time with her mum, the late Angela Cobham. She said: “But my memories of her I will cherish the rest of my life.” But the past is the past, and for the present day, she finds her joy in the ones she loves the most.
“Health and happiness matter most to me and I find that happiness with family: my dad, my brother Dale Cobham and sister Jalana Eastmond, my partner Troy Bourne, my friends, travelling and the career I love. I want to leave this earth knowing I made a positive difference in someone’s life,” Krystal said. (IMC)