Having trained as an accountant with KPMG, and then working in the City, Tori was excited to join Knoops in 2019, after having her two daughters, to assist with raising the funding for the initial expansion into London from Jens’ first shop in Rye.
Then diagnosed with breast cancer, Tori took some time out for treatment. With the excellent support Knoops gave her, she came back just over 9 months after her diagnosis to help out.
“Nothing too big ” she was told, but this allowed her to be something other than a cancer patient and Mum and to really learn what it was that she wanted, and to be part of the growth of this incredible brand.
Roll forward, with her hair grown back and plenty of chocolate drinks fuelling her recovery, she now looks after the UK business, everything from the store estate to the eCommerce site and the small factory they now run in Sussex where it all started.
I am currently CEO of Knoops. We prepare expertly crafted chocolate drinks in our cafes and offer products to make the drinks at home.
I started off achieving a degree in law at Bristol University, but soon decided I didn’t want to work in legal. Instead, I applied to the Big Four and landed a role at KPMG where I got my ACA. Audit isn’t the most interesting career start, but it helped me build financial understanding and I met some great friends and mentors.
From there, I worked in a number of accounting roles and then had my two children and decided to move out of the City. My network introduced me to William Gordon Harris, Knoops’ Executive Chairman, who needed some help in early-stage funding at Knoops.
I came in to help with the finance but fell in love with the product and ethos. I then had a break for treatment for breast cancer, and when I came back the role evolved. I am constantly learning but can apply lots of my financial logic and experience.
Not really – I think once you do an ACA there is a path, but the move from financial derivatives to chocolate drinks is quite stark!
Yes, there are always challenges, but overcoming them is what makes us grow and become better leaders. After having my children and cancer I didn’t know where to go next, but my experiences gave me strength and shaped a new path – a path of which I’m thoroughly enjoying!
My children and watching them develop is my biggest achievement. I am also proud of overcoming breast cancer at 35 and working alongside this.
Hard work and believing in your team. Early on, a mentor told me that having a team that is better than you is key to success. I’ve been able to apply my wider experience to my role, but having a strong team is what makes the biggest impact.
Mentoring is vital – I have been mentored by great people throughout my career and continue to be. I have also mentored a number of people and thoroughly enjoy doing so. I think accepting help and guidance is a huge strength and the learning experience is invaluable.
Better provision of affordable childcare and the continuation of flexible working to accommodate different situations and experiences.
Stop worrying so much and believe in yourself. I have always suffered from imposter syndrome. Mentoring and CBT have helped me handle this and if I feel it creeping in, I have techniques to overcome it.
Continuing to learn and develop my skills as a CEO whilst also growing the exciting brand, Knoops. We have ambitious plans to open 70 sites in the UK in the next five years.