We had the good fortune of connecting with Tori Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tori, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The thought process behind starting my own business was actually already part of me. I come from a bloodline and family of black-owned businesses and creatives. My passion for cooking, catering and creating a food product line is because of my late Grandmother, Sarah (Jefferson) Brown, who was a true Southern Belle from, Santee, SC.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My name is Shef, Tori Brown and I spell Shef with an S, to emphasize S-H-E, to represent women in the food industry,

I have been introducing the North to an authentic Southern-style catering menu and private dining experience since 2015, with love and true Southern sass, by way of my late Grandmother’s  teachings.
I have a scaling food product line with items like my famous Bamma Fish Fry (used by Tabitha Brown and Kendall Kyndall and over 100 Food Influencers like Kimmy’s Kreations, Candace the Chef, Chef Shaiheem, Law Cannon. Pat Lee etc.) and also my Breakfast Belle Hot Sauce and Bamma Chicken Fry.
It’s been 7 years of grinding and staying consistent and true to my brand and organic growth. It hasn’t been easy, but I have always been one to “believe it before I see it”. Having a vision and seeing myself execute each goal or milestone I set forth is what kept me going. Plus my daughter seeing me and wanting to learn about business is another major factor that encourages me to keep going strong.
Coming from a hospitality background. I’ve learned that:
1. Quality products and customer service will get you far and creates a high retention and referral rate.
2. I have learned to go for and ask for what I want. Major opportunities only come by so often, so ask for what you want. The worst someone can say is no. If they do, use that as fuel to turn it into a yes.
3. Know your target market and price point. While we’d love everyone to buy our products I know not everyone is my customer and I don’t have to settle for less than. For example: I know that I am creating a higher end, artisan and gourmet line of quality food products, with a dash of southern sass to honor my South Carolina roots and bloodline. In order to do that I set that tone with my story, packaging and price point.
4. Keep learning and be teachable. I have mentors and have even dedicated this year to “being a student”. I have joined a few business accelerator programs and cohorts like (ReSET and Amazon Black Business Accelerator and HER Podium speaking course), that have allowed me to learn more about the business end and financials of it all. The knowledge and networking from those programs have been invaluable.
5. Most importantly, work on creating balance in your life. There is no reward or trophy for most exhausted or burnt-out. Take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor, allow yourself some me time and grace and simply enjoy time with your loved ones.
I want the world to know that Breakfast Belle started as a vision early on to becoming reality. That my brand and story will touch and inspire young women and have a sportive social impact on the food industry,
My food product line will continue to grow and I will have my food product line in major grocery stores in 2023.
Shef, Tori Brown and Breakfast Belle will be a household brand/name.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Breakfast/Brunch: We would start at my spot. As a Shef and Owner of Breakfast Belle, LLC. I would make them a few of my most popular items. Fish and Grits, using my famous Bamma Fish Fry. Chicken and Waffles using my Bamma Chicken Fry, fluffy scrambled eggs, a my country hash brown casserole, southern style yogurt parfaits, gran marnier mimosas, and my Breakfast Belle Sweet Tea.

Lunch: I would take them to SONO (South Norwalk). It’s a cute and lively area with restaurants, boutiques and close to the beach. We would eat outdoors at Washington Prime and order their lamb. We’d stop Eco-Evolution for some shopping for some beautiful, sustainable and unique items.
Dinner: We’d head to New Haven at Jazzy’s Cabaret for an evening of food and one of their live music shows. It’s black-owned and I love getting their Jerk Chicken, with a side of fried okra, rice and peas and sweet plantain. Their bartender Leon makes this amazing drink called the “SMASH”. It’s like a blackberry lemonade with D’usse in it. After we’d probably stop at the Owl’s Nest Cigar lounge or Barcade to play some old skool arcade games.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My late Grandmother, Mom and Auntie for instilling woman-hood, teaching me how to cook and sharing their tips. My friends, family, Staff and Mentors for supporting and rocking with me and believing in my vision..

My cousin Tegan Francis-Smith, my first business partner.

Tabitha Brown, My 1st major celebrity endorsement for Bamma Fish Fry. She graciously used her platform to uplift another woman-owned, small business like mine.

Teresa Thompson for encouraging to take a leap of faith and start producing my products and to ship it to Tabitha Brown,

Katrina Pilver and Fred Paulk for encouraging me to switch to using organic sugar in my product to also appeal to the vegan community.

My Daughter for being my motivation and always reminding to live a balanced life. My partner Rah, for the most supportive, encouraging life-mate.

My Food Influencer network and Customers that have supported and/or purchased my products.

Most importantly, ALL PRAISES TO THE MOST HIGH for giving me this talent to share with the world and for keeping me.

Website: https://breakfastbelle.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bammafishfryandmore/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/breakfastbelles

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcRN_VfQgwxLs6PMEruVTog

Other: Shopify Store: https://breakfastbelle.myshopify.com/

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