Tori Bowman

City: Perth

Business: Social.Folio+ Tori Bowman Creative

What: Social.Folio is the answer the next generation of models...the "Social Supermodels"

What was the catalyst for you launching your business?

I was working as a model agent for Vivien’s Model Management, and it was clear that social media was becoming a huge element to each models “portfolio” of work – and it actually started to have a direct effect on the number of jobs they were booking.

It seemed absolutely necessary to build a tool that would not only showcase the models imagery, but the the size of their social influence as well.

Describe the biggest setback you faced when establishing your business? How did it affect you and how did you push through?

Managing a team is tough. There was a point when my developer lost faith & interest in the product. A part of me felt a bit flat, as it sucks when someone loses faith in your concept, but it’s your job to nurture their state of mind, and get to the bottom of the issue.

I had to get it out of him, as he was trying to be as honest and polite as he could!

Basically I ended up putting him on another project, one where he has slightly more creative freedom. I then had to hire another developer to finish his project. This cost me time and money, but keeping happy & motivated team is key.

This is something I am still working out.

Everyone has days where they feel flat or uninspired - do you have any tricks or tactics for overcoming these feelings?

Running with very loud music is always the number one solution. Endorphins are my best friend! If that doesn’t help I tend to grab a coffee or a wine and read a trashy mag. There is nothing wrong with a little timeout.

What has been your most effective marketing tactic or strategy?

This is something I am still working out. My opinion at this stage is to trial all of the platforms that are relevant to your customer & then slowly start to cull. It’s all trial and error to begin with. Patience will get you a long way.

What is the most courageous thing you've done in business?

Actually starting the business! I was 23 at the time & unable to secure a business loan. Luckily the bank agreed to go ahead with a personal loan, which was daunting. Resigning & going into debt at the same time isn’t an amazing feeling … but without jumping into it, I wouldn’t have a business!

Most recently, taking part in the Springboard (SBE) program this year also felt incredibly courageous. Social.Folio was one of 10 female led, Australian companies this year to join Springboard. Getting into SBE gives you the opportunity to work directly with a whole range of Australian & American powerhouses who build roads for women in biz (especially tech) around the world.

The thing you realise very quickly after getting in, is that it’s not so much help you need… it’s confidence, trust & balls! If you do make it into the program – you must have something good, so go with that belief! It was a terrifying time, and the women of SBE pushed me into areas where it was a situation of “sink of swim”.

I still feel quite junior in the business world at times, but I guess this is where it gets fun! Google, the internet, social media… there is NOTHING I cannot teach myself. It pains me to admit that while I work in tech… I am still learning how to spell the word entre-pre-neur (yes, I am perfectly aware that I am 26).

SBE is amazing… but it is also T.O.U.G.H. The first day of “bootcamp”, you hear a warning. The warning is that SBE is like the Hotel California. A place where … “You can check out but you can never leave!”. It is a four day event. Sounds short right?! No. These four days feel like you’re running four marathons. In the desert. Carrying weights.

Each day you move around to different locations… LinkedIn (which is AMAZINGGGG by the way), Gravity, EY, Corrs Chambers. When you arrive you sit with your fellow founders …aka your SBE family. Laptops out, fear swallowed … game face on.

The days are all about your pitch. Your company pitch… NOT your product pitch, which is surprisingly the hardest part to comprehend. You pitch in front of panels made up of VC’s, entrepreneurs, investors, alumni, the board … and politicians!

You pitch & then you listen. And you hold on to every single little comment you hear. It might be praise, constructive criticism,  questions, excitement … doubt.

My first pitch was good. Really good!

My second pitch was like that scene from Titanic … where the ship hits the iceberg… & no one wants to look because it’s just so painful to see. In other words it was an almighty, colossal f*** up, and I was the first to ever cry in front of the panel of investors. When my Pitch 2 wrapped up (which felt like 25 YEARS later) I wanted to crawl into a hole & sleep for a decade.

But I didn’t…. instead I hid in the toilets of EY & cried into a toilet roll holder 

Words of Wisdom / Personal Quote

Being a nice person can get you a long way.
My favourite words of wisdon? “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” –  Warren Buffet