Kia: My name is Kia, an entrepreneur and a digital designer.
Winnie: I want to know the full story. Where does your creativity, entrepreneurial skills and tech skills come from? Give us the full story!
Kia: I am from East London, born and bred. And where I'm from, I feel like there are so many creative people, so that's just what I've grown up around. In terms of tech, my dad is very tech-oriented, my parents are gamers, so I played games from a young age.
When I got to primary school, my entrepreneurial skills flourished because my mom had taught me how to knit over the summer. I started selling scarves for one pound. My friends could pick the colour they wanted; I would go home, make it at night, and bring it in the next day.
Then I got to secondary school, where I saw the older girls selling cookies and doughnuts. I sat my parents down, Dragon's Den style, telling them about the profit margins, obviously not in those big words because I was only 11. All I asked for was a five-pound investment that if they gave me today, they'd have it back tomorrow. I was that certain I could sell it. I got the five pounds and started selling, and lo and behold, I made a profit, and I just kept selling. That was me for five years. For context, I was the first person in my year to have an iPhone, and I bought it myself. That's how much money I made.
Winnie: Wow. That's amazing. That's a really great achievement! Then what?
Kia: Then I went to Sixth Form, one of the best in the country. It was very strict. Then I went to university to study French and business.
I always say if I could go back in time, I would study something tech-based, like computer science. Not that you need it, and Love Circular is proof of that, but looking back at it, I always had that passion, but I just didn't know.
It was my final year when I started my platform, Pennies to Pounds, a financial literacy platform. My friends at university didn't know how to manage their money; loads were in debt. Just because they had no one to tell them how to manage their money. I realized if my friends are asking me for help, there will be other people our age asking for help. So that's how I started that Pennies to Pounds.
In 2020 I had a lot more time to sit down and reflect on what Kia wants to do with her life. I wanted to explore the tech route further, so I started learning how to code during lockdown. I sat down and learned Python, which was very challenging, but in a good way. From there, a friend of mine pointed me in Love Circular's direction and said, "I think this is a good course you should look into."
Obviously, the rest is history.
Winnie: So tell me, where are you now? What do you do now? Who is Kia today?
Kia: As of right now, I have completed my Love Circular Bootcamp, which has been amazing. It was a bit challenging juggling the stuff I have going on towards the end, but the support has been incredible. I'm now working on my portfolio to see what roles I can go into and build up my skills that way.
Pennies to Pounds is still growing. Because we're in our third year running now, I've got a lot more help, affording me more time to delve into other passions that I have while still sustaining that. Hopefully, I'll be getting a role soon and seeing what my tech world looks like. I see so much content out there, saying, "Get into tech. This is the time!" And I'm like, I hear you!
Winnie: Now really is the time! So how do you feel about the industry in general, like UX/UI, tech? I know you're relatively new, but how has your experience been so far?
Kia: I've tailored my Twitter feed to follow certain hashtags like UX/UI, so I see a lot of people and content that way, which has been really beneficial. I feel like the community is very supportive. I think there are some challenges, and it is a bit nerve-wracking. When I'm hearing from my friends who already have a number of years' experience, venting their frustrations or concerns being in the industry, it's always a bit like, oh, is that really what I want to do?
But I've learned that there will always be obstacles in every industry. I started Pennies to Pounds when I was 21, and being a young black woman, it took a long time to be taken seriously just because of who I am or what I look like. I feel like some of those challenges are similar in the tech industry, but I've already gone through it once. Don't be afraid! Whatever opportunity you want, you can go get it. Even though it's a bit nerve-wracking, I'm just going to go forward and do it!
Winnie: Definitely! So, how has your time at Love Circular impacted Pennies to Pounds? If at all?
Kia: I would say is it has impacted it in a positive way. I had taught myself how to illustrate, so I was initially doing a lot of the graphic design that you see on Pennies to Pounds. But in terms of our website, I was hands-off. Now, after the Love Circular Bootcamp, I've learned loads of things. Now I'm looking at the website, and I want to change everything now because now I know the proper rules that you should follow.
We were encouraged to start doing UI designs daily when we first started. I started even before we had our first lessons, I went into Figma, had a little play around, and now I know better. Even down to accessibility, I wasn't making sure that colours were accessible for people, which impacts the content I create now. I've got to thank Love Circular for that, for opening my mind.
Winnie: Fantastic! Just being around it all, you learn so much. Thanks for sharing, Kia!
Kia: That's my journey! I hope you find it informative. Thank you to Love Circular for featuring me. I'm so honoured. So have a good day!
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