If you’ve ever wanted to start your own clothing brand but have no clue where to start, Koria Ampey should definitely be on your radar. Building her brand during the pandemic, Koria self-funded 3 Ten Denim with an initial $20k – while managing postpartum depression and motherhood for the first time. If you want to learn more about Koria Ampey and her journey in the fashion industry as a black woman designer, keep reading below!


What made you decide to start a denim clothing brand? 

I’ve been into fashion since I was a teenager working in women’s clothing stores. I started my brand because of the love I grew for clothing and styling.   

What were some of the challenges you faced early on when creating your first pair of jeans?   

I knew absolutely nothing about the industry when I started, so that was a challenge in itself. Aside from that, I was challenged with establishing relationships, learning measurements, identifying the materials I wanted to use and the percentages I should mix to create the “perfect fit”. 

With almost everything we do in life; the first time is always hard. When you gather all your resources, learn your flow, and become confident in what you’re doing, it gets easier. Think about the first time you rode a bike… you have your helmet, training wheels and someone walking alongside you to make sure you don’t fall. You’re extremely nervous about trying something new and the thought of scraping your knee is constantly running through your mind. Then eventually you get confident peddling and balancing your body weight. Now you can take the training wheels off, your mom doesn’t need to stand on the side of you anymore, and riding with a helmet is optional.  

I’ve scraped my knees in this process, made some mistakes and even wasted some money, but more importantly I’ve learned.  

How much would you say you initially invested in creating 3 Ten Denim?   

Whew! I’d estimate my initial investment to be around $20,000.  

Since you started your business with your own savings, do you intend to always stay independent, or do you see yourself working with a business partner at some point?  

3 TEN is my brand, it is something that will always be associated with Koria and I am confident in that. However, 3TEN has much more growth to withstand, and for the levels I’m trying to reach, I can’t do it alone. I’d more so be looking to build a team, but if someone comes along and can help me elevate my business, invest, provide new opportunities or any other benefits, I’d be open to establishing that relationship.  

You got your bachelor’s degree in human resources development. What does that intel and how has your degree helped you as a business owner?   

HR is pretty much the part of a business responsible for recruiting, firing, training, administering benefits, and providing resources to a company’s employees. This has helped me as an entrepreneur in teaching me business etiquette- how to professionally communicate, damage control, marketing, record keeping, attention to detail and presentation. I spoke earlier about building a team and when that time comes, I’ll be able to fully utilize my professional experience to hire and train quality candidates so that my business operates at a high level.  

Launching a business during the pandemic couldn’t have been easy. Talk about what that experience was like and a few things you wish you knew when you first started your business.   

I’m sure you’ve heard jokes about how people were spending money so freely during the Pandemic; some even refer to it as the “band-emic”. Honestly, I couldn’t have chosen a better time to start my business. The most difficult part of starting a business during that time was delayed shipping times from my manufacturer. Other than that, my sales were doing extremely well, and I received a return on my investment. 

You started 3 Ten Denim with 3 denim styles and now 4 years later you have expanded to menswear, loungewear and now athleisure. What would you like to see your brand doing next?   

I’d like to add more of a range in denim styles and garments (shades, styles, cuts, and designs). Additionally, I’d like to do a storefront in Michigan, showcase 3 TEN in Fashion Week again this Fall and I’d like to take a step back from menswear for now, and focus solely on women’s clothing. I believe I have so much to offer in the world of women’s fashion and my goal is to maximize that before prematurely moving to the next facet of my brand.  

Do you see yourself adding plus sizes down the line? What was the initial reason for not having larger sizes?   

Absolutely! That is something I’m working on in the very near future. Since starting 3 TEN my goal has been to maintain a brand that focuses on inclusion and confidence. 3 TEN doesn’t have a “target” audience, because I want EVERYONE to wear my garments feeling and looking good. As a self-funded business and dealing with manufacturers who have high minimum quantities for orders, I couldn’t afford it at that time. I knew adding plus sizes was something I always wanted to do and that I could circle back and do when time and funding permits.  

With that, I’ve been doing a bit of trial run with 3 TEN SPORT- adding larger sizes to my inventory and conducting sales analysis to see how consumers react.  

Over the years you’ve had various brand campaigns when announcing a new collection. Where do you pull inspiration from and what would be your dream brand campaign?   

When I’m brainstorming for a campaign, I first think about relevancy, and how my audience will relate to what I’m trying to convey.  I then think about the appeal and how I can create a “wow-factor”. The time of the year also plays a huge part in how I campaign for a launch as well.  

After considering those things, I’ll spend endless hours on google and Pinterest until I can gather enough inspiration to visualize my thoughts. The goal at the end of each campaign is to SELL, so when the display is well planned and creative, that typically translates into sales.  

My dream campaign would be a photoshoot on a horse or an elephant, lion, or a cheetah!  

A few years ago, you became a mother for the first time to a beautiful baby boy. Talk to us about how you balance motherhood while running 3 Ten Denim.    

Thank you! Balancing motherhood with anything is tough, but I’ve learned that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. No one will know what you need until you tell them. I’m blessed to have a strong support system, so if I need help with my son, I’ll see if someone is able to keep him while I work, rest and/or reset. I’ve overcome my fear and apprehensions of daycare, so now I have more time to work on 3 TEN, content creation, and self-work so that I can be a happy and healthy mother to my child.  

When you became a mother, you also lost your father, who you were close to around the same time. Take us back to this time in your life and talk about how you were able to push through the challenges you faced during this time.   

When people say “there’s no right way to grieve” that is insanely true. There are so many steps in the grieving process, and they happen at no right time, and in no specific order. When I found out I was pregnant, my dad was declining daily. When he passed away, of course I was saddened, but I was so concerned with miscarrying, that I tried to occupy my mind with everything else around me. I did a great job of trying to avoid the loss of my dad so that I didn’t lose my son.  

I allowed my relationship to consume me, which was the only thing that allowed me to escape. My family and friends were very supportive and attentive to me as well. All that kept me going during my pregnancy was love from the people that I still have here. As a result, my business suffered because I wasn’t putting in the work to maintain it.  

After giving birth, I suffered postpartum depression. The avoidance behavior I displayed after losing my dad caught up to me, amongst so many other changes that come with being a new mom.  I wasn’t motivated to do ANYTHING. My main focus was adjusting to my life with a new child and still running a household. 

 3 TEN was not a priority, and it was a blessing to even see a sale come through after months of not posting on social media or blasting out emails. Giving up on my business was never an option, but it was something I had to take a break from. During this time, I was presented with the opportunity to showcase 3 TEN during NYFW which gave me a spark, but when that was over, I shut back down.  

I started 3 TEN SPORT because after giving birth, my body changed, and I didn’t feel comfortable in actual clothes. Even then, I wasn’t invested all the way in my business, I just knew that I had someone depending on me, so I had to try my best.  

Here we are, 2 years later and I’m back! I’m healed, I’m better, and I’m ready to walk into everything God has in store for me!  

For any women battling postpartum depression like you did, what are a few tips that helped you overcome it?  

Overcoming PPD was very difficult- it took me nearly two years to bring myself out of that space. These are some of the things that helped me during this time.   

Get Help– Find a therapist or counselor to help you sort through your thoughts and feelings. If you can’t afford therapy, lean on the people that love you.  

Tap into your spirituality– During this time, my relationship with God was strengthened so much! I was at a place so low that the only thing I could do was pray, fast, and seek the word of God which is where I found my strength.  

Spend time in Nature– I made it a priority to take daily walks. In doing this, I grew appreciation for things that we see daily, but don’t notice just how beautiful they are. This brought me an extreme amount of peace and gratitude.  

Journaling– It’s the perfect way to release your thoughts without judgment, or opinions of others. 

Diet- I’m not talking about just food; I’m talking about the things you allow into your body and your space. I took breaks from social media, stopped listening to certain types of music, cut people off, and got intentional about how I spent my time. My goal was to heal, and I couldn’t do that with clouded judgment and negative influences.  

There are so many resources for women battling PPD, but these are things that helped me in my personal experience. I’m here to tell anyone who has or is battling, that you WILL be ok, and you’ll be a completely different person once you make it to the other side of this! I know it’s hard, but your child(ren) deserves a happy and healthy mom. 

On your new YouTube channel you discuss your favorite beauty products from
perfumes to makeup products. Tell us about your top 3 staple perfume fragrances
and 3 hair products you can’t live without.

My top 3 perfumes are: Tiziana Terenzi- Cabiria, Parfums De Marly- Royal Essence and Byredo- Mojave Ghost! You can checkout my channel for a detailed video on other brands in my collection as well!

The top 3 beauty products I can’t live without are: 3 Ten x Pretty in Glam “Perfect Fit” Lip gloss (The name speaks for itself), Bio Silk Hair Serum (light weight, smells good, and keeps your hair shiny) and Hair Misses Seamless Clip-Ins (quick and convenient way to turn you into a baddie. Versatile and perfect for in between hair appointments) 

From your Instagram we can tell you love to dress well and travel all over the world. How did you discover your own style and what are a few brands you would love to see paired with 3 Ten Denim?   

My style has changed so much over the years! Sometimes I’ll look back at old photos like “what the heck was I wearing?” Now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve found it very important to develop a style that compliments my body type. I love mixing highs and lows because you really can never go wrong that way!  

I can’t say that I have a particular brand that I’d love to see paired with 3 TEN. I just enjoy seeing customers wearing my pieces and expressing themselves through their own styles. 

What’s next for 3 Ten Denim? Do you have any new collections dropping this year? Anything special you can share with Galore readers? 

I’m excited to announce that I’m working on a new denim launch! Many of my consumers thought that I stopped making jeans, but I haven’t. I’m working on more elevated designs that are on trend, better quality, and the same amazing fit! I will continue to release new styles on 3 TEN SPORT while I work proactively on the denim pieces. 


Feature Editor: Taylor Winter Wilson (@taylorwinter)

Photographer: Evan Clark (@eazyvisualz)

Hairstylist: Kia Nichelle (@hairmisses)

Makeup: Keynesha Lewis (@key_the_creator)

Gimme More Fashion

Do You Like?

Some things are only found on Facebook. Don't miss out.