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BoQ Entrepreneur: Dorian Widling

An interview with Dorian Widling of Broken Tower Knives.

a man in a blue shirt standing in front of a machine.
a man working on a piece of wood with a pencil.

Briefly describe your business.

At Broken Tower Knives I create hand-made custom kitchen knives for the home or professional cook. But I’m about so much more than that. As someone who is obsessed with food and good eating, I’m working hard to create a brand that helps passionate cooks to unlock their full culinary potential. I strive to create products that inspire and motivate, and I do that by hand-crafting the highest quality, hand-made kitchen tools.

What brought you to the region?

My wife and I were posted to this region when I was working as a full-time military technician, about eight years ago. To be honest, we weren’t sure how we would feel moving to a smaller city, but we almost instantly fell in love with the Quinte area. Now, we can’t imagine ourselves ever leaving!

What was the hardest thing about starting a business

The hardest thing for me has been to learn the lesson of patience. A lot of us entrepreneurial types don’t like to wait for things to happen. We’re results oriented, after all. For me, learning that growth and scale takes time has been one of the hardest things to come to grips with. It’s something I struggle with every day.

a plate of sliced tomatoes and a bowl of shredded noodles.
What makes the Bay of Quinte a good fit for your business?

The food culture here is incredible! From amazing restaurants to great local products, there isn’t a better area to operate a food-centric business. Wherever I turn, there seems to be someone doing amazing and inspiring things with food.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs in the area?

A lot of people wait for the stars to align and for everything to be perfect before executing on their vision. My advice would be not to wait for perfection before moving forward. There is never a “right” time to do things. Make a rough plan, decide what the first two steps are and then execute. Learn as you go.

How have you changed your operations during the pandemic?

I just want to say that operating a business in the most difficult of times is where resilience comes from. That said, if the pandemic has taught me one thing it’s that a business needs multiple customer acquisition streams to be effective. That lesson was the reason that our newest division, Broken Tower Culinary, was born.

Broken Tower Culinary is a manufactured-cookware brand that I’m in the early stages of launching. The idea is to serve clients through that brand and eventually elevate them into the world of custom kitchen knives.

What is something good that has come from this difficult situation (the pandemic)?

The sheer amount of innovative thinking (especially in the food industry) is something incredibly positive. But maybe the most beautiful thing to happen is how much closer we have all grown as a community. It’s refreshing to know that more and more people are supporting small businesses so that we all get through these difficult times.

If you could have one word tattooed on you, what would it be?

YOLO. Just kidding, I’m not really the tattoo type…

an open book with a pencil sticking out of it.

A collection of all our stories from the BOQ

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a man riding a wave on top of a surfboard.

Let’s see what we got!

a black and blue logo with the words bay of county.

The Bay of Quinte RMB Land Acknowledgement

The Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board is committed to acknowledging, appreciating and understanding the Indigenous peoples’ historic connection to this land and to raising awareness by building relationships in collaboration with Indigenous partners and communities. 

We recognize and acknowledge that we are living and working on the traditional territory of the Wendat, Mississauga, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee which includes the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte) with whom we work in direct partnership with. 

This partnership focuses on the common goal of celebrating the region with the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka who are equal partners within the organization and at the Board of Directors table contributing to the mandate and operations.

This mandate includes listening to, learning from, and collaborating with the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka and actively incorporating their culture and heritage into the practice of responsible destination marketing and management of the region.

We understand that this land acknowledgement is only a small step towards the larger process of reparations and reconciliation.

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