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Questions with a Maker: Candy Shop Vintage

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We're excited to introduce you to Candy Shop Vintage, a fabulous brand native to Charleston. We asked them a couple questions and this is what they had to say. 

What is your name?
Deirdre Zahl
What do you make?
I am the owner and designer of Candy Shop Vintage, a vintage inspired jewelry brand.


Tell us about a day in the life of you!
I wake up and help my daughter Daphne get ready for school - if it's a nice day we try to walk since it is close, sometimes taking our poodle Birthday. Usually I have only had coffee and am still basically in my pajamas at drop off hidden under a coat - not very glamorous! So then I come home, get ready for work and head down to our shop on Cannon Street in Charleston that also serves as our office. Myself or one of my employees opens the shop and we go through everything we have on the schedule for that day. That can be anything from straightening and restocking the store, sorting and pricing our vintage jewelry, filling wholesale orders with our Candy Shop Collection line and our Charleston Rice Beads, or planning an event or a new product launch. We are always thinking at least three to four months in advance. We talk about marketing ideas, put out new inventory and I work on design, marketing and production, tracking current orders and helping out in store customers. The best part of having a store is finally getting to meet some of our customers face to face and watching what they gravitate to in person. One of our favorite things to do after work is go to The Ordinary for their "Oyster Hour" during the week when they serve half priced oysters at happy hour before we head home and mix up some great cocktails. It has become a bit of a weekly ritual.
What’s unique about your process?
I source and find vintage pieces of jewelry that I love. From there, I hone in on certain styles or eras to focus on then build a designed collection of contemporary styles around a "vintage inspired" story. This current collection has something of a Parisian theme and previous collections have been inspired by anything from animals to Egyptian revival to 1970's Asian inspired runway jewelry. After we have the "story" we figure out how to produce the pieces we want - what components need to be made where, and how much time it is all going to take before launch. There is a lot of planning involved, and while the creative part is organic, the production and execution of our designs is very organized and streamlined. I think this way of working is unique to some creative people, who tend to work more organically and emotionally to form a story or idea, rather than starting there and letting the creative process follow.


If a candle fragrance described your personality, what would it be and why?
Probably a French 75 - my favorite cocktail that inspired one of our most popular bracelets! It has a fresh, sweet lemony and is a vintage classic. I think we talked about making one of these - we need to get back on that!
What images, people, places and things inspire you?
I belong to a lot of vintage collector groups on Facebook. We are all constantly sharing photos of amazing pieces of vintage jewelry, as well as vintage ads and images from the 20's through 90's. I look to some of these classic visuals to inform my brand and try to reinvent them in a modern way.
I also love to travel to different cities and towns - exploring antiques markets, seeing fashion art exhibits in New York or Miami and connecting with other creative people in my industry. It really can be anything from a geographic location, to a specific era in design - but either way I do like to keep my collections "thematic."





Where do you live? What is your favorite thing about your surroundings?
I live in Charleston, SC, in a quiet and residential part of Downtown called Wagener Terrace. It's nice feeling like I am coming home at the end of the day and into a quieter part of town, even if it's just a couple miles up the road, especially with the constant hustle and bustle of retail.
It is a newer neighborhood by Charleston standards and we found a wonderful house built in 1948 which is one of my favorite eras of design. I love this city because it is constantly evolving. It has this wonderful, historic color palette and feminine aesthetic and yet is also growing and shifting into this incredibly cosmopolitan destination. It has been really interesting to see that transformation over the last decade I have lived here and it has an incredibly supportive creative community.
Share one thing about being a maker that might surprise people.
While I do love to design and create I also run many other facets of the business - from managing the cash flow to sweeping the floors of the shop at the end of the day. We have three parts of the business - online retail, wholesale (to other stores) and our small brick and mortar shop on Cannon. I am constantly jumping from one to the other - it keeps me on my toes for sure!


Shop the collection here


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