How Candice Kaye filled a gap in the textile industry with Candice Kaye Design

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Describe your business in a few words?

Candice Kaye Design is a textile design company specializing in bespoke wallpaper, fabric and rugs within the hospitality and private residence space.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I feel like I always knew I wanted to have my own company, or work for myself. I used to cut out images of fashion and design magazines when I was a kid and create mood boards and collages. When I learned about the textile industry I noticed a gap in the market. Companies weren’t really doing bespoke one of a kind pieces tailored to the space that were affordable. I wanted to do something different and make you look at textile differently than before. That was my mission and intention from the beginning and it hasn’t changed!

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I grew up dancing, I took up photography because I love photographs, I started blogging and fell in love with tumblr and Pinterest. I was in an interior design program when I learned about the beautiful world of textile. I guess I have always been expressing myself creatively since I was young. I never knew I could paint however, this was something that came naturally to me and over the years I’ve practiced and worked hard to continue to get better at. Textile is my passion. I feel like when you fall in love with something you will do anything to make it work.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Yes! My family owned restaurants growing up. I was hosting and waitressing the minute I was old enough to. I’ve grown up with that entrepreneur spirit around me. To this day my mom is my go-to for advice from finances to… literally everything.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

The journey of growing Candice Kaye Design has been slow and very organic. My intention was and still is to change the way people look at textile through innovation and change of perspective. I wanted you to look at wallpaper differently than before. I didn’t start CKD with the traditional business model or strategy plan. The beginning days were lead by my intuition making sure every decision was an authentic one that spoke to my intention. I was happy with slow growth, and I made the necessary sacrifices needed to allow for slow authentic growth. 

My first client was Miami Cafe located in New York City. I was asked to create four bespoke prints that were to be the heart of the brand. This inspired this idea of one of kind prints that were bespoke to the space. The rise of social media helped celebrate these one of a kind prints and I just rolled with it. From there the clients found me and wanted the same service. Now CKD has bespoke hospitality projects within Toronto, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas and Australia.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

I feel like I will never stop making mistakes! It’s constant learning, everyday a new adventure or new challenge. Someone once told me “education will always cost you, but it won’t destroy you.” If I find myself making the same mistake twice, well then I have to reevaluate. If this happens it’s often because I was moving too fast, not taking the time to sit and focus on the details. Don’t rush! Take your time, focus on the small details. This is a habit you can practice and perfect.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Learning how to trust myself.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

I am interested in working with people who are willing to work and get their hands dirty. I like to work with people who are scrappy and can find solutions. There is no hierarchy in my studio. It’s all hands on deck.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

My clients are mainly within the hospitality industry. The restaurants and hotels scheduled to open 2020 were all put on hold. I was working from a space where time felt infinite and I was creating without the pressures of the tight timelines. I took the time to create wallpaper collections that we sell by the panel on our online store. We launched new embroidered linen and collaborated with fun artists to launch them! I started to dream again, and I felt like the girl I was before I launched CKD.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We are working on a fun boutique hotel concept launching in 2023. We are not only doing the wallpaper, but the fabrics, tiles and tableware throughout the space. CKD is also working on a second collaboration with CB2 launching shower curtains, bedding and tableware. In the meantime we will continue pushing the boundaries! Finding innovative ways to present textile into the world. 

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

Don’t assume or create false narratives about situations that haven’t happened yet. Stressing over something that hasn’t happened yet is a waste of energy. Center yourself and know that everything is going to work out the way it’s supposed to.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

Trust in yourself. You know the answer you’re looking for. Quiet your mind and everyone else’s opinions so you can hear your inner voice.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I feel very fortunate that CKD has been able to continue to produce work during this time.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I believe that it moves in waves. There are weeks of long hours, but then there are weeks where I can take a step back and rest, regroup and take a breath. When there is no room for breaks I make room to be alone. I like to wake up early and give myself that space to sit with my coffee before the world wakes up. It’s my quiet me time.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I love Disney movies.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

1) Wake up early

2) Make a list

3) Coffee 

4) Drink lots of water

5) Try to do a midday workout if you can

6) If you’re tired take a break, don’t give up.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Pave new roads and continue to inspire.

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