I met Candice Grace a little over a year ago at a press party hosted by Fashion Week Lake Charles. She was dressed to KILL, and being the bonafide fashionista that I am, I had to who this fellow fabulous girl was. I complimented her on her gorgeous shoes that had me, well…gagging. She expressed to me she had a recently launched an online shoe boutique called GAGG Shoes. What I didn’t know at that time, was when Candice said recently she truly meant recent. GAGG Shoes had only been up and running for one week, but you would have never known it. Not only was GAGG Shoes featured in FWLC, but she also had a vendor booth where FWLC attendees could purchase her items as well. If there’s one thing I love more than a fashionista, is fashionista that is also an amazing business woman. I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Candice and we talked shoes and so much more, read my interview with her below!
DM: GAGG Shoes has been in existence a little over a year now and is doing extremely well, how does it feel to watch your business flourish in such a short amount of time?
CD: I haven’t reached my pinnacle, [but] it feels amazing to get the business started from an idea on a vision board to the accomplishments I have made today. In business, we expect instant results. We want to just press a button and be instantly successful in business, but unfortunately, this is simply not the case. So keeping this in mind, GAGG is making great strides.
DM: Yes, it is! What gave you the idea to start GAGG Shoes?
CG: I started GAGG for a couple of reasons. I LOVE shoes. I’ve always wanted to have my own shoe store. [I remember] my mom and I wrote a rough draft for a business plan [back] when I was in high school. I spent $50,000 on my LSU education only to end up working as a beverage server in the casino, I make at least 5 times more money serving drinks than what a news reporter would make starting out. In short, bills were heavy and I couldn’t afford to follow my dreams as a TV personality, so I settled for the big bucks of cocktail waitressing. I loved the money, but hated the company. I mashed the gas on starting up GAGG by first conducting research. GAGG became my way out. After working at the casino I realized I never wanted to work for anyone again. I want to be my own boss and make my own rules. Also, being from Dallas, TX, I noticed that fashion in Lake Charles was scarce.
DM: One thing I love about GAGG Shoes is how moderately priced the shoes are, how important was it to have a company that provides affordable fashion?
CG: I grew up kind of poor. I am the product of a single parent home of four. Even though I am the only child of my mother to attend a major university and graduate. I didn’t have any support in college. I worked part-time and took 18 hours so I could finish quickly. I couldn’t afford to shop and be cute. Luckily for me being busy with school and work I never had to hang out and party like a real college kid anyway; But the point I am making is that it is important to make my products affordable because I know the struggle. Not only that, I have to be price competitive with online retailers such as Amazon and Fashion Nova who both carry some of the exact same products we carry. People are more likely to purchase from these two retailers because they have a bigger and more reputable brand.
DM: Very true. Let’s talk a little about your journey as an entrepreneur, and a small-business owner. I’m sure it can quite challenging at times, what has your experience been?
CG: It has been a challenging game of trial and error. There is a lot of work that goes into growing your business and some key traits that cannot be left behind, like endurance, passion, persistence, drive, motivation, commitment, patience… the list goes on. All of these things are so important because without them, you’ll quit, give up, get frustrated and walk away. There will be times when you put a ton of time, energy, passion, and pure hard work into growing your business, and nothing will happen, not right away anyway. That’s because growing your business doesn’t happen overnight.
DM: You’re a very fashionable girl, how would you say your style is reflected in your company?
CG: My style is the epitome of my company. While I am not the designer of the products I sell, I hand-picked each style. Every product we carry is something I would wear. In other words, I literally wouldn’t sell you something I wouldn’t wear myself. [Even] my favorite color pink [is incorporated] in my logo.
DM: I love that. I’m always more willing to shop with a company if I can see the owner’s personal touches throughout the brand. So what’s next for the GAGG Shoes Brand?
CG: This fall I plan to add accessories and handbags to the collection! [Longterm] the goal is have a storefront. If God says the same GAGG will have a storefront in the [near] future.
To learn more about Candice Grace and her shoetique GAGG Shoes visit: www.shopgagg.com!