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Exploring Life & Business with Candace Hanna of Style by Candace/Hanna Bridal

Today we’d like to introduce you to Candace Hanna.

Candace, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My background is in corporate fashion. I’ve worked for major fashion houses across New York and Los Angeles. While I loved fashion, the corporate life was not for me, and I found that I had always had much more of an interest in personal style than fashion, per se. I slowly started helping my friends and family shop, put outfits together, and figure out the best possible looks for their bodies and events until I started to consider if I could help strangers for pay. I put out some feelers, got a few clients in early on, and that rest is history! I’ve been styling full-time at Style by Candace for the last three years…but recently opened my new bridal boutique, Hanna Bridal!

While bridal was never the ultimate goal, it sort of fell into my lap, and I’m so thrilled it did. Once Covid hit, my business was forced to 1) slow down and 2) be virtual. Amidst it all, I had friends getting married who all needed help with wedding gowns. After helping a few friends with gowns, I found that bridal boutiques were reaching out to me to consult with them. After two had reached out, I finally took one up on their offer. I fell in love. I had such a great time, and within one month of working there part-time, I was managing one of the biggest bridal salons in Southern California. I had such a wonderful time and loved being involved with brides and helping choose and alter the gowns of their dreams. Still being an entrepreneur at heart, I loved the work but really felt like I had a different vision and a different idea of how to best assist brides. When talking to my (now business partner) friend, he simply said; “Why don’t you open your own boutique, and I’ll be your silent partner?”. I had never even considered the possibility! I quit the boutique on a Wednesday, but the following Friday, I had a brick and mortar space and had signed a lease. The store officially opened in late August and is doing well! I’ve had a blast and can’t wait to grow and expand and really serve brides-to-be in a meaningful way.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
As far as personal styling goes, no, it hasn’t been a smooth road. I’m VERY good at what I do, but when I first started, I had 0 knowledge about entrepreneurship, I had no idea what sort of marketing I needed, how to get my name out, how to get clients, etc. I knew all about personal style, I knew how to get people looking and feeling how they wanted, my craft was perfect, but running my own personal brand and business were tough. I spent LOTS of money (that I didn’t have) on trial and error marketing, business coaches (some great, some a bust), marketing courses, and so much more. I had months where I couldn’t keep up with all my clients and months where there wasn’t a client in sight!

With Hanna Bridal, having a partner has been a lifesaver! I think that’s really what I learned – having a partner that complements your talents is really key. I have the designer connections, I understand the trends, body type, what brides want, and how to interpret what they can’t actually put into words. My business party has the capitol. He understands the marketing piece, how to acquire the supplies and contacts we need, and how to negotiate. This has really allowed me to focus and master what I do best without the fear of potentially messing up the pieces I don’t understand. The bridal boutique has actually been so much easier than I thought it would be as a result…I wish I had a partner early on for Style by Candace, but, you live, you learn!

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My original business is Style by Candace in which I offer personal styling services. I’ve recently opened a new business, Hanna Bridal which is a bridal boutique offering bridal gowns and accessories.

I’m really known for offering my clients an education. Do I help them to look and feel their best? Certainly! But it’s also very important to me that my clients understand the “how” and “why” of what I do. My clients leave me feeling empowered and far more knowledgeable than when they came in. My goal is always to educate so that my clients are not left feeling helpless when our work is complete.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
People can work with me by visiting my website www.stylebycandace.com. They can also follow me on Instagram @stylebycandace or just reach out to me via email at candace@stylebycandace.com. I love any sort of engagement with clients or just supporters. I have a free Facebook group: Stepping Into Style where I go live, answer questions, hold challenges, etc. It’s a lot of fun, and everyone learns a ton.

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