Headed to Henri Bendel This September!

About six months ago, this past March, I did something that almost no New Yorker ever wants to do.  I voluntarily waited in line.  Not just any line, and not just any time of day – a loooong line outside in the freezing cold starting at 5:30AM in the middle of New York City, one that wrapped around outside of the Henri Bendel Flagship Store on 5th Avenue.  It was actually dark, or dusk – as captured by the photo below – when I arrived. And, in spite of the hour and the fact is was bitterly cold out, I was still not the first there.  So what crazy thing did we all have in common?  We were all part of the Open See, a designer casting call that Henri Bendel holds twice annually for new and up-and-coming designers.

It is actually a very Democratic process in the sense that (unlike other things in New York where you often have to have to be connected in some way) any designer can attend the Open See.  The trick is to get in line early and by 9AM they start letting the line of designers thaw out by coming inside to meet with their buyers, all hoping for an opportunity to come sell their goods in the incredible 5th Avenue Flagship Store via a trunk show, or even better, have the line picked up by the Henri Bendel.

If you are not familiar with Henri Bendel – get familiar here.  Their iconic Flagship Boutique on 5th Avenue is one big, sparkling mecca of accessories.  They sell pretty much anything a girl could think to put on her body or carry – from jewelry to sunglasses, to purses and hats and other unique gifts. They are known for supporting and scouting out new design talent. Here is a photo of me, trying to stay warm, holding my egg full of jewelry and wearing a vintage fox fur:

My meeting with their buyers, who were very friendly, was an extremely fast, as is everyone’s – they are trying to see hundreds of people in a short amount of time. I had about three to five mintes to lay out my samples, tell my story and answer any questions they had. At the end of it I was thrilled to be offered a trunk show with them – which is happening this September 26th – 29th, a Thursday – Sunday (see dates and hours at right). Candy Shop Vintage was named one of just five “Casting Call Favorites” by the Henri Bendel  team.  So, come Thursday, September 26th you can find me, the designer behind the Candy Shop Collection, selling my treats for four days in their Flagship store!

If you are a designer and want more info. on the Open See, go here – the next one is coming up this October 25th!  If I could offer a few pieces of advice, I would suggest getting there as early as you can, dressing warmly, and come very prepared to sell – i.e. with plenty of inventory (they are not looking for one off designs) and with a clear sense of your brand and its story, compressed into a minute or two.  And, have fun – hopefully you’ll only get to do this once!

– Deirdre Zahl, designer & owner, Candy Shop Vintage


I Heart New York (A Dinner Party)

It’s always fun to try a new cookbook, especially one that is an intimidating 500 pages!  I Love NY, Ingredients and Recipes by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara is an anthology of regional NY food organized alphabetically by ingredient.  Oddly enough, I recently acquired this book at a Southern BBQ in Charleston, which is another story. At first I thought “Oh OK, it will be all hot dogs, pizza and black and white cookies.”  But this book is as much a showcase as it is a cookbook. Think Corn Pudding Pizza, Pan Roasted Lobster and Walnut Tart with Caramel & Sea Salt .  It’s pretty divine if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and buying a few (try 5) pounds of duck fat. So being a transplanted New Yorker living in Charleston, also one of the great food cities, I couldn’t resist the urge to promote some good old NY cuisine down here for a change.

And the menu:

I actually did not make everything myself, I farmed out several of the dishes to guests.  I did mix the signature cocktail of the evening (A “New Your Sour” with homemade apple shrub), baked the Bacon Potato Bread (SO good), made the Squash Steaks, and roasted  the lobster, with lots of help with the dismemberment (still, yikes!).  I am by no means prolific in the kitchen so halfway through making my apple shrub for the New York Sour many, many days in advance I wanted to quit while peeling my fourth apple.  But we New Yorkers are tougher than that and of course we persevered!  Here are the photos to prove it. Oh, and it was a lot of fun setting the table:

Perfectly orchestrated Walnut Tart with Caramel and Sea Salt by our sweetest guests, the owners of Sugar bakeshop:

Maybe I will start a weird reverse trend of Southern dinners NY style.  I did make homemade marshmallows with bee pollen after all!

And we had the ideal way to cap off the evening – a round of the New Yorker Caption Game, played while wearing Statue of Liberty crowns…

So did it taste like home?  I ONLY  wish I’d eaten that well growing up! up but there were distinctly Northeast undercurrents that were wonderfully familiar, apples being just one of them.  And with 6 out of eight guests being transplanted New Yorkers there was a hearty Yankee spirit at the table and even if the South has softened us, if not taught us how to be good hosts and hostesses. Now, back to something much easier, like designing jewelry!

What’s New at Candy Shop Vintage

It’s July, it’s hot.  Everything’s on sale and you’ve probably already used up most of your vacation days.  In other words, what’s new?  Nothing!  That’s why we thought  this is a perfect time to introduce you to a something new at Candy Shop Vintage… meet our adorable lucky scarab earrings:

These are the younger cousins of our Kissing Scarab Pendant Earrings, a bit more subtle, a bit more everyday.  These perfect little gold scarabs are meant to bring you luck and add a pop of glam to your mid-summer or even your dreaming-of-fall wardrobe.  We can’t help it, fall is our favorite season, so dream with us while we transition into fall, we’ve already wardrobed these cuties with the perfect late summer outfit for the odd cool day or breezy evening:


1. Entire ensemble: Karen Walker Resort 2014 amazingness.  This could not be more our style!

2. Christy Animal Print Scarf – summer scarves are the best!

3. Lucky Scarab Earrings a la Candy Shop Collection

4. Just give it to me.  The yummy  Santi Jeweled Clutch from SHOPBOP

A Summer Instagram Giveaway… Share Your Summer Style or Ours!

If you are not yet following us on Instagram (@candyshopvintage) you are missing out – but here’s a perfect time to start!  We are giving away a pair of our Kissing Scarab Pendant Earrings to one lucky winner in their choice of color (pink or turquoise).  All week long you have the opportunity to enter – as many times as you want.  Regram the image below (from our instagram) or post your own Summer Style image with the hashtag #mysummerstyle. Be sure to also tag us (@candyshopvintage) so we can see your entry!


On that note here are a few of our favorite summer looks to get your creative juices flowing:

Grace Kelly via ciaonewportbeach.blogspot.com

Image via dustjacketattic.blogspot.com.au

Kate Moss via (onlykatemoss.tumblr.com)

Image via thebrunetteprep.tumblr.com

Happy instagramming!

On Forever 21, Splurging And Why Copycats Suck

As some of you who have been following along know, my very first piece of jewelry that was released from my very first jewelry collection was the (below, left) Elephants on parade necklace. This was back in February, check it out here. This necklace has been my bestseller – it is very popular (it has already sold out once) and it’s been featured on a number of blogs and been pinned all over Pinterest. In other words, it’s a B celebrity.  So, coincidentally (or not – you can decide) Forever 21 comes out with their $10.80 version about two months ago (give or take) which would have left just enough lead time in the world of jewelry manufacturing for them to see something from a small, independent designer, bring it to their overseas mass producers, then make and release their own. Even name it the same thing – the “Elephant Parade Necklace.”  And with their corporate budget, you can be sure theirs is now coming up first in every search result,  Grrrrrrr!!! If they didn’t have such a track record of doing this, oh once, twice, or actually DOZENS of times before, I wouldn’t be quite so irritated or suspicious.

I actually debated writing this post at all (I have been aware of theirs since it was released) until I came across THIS splurge/save post written by Southern Flair. What Forever 21 did could aptly be called a “knock-off”. It is a cheaper copy of something nice, playing off the popularity of something more unique, more high end and yes, more expensive. The Canal Street of Elephant necklaces if you will. So I thought I’d take a minute to explain why mine is more expensive as well why this whole scenario is a problem. Because when you buy the cheap version of something you are not actually getting the same thing at a better price – you are actually getting a cheaper thing.

1) My necklace is made in the US and labor here is more expensive because we have laws to protect factories and big companies from taking advantage of their workers, companies like, AHEM, FOREVER 21. I did this on purpose because I believe in American made work. Expanding on this subject, consider reading Over-Dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion and understand the actual cost of getting cheap clothes and accessories, such as  this tragedy.

2) My adorable elephants are linked trunk to tail. That means each trunk/tail is hand soldered together. It is cast from a lead free, white metal in an envoronmentally friendly factory. So, it is partly handmade. Which means it is strong. The chain and the elephants will not break and they were made with care.  And the factory I work with is a nice clean, and reputable place.

3) I plate my jewelry extremely well in one of the most reputable plating houses in the country. My Elephants On Parade Necklace is 14K gold plated with something called an E-Coat which further protects the high grade plating from tarnish and wear. Now I don’t shop at F21, but have bought the occasional $10 piece of jewelry in my life and they usually don’t stay new and shiny forever.  There is just no way to do a high grade gold plating and still sell something for $10 and make a profit. And Forever 21 is definitely not a non profit.


3.5) I ship mine with an awesome box and candy – not a sh*#tty yellow bag : )

In other words, my Elephants On Parade necklaces will last for years to come. I wear mine all the time, it gets sweat on it (I live in the South) – it’s been in the ocean, the pool, baking in the sun. It still looks great. And personally, I think the design is better – the matte finish is much classier and the trunk to tail linking is much more whimsical. Maybe it’s good to splurge a little – sometimes more expensive is actually better.  Maybe it’s because I am in my 30’s and not my 20’s and I am interested in owning and making good things that last longer, instead of things I wouldn’t mind leaving behind on a dance floor somewhere.  But more than that, no one likes their nice design copied in a cheaper, faster way with a lot less integrity. So, like all frustrated small business owners and designers who had this happen before and run every aspect of their business themselves, I feel the pain of it.  But in the long run, I will put out new designs, and I still believe strongly in what I am doing – not making jewelry as a merely trend or to be thrown away after a few nights out, but making pieces you will have for a long time and return to again and again.

– Deirdre Zahl, owner & designer at Candy Shop Vintage

The Vintage Jewelry of Beverlee Kagan

Starting today, Candy Shop Vintage is thrilled to be offering vintage jewelry from the estate of Beverlee Kagan, a long time collector and vintage jewelry dealer who had a vintage jewelry boutique in Miami for over twenty years.  I first met Steve, Beverlee’s son at her store earlier this spring.

He had been running her shop after she passed away – a treasure trove of vintage jewels from the 1920’s – 1980’s.  Her collection is impressive and eclectic, she had a discerning eye for design and for curating pieces by decade and designer, including rarities you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere, like this Twin Lions Bib Necklace:

And intricate pieces designed by the renowned jeweler Stanley Hagler, a protegee of Miriam Haskell.

Beverlee Kagan’s shop shut it’s physical doors this past June but we are honored to continue her legacy by offering exclusive, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces from her vast treasure trove of jewels through our website. We asked Steve to give us a bit of background on Beverlee and the inspiration behind her collection and her store and here is what he told us about Beverlee, his mother, pictured below:

My Mom changed the spelling of her name to Beverlee as a young woman to be distinctive. She graduated from Queens College with a degree in art. Her signature jewelry were an arm full of silver bangles. You could hear her coming long before she actually arrived! 

The shop was started in 1990, but she had been in the antiques business off and on for decades with time off to get a MSW and practice Social Work. I think some of the inspiration for the shop came from our family’s year in Turkey in the 1960’s- the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul – as well as her frequent travels to Israel.

Please continue to visit our NEW in Store section in our One-of-A-Kind Vintage Collection for more pieces from the collection in the weeks and months to come!

Three Looks to Jump Start Your Midsummer Style

OK, so it’s the middle of summer, humid like crazy and the holiday weekend is over.  Your summer style probably needs a bit of a recharge right about now.  With two months to go, there is still plenty of time to re-energize your look – so here are some suggestions:

Disco Nights: Except for when it’s time to pee, how great are jumpers in the summer?  This one from Catherine Malandrino, in a striking shade of royal blue is just perfect  paired with this cute Loeffler Randall striped straw clutch (on sale!)  and our funky Dragonfly Bracelet and Earrings. The ideal ensemble for sweating it out on the dance floor!

Egyptian Summer: Shades of Cleopatra seem to be popping up everywhere lately.  What better time to try our your Egyptian Goddess look than when it’s hot out?  Our fabulous Scarab Cocktail Ring complements this long tribal print chiffon dress that is a total steal at $22.79 and if you want to go full bore Egyptian pick up this feminine yet regal King Tut iphone 5 case from Mara Hoffman.

Green & Glam: Even though it’s hot out, doesn’t mean you can’t wear some wintergreen (But girl, take off that fur!).  Green is super glamourous, especially when paired with summer whites. And, our one-of-a-kind vintage dome ring will add just the right touch of bling.

Only two more months to go (well, unless you live in Charleston like I do where the heat index hovers in the unbearable range until late September!)