Retailer Spotlight: Natalia Castillo and Escapada Living

Today, we are chatting with the owners of one of our favorite Candy Shop Vintage retailers Escapada whose bright colors and patterns already have us dreaming of a tropical vacation even though it is only the end of November. You can find some of our Candy Shop Collection pieces as well as our Charleston Rice Beads in their Escapada Signature Store in Mt. Pleasant, SC. We asked the owner and founder Natalia Castillo about Inc. Magazine’s second fastest growing company in South Carolina and the travels that inspire her prints and patterns.

Natalia Castillo, CEO and owner of Escapada Living at home

1) I know you like to travel a lot to find inspiration for your colorful prints. What are you top three favorite travel spots? What is next on the list?

Yes, I love to travel! My favorite destinations are Brazil, Bali, and the French Riviera. Brazil is such a unique, vibrant country – the culture and lifestyle are full of energy, and my favorite cities there are Rio and Buzios. Bali’s natural beauty is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. From the beach to the rainforest, everything is bright, colorful, and tropical. Finally, the French Riviera is where I was first inspired to create the Escapada Living brand, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. With its beautiful coastline and chic style, its effortless elegance is hard to beat. “Escapada” means “escape” in Spanish, so it’s no surprise that those beautiful destinations have served as the inspiration for the brand!For my next trip, I’m heading to Peru with my niece – specifically Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu. I have some family in Lima, and it’s a wonderful up-and-coming city that’s growing really quickly. With its vibrant colors and rich culture, Cusco is another incredible source of inspiration. Many of the people there still wear traditional Peruvian garb, which is full of amazing colors, textures, and details. I visited Machu Picchu years ago, and I have a feeling this time it will be completely different. Back then, everything was totally unregulated – you could wander around anywhere, and it was totally free to visit. It will definitely be interesting to see it again now, and I’m so excited to share such a special place with my niece.

 2) Did you always envision going into brick and mortar retail or is it something that happened organically?

It was always my plan to have a brick and mortar location that worked as an extension of the Escapada Living brand. My career actually began as a buyer for Macy’s department stores, so I’ve always been passionate about brick and mortar, and I had experience with retail in that format. I love having our own store, and it’s truly a place where the Escapada Living brand comes to life. It’s incredible to have the opportunity to connect with customers, hear their feedback, and see them interact with the brand. It makes my day when I see a happy customer get really excited about their new purchase!

 3) What are the other lines you carry outside of your own Escapada designs?

Our Signature Store is full of brands that complement Escapada Living and hang well with our line. We carry clothing lines like Tori Richard, Julie Brown, Just Madras, Gretchen Scott, THML, and Barbara Gerwit. For jewelry and accessories, we’re proud to sell several local brands, including Candy Shop Vintage! Our customers love the Charleston Rice Beads collection, and we also carry pieces from Hart Studio, The Tiny Tassel, Sangria, and more. Our store has completely different inventory than our website, so it’s been really fun to tailor its selection to fit our local customer.


The Escapada Signature Store

 4) What is your most popular print?

We initially introduced our Jungle print for the summer 2017 line, and it became an instant favorite. It’s a fun, abstract palm print with a playful, hand-painted feel and lots of movement. We’ve created a few versions of it in different colorways, and will feature it in our upcoming resort 2018 collection as well. That collection will be available starting in December – just in time for a winter getaway!


Our Charleston Rice Beads paired with a tropical Escapada ensemble

 5) Have you ever thought about venturing beyond apparel design into other products? What is next for Escapada (maybe for Spring 2018)?

I’d love to create an Escapada Living home collection with pillows, blankets/ throws, placemats, napkins, etc. Customers always tell us that our brand makes them smile every time they see it, and I think a home line would be a natural next step – extending that happiness beyond the closet and throughout the rest of the home.

For the immediate future, we’re thrilled to debut our new plus size collection for resort/spring 2018. This line, called Escapada Living Curve, features our best-selling styles and prints in sizes 0X-3X (numeric sizes 14-24). It’s been available to our wholesale retailers for a little while, but this is the first time that it will be sold on our website and in our store. Those new sizing options are truly an instance of “ask and you shall receive.” Customers kept telling us they were looking for more sizes in our clothing, and we couldn’t be happier that we’re able to fill that need now.


An Escapada model in a summery Escapada dress wearing our Summer White Charleston Rice Beads wrapped as a bracelet.


Skinny Dipping in Charleston

It’s rare these days that a new retail store opens on King Street in Downtown Charleston that isn’t a national chain, so when I heard about Skinny Dip: The Charleston Edition, a collective retail concept that already found its sea legs after launching successfully in Nantucket I was immediately intrigued. And after drinks with one of the founders and designer behind accessory line Beau and Ro – Sara Rossi – I was totally thrilled to be invited to be a part of it. The brand collective shop represents both emerging and established designers from around the country in one, chic space – brands like Society Social, whose beautiful furniture makes the upstairs “local vibes” section feel both homey and luxurious, Ellsworth and Ivey, founding partner Taylor Ivey’s lifestyle brand, and Kiel James Patrick to name a few.


The second floor of Skinny Dip Charleston’s King Street retail space bedecked with furniture from Society Social.


Founders Sarah Rossi and Taylor Ivey – how cute are they?!

Plenty of Charleston based designers and brands will also be represented – you can find our Charleston Rice Beads upstairs as well as Lauren Lail’s beautiful vintage inspired line Library, colorful tunics and dressed by Escapada, even Shep from Bravo’s Southern Charm’s quirky line Shep Gear and many more. You can even relax and have a glass of wine in their upstairs bar run by Rudi’s – a satellite location from their Old Village wine shop in Mt. Pleasant.


Artist Meredith Hanson hand paints a mural of Rainbow Row in Skinny Dip Charleston at the hard hat opening.


The official opening party is this Friday, April 7th where I am also DJing but the store is open for shopping as of Tuesday, April 4th. There are so many goodies in there you definitely want to be one of the first to check it out. Congrats to the Skinny Dip team for all of their hard work and looking forward to celebrating on Friday!

Southern Protocal

I got a peek this morning at a stunning and brand new bridal boutique in Charleston – Southern Protocal.  Located at 164 Market Street in Downtown Charleston, this gorgeous space is your one-stop luxurious stop for all things wedding related, including the planning of the event itself.  From gowns and jewelry to cocktail napkins, their curated collection of unique items for the Charleston (& beyond) bride is unparalleled.  I am thrilled to be partnering with them to host an event and their beautiful new space on Thursday, February 26th.  Details to come soon.  In the meantime, here’s a little peek inside…

2014 Round Up 2014

2014 has absolutely flown by for me.  Hard to believe that it was only earlier this year we launched our Charleston Rice Beads.  Since launch we have sold over 8,000 feet of necklaces and bracelets – more than half the length of the Ravenel Bridge! I feel so fortunate to have a growing business (one I started in the guest room of our house) and it is an exciting time as I continue to expand the Candy Shop Vintage line and to work with so many talented people to make it happen.  Here are some of the highlights of my year:

Debuting the Charleston Rice Bead collection to a fabulous group of ladies at a Charleston-themed lunch I hosted at The George Gallery in March:

Seeing the Candy Shop Vintage Space Age Bangle featured in the April 2014 issue of InStyle Magazine:

Hosting a trunk show and book signing with The Deans of the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits Suzanne’s beautiful Downtown Charleston home.

Collaborating with some very talented ladies on our first wedding lookbook featuring both vintage jewelry and the Charleston Rice Beads. My friend Evelyn, of Evelyn’s Alterations and Design, designed and handmade the bride and bridesmaid dresses, Paige Winn did the photography, Bailey Bial styled hair, Flowershop provided the lovely blooms and hair and makeup was done by Amanda Rose and Bailey Bial:

In June, I went up north for a factory visit (and little vacation). We spent a lot of time in Rhode Island, one of my favorite states. Even though it is a small, it is fun to explore. Check out my mini-guide guide to Rhode Island for more.  This was Daphne’s third visit and she loved it!

In August, my husband John and I were featured on as part of a Southern Style feature. We hardly consider ourselves amongst most stylish in Charleston, but Gray Benko made us look our best:

In September, we all sadly said goodbye to style icon Joan Rivers. I recounted and remembered with gratitude swapping necklaces with her on her 80th birthday:

We also shot our A Charleston Afternoon lookbook featuring some of the hottest spots around town (Leon’s Oyster Shop, Sugar Bakeshop, mac & murphy, and The George Gallery), and the Charleston Rice Beads. I have been wanting to do this for awhile, sharing some of my favorite local spots with our clients inside and outside of Charleston and I loved how it turned out:

For the first time this year, I helped designed our first non-jewelry items. The Candy Shop Vintage x Lettermade collaboration – three unique sets of embroidered linen cocktail napkins. I loved working with the talented owner of Lettermade, Malia Dreyer on them.

Ending the year with the launch of my new Far East Collection was fantastic. These Asian-inspired pieces are based on a much loved 1970’s vintage runway necklace I own, and include the Breastplate Statement Necklace, the Crescent Necklace, and the Lu Tassel Earrings in a few different colors, as well as the delicate Lu Necklace which, like the earrings, features the Chinese symbol for prosperity. I debuted the Collection at a trunk show at HAMPDEN clothing, one of the Charleston Area Candy Shop Vintage retailers and best boutiques in Charleston.  Stacy, the owner (below) has a fabulous eye and curates a cutting edge collection of designers, keeping Charleston fashion forward.

Blogger and DJ, Jane Aldridge of Sea of Shoes, flew to Charleston especially for the event, and wowed us all with her DJ skills.  I gifted Jane some of her own Charleston Rice Beads as a thank you and later spotted them on her bog paired with this amazing vintage tweed top – they have never looked so glam!

I also took the Collection to Gwynn’s for a pre-Christmas Trunk Show – where select Far East inspired pieces are still available.

And on a personal note, we added to our family with the adoption of a furry friend, Birthday the poodle (named by my daughter).  Can you spot him in our Christmas card?

I was even gifted an ornament this Christmas by the lovely ladies of Croghan’s. She is what I imagine his future girlfriend will look like – ooh lala!

THANK YOU to everyone for your continued support of Candy Shop Vintage. It has been such a huge year and never would have happened without loyal friends and customers, old and new. So excited to see what 2015 has in store, Happy New Year!

– Deirdre Zahl (designer & owner, Candy Shop Vintage)

Welcome Spring & The Azalea Festival

I just got back from a brief visit to one of my other favorite Southern cities, Wilmington, NC.  I’ve written and posted a lot about Wilmington on my blog because my friend Jess James lives there and I visit her regularly – she’s my home away from home! Like Charleston, Wilmington is a charming, historic coastal city.  I also work with a great retailer in Lumina Station, out near Wrightsville Beach called Ziabird that carries my jewelry Collection – be sure to pay them a visit if you are ever there. Lynn’s store is a wonderful selection of jewelry accessories and chic coastal attire.

On this trip I also had the pleasure of attending Wilmington’s Annual Azalea Festival Garden Party.  The city, seemed like a living breathing advertisement for all things horticultural. Every flower on every bush and tree and in every garden was blooming to perfection, this was just on my walk to get coffee the first morning I was there:

A friend of Jess’s generously gave us her spare Garden Party tickets.  We went to her house to pick them up – a house that had hosted, some previous evening, the “Azalea Belles.” The stunning home was bedecked in flower arrangements as well, even a couple in the shape of gowns.  Not sure exactly how the “Belles” are selected, but they are ambassadors of sorts for the city of Wilmington. I was actually told by a woman whose daughter was a Belle this year that it was so much work, it felt like “being the mother of a bride.”

This is Dan, the charming and dapper owner of the British Taxi.  He owns a fleet of London Black Cabs that he rents out for special events and promotions.  He was nice enough to have one of his drivers chauffeur us around all afternoon, a good thing, since Garden parties and day drinking seem inextricably linked. David Beckham sat in our very same taxi just a few weeks earlier, not an unpleasant thought as we rode around : )

The Azalea Festival Garden Party itself was in a large field with bars set up on the outskirts and a BBQ tent for lunch under the live oaks.  The sun was pretty intense and I instantly regretted not wearing a huge hat like (seemingly) ever single other person there. I did made a makeshift hairpiece out of a silk flower and vintage brooch at the last minute.   They served some nice cocktails called “Azaleas” with a mix of juice and champagne, the perfect afternoon-nap inducing tonic…

My “headpiece,” above.  And below, I liked this girl’s look – kind of a “Garden Party Nymph” – with a simple flower crown:

Couldn’t resist a photo up with some other Charleston imports, a group of Citadel cadets.  Their uniforms always remind my of Marc Jacob’s great military inspired coats from the early 2000’s, do you think that was their inspiration?  Ha, just kidding.

All-in-all and extraordinarily fun and pretty much perfect afternoon. Azaleas, black taxis, hats and BBQ – and an after party on this surely-over-capacity dock!

Thanks for the ride British Taxi and for the hospitality Jess James!  I thought this photo below kind of summed up the vibe of the whole afternoon and is a perfect note to end on.  Spring is definitely here.



Trunk Show at Henri Bendel This Week

I am thrilled to be hosting my first Trunk Show for Henri Bendel New York this week (beginning tomorrow, September 26th) in their Flagship store at 712 5th Avenue:

I landed in New York extremely early this AM (7:30) on the equivalent of the red-eye from Charleston, but it is nice to have a full day in New York, especially in this beautiful fall weather!  My best friend met me for a quick coffee in Grand Central and snapped this photo of me at the big clock, our meeting point, which brings back lots of memories from my days in NY:

I’ll be debuting some of our brand new fall colors so stop by and see us for your Candy Shop Vintage fix!

– Deirdre Zahl (owner & designer)

Where to Find Candy Shop Vintage

Wondering where you can shop Candy Shop Vintage in person?  Check our Stockists page for the most up to date list of retail stores who carry the Candy Shop Collection.  You can also come to one of our Trunk Shows or Events.  Our next Trunk Show in the New York Area is at Henri Bendel September 26th-29th.

This fall we’ve added three new stores, listed above.  In Charleston, you can now stop by Hampden’s sister store and accessories boutique JAMES at 314 King Street.

In Birmingham, Alabama find our collection at Bromberg’s with three store locations:

And just yesterday we shipped this fall order off to Ziabird in Wilmington, NC at Lumina Station:

We’re excited to partner with these fabulous stores to bring you the very first Candy Shop Collection! Please check in as we add more retailers or if you want to see us in a store near you, shoot us a quick note!