CREATIVES: Entrepreneur to Watch Deirdre Zahl

Jun 10 2015

by Cheri Leavy

Candy Shop Vintage was founded in 2009 by designer Deirdre Zahl, whose ten years of experience working in fashion and design in New York informed her thoughtful curation of a vintage jewelry collection.  After years of collecting and selling vintage, Deirdre also designed and launched The Candy Shop Collection, her own vintage inspired jewelry line.
Deirdre lives in Charleston, SC, with her husband John and her adorable daughter Daphne who makes appearances frequently on her instagram feed.
We have watched with admiration Deirdre’s business grow over the last three years since we met her at our inaugural Southern C Summit on Jekyll Island.  This year at the Summit in Charleston, it was thrilling for us to have her as a sponsor and to be in Charleston while her brick and mortar store was opening on Cannon Street.  This fabulous friend is leading the sweet life!

Here are some of this entrepreneur’s faves …

Theme Song:

Jay Z – Can’t Knock The Hustle


Fave book or author:

From a professional perspective I think everyone who has their own business should read David & Goliath by Malcom Gladwell but David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again is one of the most hilarious and insightful things I’ve ever read and makes for great beach reading.


Favorite charity:

LEARN Horse Rescue which I just learned about (haha!) through a friend – they are amazing!


#1 skill/attribute needed to be an entrepreneur:



Role model:

I don’t have a specific role model but I admire different people for different reasons.  I recently read Barbara Cocoran’s Book Shark Tales and loved it.  I like the way she is as a woman in business and on Shark Tank and her success is staggering.

I also greatly admire Janie Bryant, the costume designer for MAD MEN who really ushered in a new era of fashion by presenting vintage fashion to our contemporary culture via MAD MEN in a very linear way.  (Pieces from Deirdre’s rotating collection of vintage jewelry have been featured on the show.)


Favorite social media:

Instagram: @candyshopvintage


Favorite quote:

If you keep doing what you are doing, you’ll keep getting what you get.


Interesting tidbit about you or your business:

I started it with $800 at a flea market


The Candy Shop Collection, the exclusive vintage-inspired jewelry line, as well as their popular Charleston Rice Beads, are available online and through select retailers as well as at the new Candy Shop Vintage Retail Showroom in Downtown Charleston. Located at 9 Cannon Street, you can choose from both new and an array of vintage treats.

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Scouring antiques stores and flea markets for inspiration and vintage treasures, Candy Shop Vintage designer Deirdre Zahl occasionally came across long, flapper style bead chains from the 1970’s. She bought them up only to discover they were a style known as Charleston Rice Beads. The shape and texture of the beads pay homage to the port city’s history – an economy founded on rice that helped establish an important cultural center in the Southeast and the United States. Having moved from New York to Charleston, Deirdre fell in love with the wit and whimsy of Southern culture. Our new Charleston Rice Beads are imbued with the spirit of the modern Charleston girl – a creative and independent adventuress. These fabulous beads, re-imagined by Candy Shop Vintage, are meant to be worn at different lengths, wrapped in different ways, and even stacked as bracelets. Trade them, share them, and give them away. Not just for tourists – but a bit of Southern charm for everyone, everywhere. As always, made in the U.S.A.

Shop Charleston Rice Beads

The Southern Coterie is a social network ( with events ( that connects influencers, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals with an affinity for the South- the Makers and Doers.

Enjoy this series where we introduce you to Southern creatives we find inspiring-





Cheri Leavy View More Blog Posts from this Author

Cheri Leavy is a connector, cheerleader and marketing consultant for fellow entrepreneurs.
Building rapport and strengthening a sense of community:
• A community of female entrepreneurs through the The Southern Coterie and The Southern C Summit
• The faces and places of Athens that make our city so vibrant through guide2athens
• A community of devoted football fans through Bulldawg Illustrated
- Contributing editor to Coastal Illustrated, Executive Board Member of the UGA Alumni Association

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