We love celebrating strong, successful women here at The Caviar Spoon, which is why we’ve created ReBelles. These are the women who are working it and owning it in life, work, and everything in between. Our newest ReBelle is luxury accessories designer Dayan Candamil.
We have a bit of a weak spot for pretty things around here which is why it was no surprise when we did a double take upon seeing Dayan Candamil’s accessories. This Colombian native (who calls Miami home) has travelled the world and created a decadent accessories line that oozes glamour and luxury. From statement-making jewellery with precious stones to fine leather and skin goods, like a green crocodile handbag with gold filigree cockatoos adorning it, Dayan embraces an elegant femininity and fierceness.
Read on to find out more about Dayan, the best and worst things about being a designer, and how she describes her clientele.
Tell us about your career to date?
I started to design things for myself when I was in school. My main inspiration was just to be able to style myself the way I wanted. I’ve always had a clear idea of my style and for that, I needed great accessories. Since a very young age, I was totally aware of the necessity of having great accessories. Not just with character and a story to tell, but with extraordinary quality. And that was very difficult to find in those times.
And at that time, I had plenty of time so I cut here, I painted there. I brought to life all kinds of ideas that crossed my mind and, little by little, I started to find what I really envisioned in my mind—to find my own style.
When I started at my university, all the other girls asked me if I was willing to make some for them…Then I got my first job and I started to sell to all the girls. But I never really thought about creating a life or a business out of this. I just love it and I feel very honored when someone thinks it is beautiful and wants to have one.
After finishing my studies in art history in San Francisco, I moved to London, and after finishing classes at the London Fashion School, my teacher asked me to think about a serious business out of my passion. He said, “You have an amazing style and you need to grow in that”. So I put a business plan together, organized all my collections, and with the help of a lot people, I presented my collection to some investors.
That was the starting of Dayan Candamil as a brand. It’s been an amazing journey with lots of learning, but that for me is the beauty of any business—the process. And if it is something you love to do, there is not a day I’m not excited about what’s next.
When did you have your “A-HA” moment with your business concept?
There have been many moments. I’m proud to say I never lose the capacity of being surprised almost every day. But if we are talking about important moments in my career, I can recall some special moments like the day a lady asked me to sell everything I was wearing to her. At first, I was thinking she was joking but definitely not when I saw her stopping at an ATM, taking the cash, and putting it in my hand to get all the accessories. Every time I remember that moment, I cannot stop laughing about it.
Back in Miami, a gentleman ordered my whole collection and he gave it as a present to all the women in his family. Again, at this moment, I was thinking it was a joke, but no. The next day he sent his driver to pick up everything. And the day I got the funding for my business, it was the most scary feeling in the world because, believe me, you panic when you get what you want. You are never ready for those moments. It has been a journey with lots of special moments.
Who has inspired you the most and why?
People inspire me…Every day.
What’s been the biggest reward to date being a designer?
I don’t think of myself as a designer, but as a creative. I create jewelry, I create handbags, I create the style of Dayan Candamil, and I put my opinion in everything from the paper we print on to the packaging. I create the whole process.
And the worst thing about being a designer…
I think the worst part of being a creative person is having to deal with the legal side of a business. For me, the fun is in making beautiful things and spending time with my clients but after that, I avoid going to banks or doing paperwork at all costs. But sometimes you have to do what you have to do. You cannot have fun all the time.
What do you do to get inspired?
My biggest inspiration is animals, art, and history. I mix all those elements with myself; I have my own way of living and seeing life. So I make accessories to match that life.
How do you measure success?
Success for me is doing what you really like, and above that, success for me is the ability to start all over again any time you need to. As many times as you need, without losing the enthusiasm.
What do you struggle with now as a business woman?
As a business woman, I think being a woman in a man’s world, as is the jewelry and stones business or skin business, is a challenge. Because some guys have a hard time dealing with women. But I enjoy very much negotiating with them.
The biggest learning lesson since opening up your business?
There have been a lot up and downs since I open Dayan Candamil but I do not regret any of my mistakes in the making of my brand. The beauty of mistakes is the learning and understanding process. Experience is something no one can take away from you. If you ask me what all these years have taught me, I would say to be a good listener and to negotiate the terms in everything.
What advice would you give to women looking to succeed in the workplace or
in their own business?
Try, try, and try… and never get stuck to one plan. Things change, the weather changes, you should be able to change every day, as well.
Be original and very real in everything you do, every day. Build a reputation based on the real you. Be curious, ask questions. Take notes and please, while you are making your career, don’t forget yourself. You will only do well when everything is doing well so keep it all together.
How do you achieve a work/life balance? What’s your one piece of advice?
One day at a time…I don’t stick to schedules, I go day by day. If I have lots of work to do, I cancel events and even my daily training to concentrate only on one thing for a few days. Then I’m back to my regular routine. In the mornings, I’m usually at my pilates or gym classes. Then I do things around my home and by lunchtime I’m in the office until around 8 pm.
3 words to describe your clientele
Smart, kind, courageous
3 words to describe you
Courage, fun, honesty
An emerging designer you most admire and why
I don’t read any magazines, I don’t even own a TV. And I don’t go to any fashion shows. This is difficult to answer, to be honest.
Your motivational quote
One from Aristotle: “Courage is the first of all human qualities because it guarantees all others”
The person you most respect is…
My mom…She talks and before she finishes the sentence, I’m already saying, “Yes, mom”.
Your business mantra
Try all possibilities…and try again!
Your life mantra
Follow your heart at all times…and please never stop trying, as a person, in love, in business. I can assure you, dreams come true.