We had the good fortune of connecting with Candace Hynson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Candace, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I didn’t have a specific thought process, I just knew I wanted to go freelance after 1. talking to all of these freelance stylists who were getting to work on really fun projects and 2. hearing the rates they were making and realizing that I was being severely underpaid for my creative resources at my full time job! In all seriousness, I think the idea of having the flexibility, meeting new people and owning something of my own was really the starting point for me. I gave myself a few months, asked a lot of questions of people who were doing it and tried to utilize my connections when I knew I was ready to make that transition. It really has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a freelance wardrobe stylist based in Oakland, CA. I’ve been working as a stylist for the last 9 years and really love all aspects of the process! I’m one of the few Black lead stylists that I know and I am really proud of that. So many times when I show up to a job I’m one of the few people of color, sometimes the only one so I think it’s really important to continue on with this work, be open about my experiences and hopefully encourage other Black creatives to forge ahead in this career path.
I went to school for fashion design originally which I always wanted to do but the technical aspect of design was not for me – I got to my first pattern making class and realized it was basically a geometry class and I was done – but I kept on with the program since there were aspects of it that I loved. I did land an internship after school with an indie designer and she invited me to a photo shoot and while I was there I locked eyes on the stylist, started asking questions and from there willed that I would be a stylist! I did a lot of vision boarding/testing and eventually I was able to style shoots for the start up I was working for. I kept going from there until I landed my first full time in house styling gig, but I eventually quit my job and went freelance in 2017. It was scary to make the leap from a full time job/quitting with no jobs lined up but once I quit things started to fall into place! I think the biggest challenge of that is adjusting to the schedule and building out your client base. Luckily I have met so many great artists who I’ve been able to collaborate with and I’ve been able to get a lot of work through my network. I also do the same/refer people for jobs too!
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the idea of self-trust, trusting your instincts, your eye and trusting the path that your on. This is especially true when things might be slower/your having a quiet period. With freelance work, this is really scary! I think this is where the trust is crucial – understanding that work always comes (which it does) and that the decision that you made for your business is the right one is always a practice when you’re starting out building your business. I also got some really good advice from a stylist who had been doing this for 25+ years and she told me perseverance is the most important thing I needed to have to make it. There would be times when I’d want to quit, or I’d be tired or things would be slow, and the people that made it the farthest in this industry are the ones who decide they want to stick it out. I’ve held on to that!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m based in Oakland and I’m a creature of habit so I have my favorite spots here! I used to live right off of Lake Merritt so ideally you grab brunch at Grand Lake Kitchen, if it’s summer/warm out grab a slushy to go from the Bay Grape and walk down to the lake and find a sunny spot for a few hours! I’d head into San Francisco to my old neighborhood for one of my favorite pizza’s at Fiorella.
Now for shopping – I have a vintage store, Faythe Vintage, so I love browsing racks of local shops and checking out local markets when I can! Mercy Vintage in Oakland and Pretty Penny Clothing are 2 of my faves. Also while in Berkeley, Slash Denim is a must.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There were so many supportive people in my story who encouraged me when I needed it, allowed me to bounce ideas off of them, collaborated with me and would even take me out for a drink and let me vent about the day I had if it called for that! Specifically in SF from 2007-2013. It is too many to list here! Specifically when I was deciding to start my business my then boyfriend, now husband Hamdy was super supportive when I was saying I wanted to quit my full time job and pursue freelance styling full time!
Other: www.shopfaythe.com (vintage shop)
Images 1, 3-5 c/o Candace Hynson IG
Image 2 – Katya Walch, Photographer, Imelda Carrasco MUA
Image 6 – Erika Pino, Photographer, David Searle MUA