Name: Candita Choffy
Business Name/Occupation: Stella & Dot
When did you know starting a business was right for you? Tell us about your business: When my boys were both in preschool I realized I had the time to work for myself. I started Stella & Dot after meeting a wonderful woman who was a stylist as well as mother of 3, wife, and worked full time with Meryl Lynch. I knew with my young boys -- one on the autism spectrum and one with behavior and development delays -- I would have to get them to different therapy appointments every week and I would never be able to work a 9-5 job. I started off slow with Stella & Dot, but quickly fell in love with the company and began growing my team. I have been a stylist for a little over 2 years now and have a team of 25+, I love coaching them. Having a team of my own has brought new friendships into my life. I learn from them just as they learn from me and we cheer each other on when going for promotions and meeting goals! Stella & Dot is so much more than amazing accessories. It is a community of women who constantly lift each other up!
What is the most amazing thing you have experienced in business?: The fellowship among stylists is like none I have ever experienced. Our community is so uplifting and positive. As a whole, we care about one another beyond the business. It has taught me so much about myself.
What is the most disheartening thing you have encountered in your career as a military spouse?: Catty women who can't stand to see you become successful at what you do.
What career challenges have you faced because you are a military spouse?: My career challenges as a military spouse when first moving to Fayetteville was finding a job. I was a pastry chef in NYC that was also french culinary trained, the problem is there weren't any restaurants that needed me. I was also told that I was over qualified everywhere I went.
What advice would you give a military spouse, interested in staring their own business?: I would say "GO FOR IT!" Have faith in yourself and go for it! If you can start a business, do your research and get to know your market. Working for yourself is incredibly rewarding!
What is the most challenging thing about being a military spouse and business owner? What is the most rewarding thing?: The hours spent apart is the hardest, especially when you have kids.
Being at Fort Bragg for us has provided a sense of stability. I have been here almost 10 years and have never had to pcs, which was a blessing having 2 kids that need a stable environment to thrive.
How did it feel when you made your first sale?: I was overjoyed! It was the first step in earning my investment back and being 100% profitable.
What is one obstacle you have faced as a business owner, or on a personal level, as a military spouse, that you would have never expected?: One obstacle has been women thinking of me as that icky sales girl with a gimmick.
What is one business goal you hope to accomplish by the end of this year?: My goals for 2015 is to: 1) Earn my first honor as a heart of leadership star stylist, and 2) Double promote to director. Which would only happen by helping my girls promote to Stars!! My success only happens when we succeed together. That is what I love, it is a true team effort!
As a military spouse, or business owner, I know one thing for certain. It is . . .: I will never give up on my goals.
What strengths do you possess, that you did not know you had, until you became an entrepreneur?: My ability to speak in front of groups of people. I was never comfortable with speaking and now it is easier. I also discovered I have an eye for styling!
My biggest fear is . . . : Letting my family and team down.
My greatest accomplishment is . . .: Promoting and growing our team.
When I grow up I want to be . . . : An executive leader with Stella & Dot!
In 2050 I hope military spouses are/can/have/achieve . . .: Can have stability and great child care so they do not have to feel guilty for working!
Why do military spouses make great entrepreneurs?: I think military spouses make great entrepreneurs because we adapt to challenges well.
What is your legacy?: My team!
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/canditachoffystelladot