CEO of Brooklyn Outdoor, J’adore Detroit, and Alley Taco, Candice Simons is a #GLAMBOSS in every way! We dive into her businesses, style and favorite things around Detroit in 20 Questions.
By Rachel Schostak
1. Tell us a little bit about your background and where you’re from? I am the President and CEO of Brooklyn Outdoor and J’adore Detroit – with the recent addition of Alley Taco in Midtown. I grew up in Northville and went to Michigan State University for two years, graduating from DePaul University in downtown Chicago in 2006. After graduation, I had the pick of industries and interviewed for them all – the advertising industry found me and it’s been love ever since. I worked in Chicago for eight years before moving back to Detroit in 2013 to bring my creative talents and fresh perspective on outdoor advertising home – resulting in the creation of Brooklyn Outdoor – now one of the most innovative and fastest growing outdoor advertising companies in the industry.
2. Tell us more about what Brooklyn Outdoor is, and how the company is evolving here in Detroit? Brooklyn Outdoor is the only national, certified women-owned business with full national out-of-home coverage. Our core business is outdoor signage and displays, including billboards, hand-painted murals, wallscapes, digital billboards, branded buses and taxis, bus shelters, digital interactive, street furniture, posters, mobile billboards and in-window displays. We are adept at creating opportunities in places that they didn’t previously exist, helping clients and potential clients explore exciting new creative possibilities. Brooklyn’s four divisions include Outdoor, Hand-Painted, Experiential Marketing, and our newest division – Events. Brooklyn Events facilitates unique Detroit experiences and brings together diverse Detroit populations at her beautiful, industrial-chic event space in Eastern Market: The Brooklyn Outdoor Loft. I completely designed this hidden gem with my quirky, unique aesthetic and flavor using as many local Detroit artisans as possible. The beauty of being in Detroit is that it is ever-changing and we are along for the ride.
3. When did you start your blog J’adore Detroit and what is it about? When I moved back to Detroit, I wasn’t sure what was here for me other than friends, family, and a blank canvas for me to start anew. About a year into being home, I began to explore on my own on the weekends and quickly (and unexpectedly) fell in love. The thriving arts and culture scene in the city was electric and at the time, no one was writing about it all-encompassing of arts, entertainment, culture, fashion, where to go, and what to do. There were bits and pieces of it, but nothing comprehensive. I knew then that it was my duty to bring all that is magical in those areas together and share all that I was seeing and feeling in real time with the public. I wanted to ensure that those who were looking to explore the scene had a vetted resource to find information in one place. J’adore Detroit was then born as a passion project to share and document the ‘rebirth’ of the city through my twinkling eyes. On the blog, we share the stories of local entrepreneurs, showcase businesses that we love, and keep readers up to date on events happening in the city.
4. What is your favorite thing about working in the media industry? J’adore Detroit celebrates, publicizes, and forges connections between Detroit area residents and some of the city’s most innovative and inspiring creators: from non-profits and musicians to artists and artisans, to chefs and creative new companies. Brooklyn Outdoor works on a national level with fortune 500 brands and companies that want to bring dollars to Detroit. The ability to be a connector through Brooklyn Outdoor to bring much-needed revenue back into our city is extremely powerful. We have had the fortunate ability to shed light on the positivity happening throughout the city and show our brands that they need to be in Detroit along with our other markets.
5. You are a busy, hard working business woman. How do you find some balance between work and your personal life? Work, life, balance is always a challenge for me because I love being busy and feeling challenged in my day to day life. In the last year, I’ve been exploring different meditation and mindfulness practices for personal growth and taking part in personal development seminars and reading. I need to continue to make myself and well-being a priority.
To keep myself grounded and bring me back to peace, I travel a few times a year internationally to experience other cultures, places, and people. Bali is where I know I can always get back to equilibrium. I recently joined my CEO soul sister – Kacee Must – and Citizen Yoga in Nicaragua and will be joining her again in Costa Rica in 2018 to clear my head and be present. My mission is to remain centered and find balance and stillness in everyday life.
Now on to some fashion…
6. Accessory or possession you can’t leave home without? I can’t leave home without a staple bag filled to the brim with all of my essentials – I gravitate toward a classic style with a little “extra” flavor.
7. One word to describe your style? “Glamboss” – Glamboss to me is confident, sexy, feminine and masculine – a perfect mix of rocker chic meets professional. It has always been extremely important to me in business that I maintain my personality through my unique and unorthodox style.
8. Where do you find style + fashion inspiration? I find my inspiration in the city and the energy of the environment around me with current circumstance. In Detroit, we have harsh winters and the most beautiful summers in the country, we have shiny new buildings and hauntingly beautiful abandoned, historic buildings on the same block…it is a series of opposites and the unexpected –yet these things go together and allow us to tell our stories. I am attracted to demolishing stereotypes and do that in my style. The energy of every city is different and I find that when I travel, my style changes based on my surroundings.
9. Who inspires you in the fashion or business world? I recently met Sophia Amoruso – Girl Boss herself and in speaking with her – realized what a true inspiration she is to me. She is humble, kind, and is a girl on a mission – just like me. Her story is very similar to mine starting out that she just went for it and started creating and figuring it out along the way. Her style is flawless because it is authentically HER. She is unapologetic about how she dresses, mistakes she has made, and that she doesn’t have it all figured out.
10. Best style advice ever received? The best style advice I received is what not to do. Take one accessory off before you leave the house – I put one on. Do not wear white after labor day – I love winter white and wear white all year round. Wear a suit to a meeting – I deconstruct my suit and add some fun. My advice is just to be authentic. You can dress professionally but still be you. Authenticity is key in my business and in my life.
11. Who inspires your style? Do you have a style icon? I have a TON of style icons. I will list a few here: Sara Jessica Parker, Madonna, Lauren Hutton, Kate Moss, Marilyn Monroe, Stevie Nicks, Blake Lively, Gwen Stefani, Miranda Kerr, Khloe Kardashian, Anna Wintour, and the list goes on…as you can see they are all totally different. I take inspiration from all and mix them together into something unique.
12. You’re never fully dressed without? My Cartier Juste un Clou and Love. I never take them off. I bought them for myself and they remind me to always be proud and love myself.
13. Name one style rule you think all women should break? All of them. Break the rules. Be you. Style is one place where you can truly be yourself and break the rules without consequences and confidence allows you to break them and not be sorry you did.
14. If you could raid anyone’s closet, whose would it be? Olivia Palermo has amazing street style and does a killer job of mixing genres together in her looks. I would love to raid her closet and commandeer all of her fabulous bags.
Now onto some local love…
15. A few local boutiques or places you love to shop at in your neighborhood or around metro Detroit? It’s dangerous to work above Orleans + Winder! I fall in love with a new piece every time I’m in the office. Detroit is the New Black is another one of my favorites. Bird Bee is amazing for all over affordable and chic looks. BORO is my go-to for great vintage finds!
16. Favorite thing to do on the weekend in Detroit? Enjoy live music on Fridays and Saturdays at Café d’Mongo’s or anywhere really. The owner, Larry Mongo, and his bar are famous throughout Detroit and for good reason. The house specialties, ‘Detroit Brown’ and ‘1439 Griswold’ are two of my favorite cocktails in the city, rumor has it they’re Quentin Tarantino’s favorites too.
17. Favorite local restaurant? Selden Standard is definitely a go-to for me. I can sit at the bar and have some bites and some great wine, brunch on the weekend, enjoy the patio out back or entertain business associates for a full-on amazing meal. My most recent favorite is Lady of the House because of my obsession with long-time friend Chef Kate Williams.
19. What do you love about Detroit?
“The beauty that exists in the contrast between rough and refined- Detroit is gritty in some areas and shiny in others. The Detroit hustle is real. The small business community and long-time residents of this city are driven by a passion for their work and the city as a whole.”
20. Favorite quote or words to live by? “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
b. Fashion Quote: “I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people would perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.” — Alexander McQueen