T H E P I V O T
Life doesn't always go as planned but the PIVOT will be greater than the plan.
Candice Marie Dixon is the founder and CEO of RENEE MARIE, a jewelry and accessories brand specializing in products for Sororities and other membership-based organizations. Candice’s goal with her brand is to give her customers versatile and fashionable ways to amplify their personal beauty and style, and display the history and pride for their organizations. Candice credits her mother for inspiring and encouraging her entrepreneurial interests, which were evident as early as nine years of age. Candice remembers setting up shop on the front porch of her home in Alexandria, Louisiana, carefully setting up a display and sign to sell the hairbows that she designed herself.
After sitting outside all day, she didn’t make any sales.
Despite the failed business attempt as a young girl, Candice didn’t let that crush her entrepreneurial ambitions. She pursued a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with a scholarship from Southern University and A&M College. During her freshman year, she was accepted as a member of the inaugural class of Gates Millennium Scholars, an award that would fund her undergraduate and graduate studies. She went on to earn a Master of Science in Information Systems from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and EdS in Educational Technology from LSU. Years later, into an advanced career, Candice learned that she enjoyed the process of turning a concept into a tangible product. In 2014, a year before her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, was scheduled to host over 10,000 of its members at the national convention in Houston, Texas, Candice decided it was time to become a licensed vendor. Over the next year, while still working full-time as a healthcare information technology consultant, she spent $35,000 from her savings and credit accounts to develop her brand and design various products. She launched her business in the Summer of 2015 at the week long sorority convention, where she recouped her investment. RENEE MARIE has become a licensed vendor for all four of the Sororities in the Divine 9 of historically Black Greek letter organizations. She is honored to create products representing the rich history of these 100 plus year old sororities who positively impact their communities.
After five years in operation, the business experienced consistent growth year after year. In 2019, Candice was selected to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. She developed and implemented a growth plan that immensely helped increase her 2018 revenue by 70 percent in 2019. As her full-time consulting project came to a close in late 2019, Candice made the courageous decision to forgo consulting and is now a full-time entrepreneur, something that she admits both excites and scares her. Despite the challenges of entrepreneurship, Candice is determined to push through fear to develop her brand further and grow her business. Two things she always reminds herself of is the scripture, 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power” and the adage that “failure is just data.”
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