Steele of the Week: Charleston Rice Beads (Get 20% Off!)


Charleston Rice Bead Necklace in Shiny Gold, $60* and Bracelet in Turquoise, $22.40*

Looking for an easy way to up your end-of-the-summer style game? All it takes is a strand of these vintage-inspired Charleston Rice Beads, which come in five metallic finishes and three colors, including the brand-new True Navy (below). Loop them over anything from a breezy dress to a casual t-shirt to a swimsuit for an instant update. And for this week only, you can score a 20% discount on the entire Charleston Rice Bead collection (which includes necklaces in two lengths, bracelets, and earrings) with the code COASTAL20. Read on to get to know Deirdre Zahl, the jewelry designer behind the Charleston Rice Beads …

Deirdre Zahl of Charleston's Candy Shop Vintage

Deirdre Zahl of Charleston’s Candy Shop Vintage

Why rice beads? What inspired this design?
I came across my first set of (vintage) rice beads in an antiques shop in Charleston, SC. I loved the design and came to find out they were a popular style in the 1960’s that was sold around the Southeast and called “Charleston Rice Beads.” My own jewelry line is all about reviving vintage styles in new, modern ways, and I thought it would be fabulous to re-make these in different lengths and colors and styles. Plus I’d relocated to Charleston a few years earlier, and I thought it was a great way to celebrate at city I love and share it with my customers.

Charleston Rice Bead Necklace in True Navy

Charleston Rice Bead Necklace in True Navy, $60*

Did you have a career before launching your jewelry line and shop?
I worked in fashion marketing and digital design in New York City. When I moved to Charleston, I had my hands in a few different things, from website design to interior design. I eventually landed here because it pretty much combines all my skills and professional experience with something I love to do.

Charleston Rice Bead Earrings

Charleston Rice Bead Earrings in Coral and Turquoise, $28* each


Biggest lesson learned from starting your own business:
Persistence. It’s very rare you get something right on the first try. Being an entrepreneur involves a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. It can be nerve wracking. But if you stay on the path you want to be on and do not give up, you will inevitably find things will unfold the way they need to.

Best advice for those considering starting a business:
Plan the plan, not the outcome. I started with a business plan but I’ve had some great things happen that were not in the plan, like opening a retail store. Let your brand/business tell you what it needs as it goes along, and use your business plan as a loose guide.

Favorite beach:
Sullivan’s Island, just outside Downtown Charleston


Deirdre sporting Charleston Rice Bead Earrings, $28*

Matunuck Oyster Bar Menu

Matunuck Oyster Bar Menu

Favorite travel destination:
I guess that depends what I’m in the mood for. I love a good trip to New England to get out of the humid southern heat this time of year. We took a family vacation to Rhode Island this summer—the beaches there are beautiful! For something more exotic, we loved St. Kitts in the West Indies, and for a summer European adventure, I would combine Paris with the South of France, somewhere along the coast like Antibes.

(Jonesing for a Rhode Island getaway? Take this one minute escape!) 

Best destination for shopping:
Downtown Charleston! There are so many great shops from exquisite local boutiques like Mac & Murphy, Indigo & Cotton, Hampden Clothing, and the Candy Shop Vintage flagship (of course), to big name retailers like Kate Spade and luxury brands like Louis Vuitton. We pretty much have it all!

(For more Charleston travel ideas, see our Insider’s Guide here.)

Tink and Tiger Covington Shirt in Marquesas floral

Deirdre and her family at the beach

Beach day uniform:
My floral coverup from Tink & Tiger over a vintage bathing suit

Beach day soundtrack:
Washed Out, a little Taylor Swift, and maybe some Daft Punk

Beach beauty regimen:
Moisturize, moisturize, and SPF

Go-to summer drink:
A South Side. It’s the northeastern evolution of a mint julep, but made with gin and lemon juice. Recipe here.

Charleston Rice Bead Necklace in Shiny Gold

Charleston Rice Bead Necklace in Shiny Gold, $60*

Trend you’re loving:
Rompers—so easy and fun to accessorize with!

Charleston Rice Bead Bracelets

Charleston Rice Bead Bracelets, $22.40*

*Use the code COASTAL20 for 20% off of any rices beads purchase at between now and Sunday, August 16.

Thanks, Deirdre!


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