“Ambitious. Independent. Confident.”: Girl Tribe Co.’s Candace Pistolis Talks Women’s History Month
*photo by erin bowman
A strong woman is not limited to a specific set of characteristics or wardrobe styles.
Instead, she is a force; she pushes back on the boundaries of her world to create more room for other women to grow.
Candace Pistolis is one of these strong women. She works as the Lead Graphic Designer/Project Manager at Girl Tribe Co. in Charlotte, NC. She wears dainty gold bracelets on each wrist every day and is never afraid to liven up an outfit with animal print. She is an Instagram influencer’s daydream.
Aesthetics aside, this young fashionista lives her life in color. Amidst the cacophony of espresso machines at her favorite coffee shop and the laughter of her tight-knit friend group, Candace is inspired to express herself through art. Whether it be pen to paper, paint to canvas or mouse to computer screen, her mind manipulates the mundane in remarkable ways.
I sat down with her to get her take on one of the most important months of the year—Women’s History Month. As a young woman working in a male-dominated world in a niche profession, I was thrilled to hear what makes her proud to be a part of such an influential generation.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
This month is all about recognizing the achievements of women in all facets of life, reminding upcoming generations how strong they can be and creating opportunities for them to achieve as well.
What does a strong woman look like to you?
Ambitious. Independent. Confident. She goes for what she wants without hesitation. She doesn’t take no for an answer; she keeps fighting for what she wants and for everything she truly believes in.
Are there specific women that came before you, famous or otherwise, that make this month more special for you?
My mother and grandmother definitely made the biggest impact on me. Both my mother and grandmother were born and raised in Greece, and so I come from a very culturally rich Greek upbringing. My Grandmother faced extreme hardships growing up there with her family especially during WWII. Some of the stories are heartbreaking; the strength she gathered after the war motivated her family to move to the US in 1967.
Restarting their lives in Charlotte, NC was challenging, but never thought of as impossible. Knowing what they came from, and what they managed to build is unreal. It’s something I hold close to my heart. They shaped me to be the woman that I am today.
I learned that life is about taking chances, getting through the most difficult challenges, and cherishing every minute of that beautiful chaos.
How would you say you are paving the way for future generations of strong women?
I work with a team of women every day. Each day brings different tasks, but there is consistency in the mutual empowerment and encouragement we give each other. We lift each other up and we push one another forward; there is no better feeling than that. Whether colleagues, friends, or family, this mutual empowerment is how we help one another flourish now and for future generations.
What is the ultimate goal you would like to see women achieve in your lifetime?
For every woman to pursue her dreams and chase her goals. Trust your gut. Do what YOU want. Don’t let anyone stop you, or tell you no. Let that only fuel your passion!
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Yes! I think it is extremely important to continue to support and empower women. The most common misconception when it comes to feminism is the definition itself. It is the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. It is not a plan to conquer strong men in the world; it is a fight to be recognized for the strengths we share with them.
Who are some of your most powerful female role models in the spotlight today, and why?
I would say right now, my two bosses are amazing role models (Carrie Barker and Sarah Baucom of Girl Tribe Co.); I look up to them for so many reasons.
First, they built their business from the ground up, taking risks along the way to get to where they are today. Secondly, they’ve created such an uplifting community that is continuing to grow here in Charlotte. They support a number of local businesses in Charlotte. It amazes me how much of an impact they’ve had on so many people here; yet, they are both so humble and kind. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new from these two fearless, female leaders.
What do you believe is holding women back the most from reaching their full potential in today’s society?
So many of us are afraid of being told “no” or that we “can’t do it,” but I believe much can be gained in the experience itself. Growing up, my dad always encouraged me to set my fear aside and go after what I want. And that’s what I do. Over the years I have learned that the knowledge I gain from the experience — even if I fail — is so much more valuable than staying safe and giving into my fears. Positive or negative, I can always take what I learned and use it to move forward into my next learning experience.