We had the good fortune of connecting with Candace Chen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Candace, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I never thought I’d find myself in the fashion industry, much less launching a fashion product! The idea came forth when I was trying to solve the problem of my feet hurting in high heels. From then on, the thought process was more centered around, “How do we get this product out to all the women out there who love heels but can’t stand to be in physical pain?” and that was how Protege was launched!

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’m very detail-oriented, and I take that focus down to the last detail because I care deeply about my customers and their experience with our product and brand. I see my design as proof for the heels industry that combining style and comfort is possible, if the designer cares enough about both. Our heels exist so women don’t have to choose between the two – so she can focus on presenting her best, confident self!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Palma (new concept restaurant) recently opened and has awesome vibes! Will definitely be taking out-of-town friends there.

Camelback Mountain – it’s one of my favorite hikes in the entire country, and I always bring friends there..

I’ll also bring them to the W Hotel Scottsdale and other nearby clubs for an authentic “Old Town Experience.”

During the summer, you can’t go wrong with EDM concerts at Talking Stick pool!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Ali Tso! She started her photography business around the same time Protege launched so it’s been fun to grow together and in parallel to her. Her Instagram is @alitsophoto.

Website: protegefootwear.com

Instagram: @cantdancechen

Facebook: @protegefootwear

Other: Pricing: Protege Stilettos (MSRP $265) Protege Block Heel (MSRP $225 – launching soon!) Protege Bridal Heel (MSRP $450 – launching soon!)

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