Photos by CARRIE ALLEN
When it comes to fabulous personal style – and designer details that naturally come with a little magic– CoCo Couture in Cornelius, NC, is the perfect place to steal away, relax, and discover some new looks to refresh your current wardrobe. Jewelry and shoes included!
Open since 2016, the upscale boutique boasts a contemporary, colorful aesthetic and a unique shopping experience for all ages and sizes. Sprinkled in is a little southern hospitality, and true customer service at the grassroots level. Owner Candace Bongiovanni knows this is an absolute dream job.
Located in the heart of Lake Norman in Jetton Village, CoCo Couture is a reflection of what the creative Candace fell in love with years ago during a trip to New York City during the holidays. Between gazing at sophisticated window displays and feeling the exuberant rush of new styles premiering, she knew her own “fashion niche” was destined to be curating gorgeous collections for loyal customers.
“Fashion overflows with emotion, and assembling a wardrobe for a client can be life-changing for all of us,” says Candace. “Feeling beautiful translates to feeling confident, which is vital to every woman! When a client calls to schedule a wardrobe consultation for a special occasion, I know I have just been invited to share in one of the most important aspects of her life,” she adds. “She is entrusting me to create a look that both empowers and embraces her personality and her natural beauty!”
Besides expanding in a year’s time from carrying over 70 different designers, to well over 100, the upscale boutique is also currently promoting their “Top Model” search – a fun and worthwhile program that recognizes a local woman in the community who influences others through her philanthropy work, and who can enjoy modeling some of the boutique’s collections – all for a good cause.
“We ask our ‘model’ to come into the shop, where we select a wardrobe that fits both her personality and her lifestyle,” explains Candace. After a mini photo shoot, she is featured on the boutique’s blog – showcasing beautiful fashions from CoCo Couture, while also applauding outstanding involvement in the community.
Clients also love the boutique’s Wardrobe Consultation Service, which is a perfect outing for you and a friend! “We offer a complimentary service to clients that includes coming in for the staff to put together a wardrobe based on their needs,” says Candace. “If they have a special piece or two they really love already in their wardrobe, we invite them to bring those pieces and let us coordinate and create around them.” Candace and her professional team of seven strive for the finest customer service around, leaving clients already planning their next visit as soon as they leave the shop. The CoCo Couture team is composed of unique personalities, with different ideas and style solutions they are always ready to share. Check out their Facebook page to book an appointment!
From chic jeans and career outfits, to casual dresses and even dressier options, CoCo Couture offers endless choices and stylish combinations, with sophisticated lines that include Joseph Ribkoff, Frank Lyman, Susan Shaw, LYSSE, Alberto Makali, Brighton Jewelry, and Julie Vos jewelry. Trunk shows are a frequent occurrence, so follow @cococouturelkn on Instagram for event updates, and shop for sleek, sophisticated fashion and accessories 24/7 at thecococouture.com.
But there’s another side to Candace, the businesswoman, as owner of Carolina Classic Cars in Asheboro, NC. Open since last October, Candace has also developed a passion for rare and unique vintage automobiles, and her favorite classic car of all time is a 1965 Ford Cobra. Carolina Classic Cars is a showroom for sports, exotics, classics, and late model automobiles, always with an eye out for exclusive, rare finds. They buy, sell, trade, and consign.
“My dad collected classic cars, so I have been around them all my life,” explains Candace. “I also love the sound of a 1966 Chevelle SS with a dual exhaust, preferably a 502 engine. There’s a thrill with the sound of an American Hot Rod!”
In Candace’s own words, she has the perfect work balance!
“At the beginning of the week I get to dress up in gorgeous collections and serve the fashion industry, and at the end of the week, I play with Hot Rods!” she says.
That means Candace is back and forth between her Lake Norman home and a country retreat in Randolph County, but always with an eye on giving back to both communities. With cruise-ins held four times a year, Carolina Classic Cars also supports local groups such as the CRISIS Center in Asheboro, where they collected over 400 toys this past holiday season for children in the community. Candace’s devotion to philanthropy is a prominent part of her daily routine at both businesses.
Carolina Classic Cars also has a proven team of professionals, including David Varner, a lifelong classic car enthusiast who maintains the showroom on a daily basis. Candace also owns Allen Automotive right next door, a Hot Rod shop that does full restoration and overhauls on vehicles. That’s where she relies on mechanic Allen Kinney, who, with over 30 years experience, is always around for guidance or advice for both established and budding classic car enthusiasts. Widely known as the go-to guy for classic cars repair, Allen also offers a wealth of knowledge in classic car performance, maintenance, and engine rebuild. Allen Automotive services both modern and classic vehicles, and is open to the public.
You can catch the busy (but always full of positive energy!) Candace at CoCo Couture, located at 19818 N. Cove Rd., Suite B, in Cornelius, NC, 704-896-8044, and online at thecococouture.com. Boutique hours are Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information on Carolina Classic Cars, visit thecarolinaclassiccars.com or call 336-736-8855. The shop is located at 120 Spring Forest Road in Asheboro, NC.
(Photo Credit – 1935 Cadillac Fleetwood previously owned by makeup guru Elizabeth Arden)