What’s more American than being resilient, becoming an entrepreneur and not accepting limitations? Flipping Bling creator Kay Van Hoesen left New York for South Carolina, founding the largest residential appraisal firm on Myrtle Beach’s "Grand Strand," the 60 miles of luxury beachfront up to the North Carolina state line.
She absorbed the outhern beach esthetic through and through, wanting to wear its ubiquitous flipflops both day and night.
She realized they wouldn’t cut it when dealing with the owners of multi-million dollar properties — though flipflops are so perfect for working around beach front properties and pools. Inspired and undeterred to create a whole new business during the pandemic, she set up her own design center, developing the patent-pending Bling Maker™ system in April, 2021.
Thus, a new fashion wave was born.
We recently interviewed Ms. Van Hoesen by telephone:
Where do you get your inspiration for designs?
I’ve been working on this for years.
I wanted designs with good coverage of feet, for bunions: you don’t notice what you don’t want people to see! I went to the Garment District in New York to pick out bling, look at it.
I don’t think I’ll ever retire! I did it for myself, originally — I made it myself.
Who are some fashion designers that you admire?
I’ll tell you, I’m such a country girl! My friend Elizabeth keeps talking about Anna Wintour.
How did you decide to move down South?
I was previously married and my then-husband got a job offer. A year later, he left and I stayed!
Thousands of other people have moved from New York to the South. Are you able to reach out to them and show them the relaxed way of life?
There are so many people here from the North! It is so a relaxed way of life. It drove me crazy at first, now I guess I am slow! You gotta get flipflops and just chill.
Have you seen an uptick in sales, with people working from home?
We just launched in April. I have had comments from women when I wear them, I get stopped all the time — only favorable comments. One lady got them for her Huskies’ dog collars! The Huskies play hard, they’re so rambunctious. The bling never comes off.
Is South Carolina "open"? Can Flipping Bling be sold in stores?
South Caroline is very open. I am able to approach them (the shops), but I really want to avoid retail if I could. I attended a webinar with Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank. He talked about all of these businesses having to pivot to online only. The profit margins are so much better.
I’m applying to QVC. I think it’s a good match for them: it’s easy to demonstrate, it’s mass-market and affordable.
You have an all-women team. How did that come to be?
With my real estate business, I had a staff of all women. My bookkeeper from there is with me. A good friend had lost her job, I hired her. Another friend who is expert in advertising works part-time for me. I like supporting women.
Are your designs unisex or are you planning to make them so?
I did talk to a man in the Marine Corps who said if I had a Marine Corps design, he’d wear them, but then you get into licensing when it comes to logos.
Do you have the capacity to make custom designs, such as for sororities, cheerleaders, etc.?
Maybe teams’ colors. I have some ideas. You know those badge covers? I would like to do something like them with trim, you could put your own picture in.
Tamar Alexia Fleishman was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's youngest female solo violinist. A world-traveler, Fleishman provides readers with international flavor and culture. She's debated Bill Maher, Greta Van Susteren and Dr. Phil. Fleishman practices law in Maryland with a J.D. from the University of Baltimore, a B.A. in Political Science from Goucher College. Read Tamar Alexia Fleishman's Reports — More Here.
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