Spotlight: Tracy Tate and Cage Candy in the High Desert of Southern California

“Fight your fight.”

These are the words that motivate entrepreneur Tracy Tate to keep going, keep building her MMA-inspired line of women’s clothing, as well as motivate female MMA fighters she sponsors and hundreds of her friends, fans and followers. I had a chance to enjoy some coffee at The Grind with this inspirational lady and learned that sometimes life surprises us with where strength comes from.

RelyLocal: What inspired you to start Cage Candy?

Tracy Tate: It started after pulling an all-nighter with my son, watching Chuck Liddell, a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fighter. I couldn’t get enough of it! The next morning was so excited, wondering how to get involved in this sport. That was 3 years ago and I wanted to surprise my sister with an MMA (mixed martial arts) shirts. I couldn’t find women’s clothes for MMA support. Turns out, there was no line specifically for women. It was all men’s clothes kind of trying to look girly. I know that women like more about how things feel, fit, or stretch. Rather jokingly, I said to a local shop owner that I should create my own line. He asked if I was serious and said, “If you do, come back and see me because you are in the right place at the right time.” I thought about it, prayed about it and all of a sudden I got very excited and wouldn’t let the idea go. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I knew ‘if I can’t go big I’m not going at all.’

RelyLocal: How can MMA fans get Cage Candy clothing right now?

Tate: Currently we are selling at two places locally: Victor Valley College bookstore and Ever Young Day Spa on Hesperia Rd and Silica Rd in Victorville. We also have our line in 2 East Coast malls. And we have an online store where people can shop.  There is a waiting list for retail stores and online stores. Clearly there is a demand! We produce everything in Southern California and this year my goal is to find the right investor to take it to the next level.

RelyLocal: What is it like working with female MMA fighters and in the MMA world?

Tate: All my fighters wear Cage Candy. I want to know their story. Why are they getting in that cage? Is there physical or mental abuse you are conquering? Do you have some obstacle or challenge? All my fighters have some thing they are overcoming. One of my fighters lost her mom to breast cancer. So I tell her, “You go in that cage and fight for her.” I love the passion and determination; they’re fighting more than just for sport. They are fighting their past, their issues. I wish I could sponsor every girl that wrote to me. My heart is so big but my pocket book isn’t! I hope someday we can sponsor every female fighter to fight her fight. When I started this I searched out the founders of Tap Out. I learned about them and saw how they did it. No sense reinventing the wheel! I networked my way to them and learned from them. Each time we are at an event together I ask them for one more piece of advice then I go and do it! One of my fighters recently had Tap Out on the front of her shirt and Cage Candy on the back. That was a big moment. It’s a great feeling to see your stuff out there. Most people see me in my pink wig for fights, so I’m recognizable. Its funny, people look up to me but I’m really looking up to them!

RelyLocal: Your family has a long history in the Victor Valley. How have you seen it change? What do you see as the best response to the current economic climate?

Tate: We do have a lot of family history up here; my great-great grandparents homesteaded in the area. My grandparents helped found the Victor Valley Museum in Apple Valley. I love our weather with four seasons. And I have raised my family here. As far as the economic times go, we have been here before and we came out of it. It is just one of those waves we must ride out. During that time we just have to hang in there, support one another and realize we are not alone. A lot of people don’t know I’ve sometimes had to hold down 3 to 4 jobs at a time. I’m down to 2 now! This crisis puts families up against and a wall and they can only go down or up. Out of this depression will come some of the greatest innovations ever. It forces us to get creative and the ones who are hanging in there now will be the ones who come out strong the other side. And I plan on being one of those people! The fact is, what you put into life is what you’re going to get out of it. Everyone has a hardship story, but at the end of the day you need to live each day as though it’s your last. Maybe don’t focus too far in the future, look to the moment.

RelyLocal: You are a big supporter of the Buy Local movement here in the High Desert. What are some local, independent businesses you like to patronize?

Tate: We are sushi addicts and go to Soya Sushi on Bear Valley Rd and Hesperia Rd. There is also one in Jess Ranch; they are locally owned and have three locations in the High Desert. We also love Los Domingos on Main Street in Hesperia. myMEdiacharge does my web design. Wigs and Accessories on 7th street in Victorville is where I find my signature pink wigs for Cage Candy promotions and fights. And of course my sister Tiffany Tate is a realtor with Exit Realty LT Associates.

Tracy Tate is an inspiring lady who is doing what she can to encourage everyone, especially women, to never give up on themselves or their circumstances. She is doing a lot for the High Desert community, including recently speaking at Hesperia’s Relay for Life event. You can find her information at www.cagecandy.com.

If you would like to see your locally-owned business highlighted on this blog, please contact Alyssa Penman by email at AlyssaPenman {at} RelyLocal {dot} com or call her at 760-246-5400. RelyLocal.com is a locally-owned business that connects local consumers to local businesses for a thriving, robust and vibrant local economy.

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