Sally Rhodes, Founder of Miss Rhodes Designs
An artist and designer creating hand-painted customised artwork on shoes and accessories
My love affair with shoes started when I was 15. Sitting on the bus next to my friend – some money in my purse – I felt grown-up as I headed into town on my first shopping trip without the parents. I’ve always taken pride in my appearance, so it felt great when I came home with a lovely pair of high heels!
Today – married and settled in Kent with three young children – shoes play a prominent role in my life; they’re the cornerstone of my business.
Having put the time in at school and college to refine my artistic skills, I also spent a good four to five years undertaking product and materials-based research before launching Miss Rhodes Designs in early 2018. I wanted to be fully prepared that my business would work, that I could deliver. Fine-tuning my designs, perfecting different styles and rigorously testing the paints to ensure they didn’t chip or fade once applied to the footwear were a crucial part of the process.
Now I’m up and running, with quality control maintained at an optimum level, I can devote my energies to creating shoe designs that mean something to me on a personal level but that will speak passionately to others and really resonate with them.
I take inspiration from many places; for instance, my ‘Know your Worth’ range celebrates women’s inner beauty – using graffiti writing to convey the message that we should all look beyond the surface – while ‘Revolution’ was devised to honour 50 years since the Civil Rights Movement ended and communicate a powerful stance on anti-racism. The concept just flowed with ‘Revolution’ – resulting in an almost subconscious, deeply spiritual experience.
My youngest is a year old and the pace of my workload is agreeable – allowing me to create shoe designs around family life. When my children see their mummy working and enjoying herself, they get the paints out and want to join in, which I think is really significant. Maybe my company will be passed down to them… if it’s to be, it’ll be.
Mums often feel guilty about working when they have kids, but they should never forget the strong examples they’re setting – especially as regards work ethic.