Independent Shoe Designer, Shola Yusuf turned her Tragedy into Triumph.

Independent Shoe Designer, Shola Yusuf turned her Tragedy into Triumph.

How do you face the tragedies and setbacks that happen in your life?  It’s often said, the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. And ShuEsq believes we can all take a note or two from independent shoe designer, Shola Yusuf. Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Shola Yusuf is the founder and creative force behind the women’s shoe line, Shola Designs.  In 2009, Shola survived a nearly fatal car accident in New York City, and suffered a broken femur. Shola recalls that her first question to her ER doctor was the whereabouts of her favorite Christian Louboutin’s. Shola says that this accident did not shatter her spirit, but instead was a major turning point in her life.  Rather than bask in her tragedy, she was motivated to walk again because she could not imagine not being able to wear her favorite shoes again. More importantly, this setback prompted her to take a new direction in life, and one year later, Shola Designs was born. Sometimes dreamers, setbacks are our transportation to new beginnings.

The inspiration behind Shola Designs are the different cultures around the world. In fact, Shola uses the term “innovative” to describe the creative process of her shoe designs. Shola says she devours every form of media as it relates to fashion and tries to travel as often as possible. Shola considers fashion as a form of art and because of this, she treats her shoes as such. Shola also applies her West African roots and personal fashion sense to her shoe designs.

     Shola is proud to offer women shoes that are both stylish and elegant, but yet comfortable. Shola’s Designs are made in Italy, and its valuable to note that Italian shoes are synonymous with superior quality and premium materials. Matter of fact, Shola says, to not be surprised if you are wearing her designs and an admirer questions you about your shoes. They’re so #sholamazing, that her designs have been featured in Vogue!

One might think that Shola’s biggest obstacle when establishing her brand may have been dealing with the side effects of a broken femur, but it was conquering her fear of the unknown and taking a leap of faith to start a new career and launching a new business. An interesting fact about Shola is that in addition to Shola Designs, she owns three pharmacies! Shortly after Shola landed in the United States with only $100.00, she worked as a security guard while she attended pharmacy school. Yeah, she’s got the #dreammorethanonedream factor down to a tee!  Anywho, Shola describes feeling uneasy when stepping out of her comfort zone, but she opts to surround herself with people who have worked their way up. She has learned that the antidote to fear of the unknown is perseverance.

Shola leaves us with four gems to help any inspiring shoe designer, but we also think it can be applied to all dreamers! First, Shola says to develop courage because you have to start somewhere and you can only move forward if you are brave enough to lose sight of the shore. Second, trust your instincts. Third, practice enthusiasm and do task wholeheartedly and eagerly because it is easier to have a positive attitude when you are enthusiastic. And last but not least, persevere. Yes, the road to success is long and winding, but those who keep going regardless of how many times they fall, make it.

Be sure to check out Shola Designs at


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