Whimsical Beauty – Sara Melissa Designs

The Yin Yang Philosophy to Shoes!

I can’t be the only person in the world that wouldn’t die to have a room full of shoes! I have to admit I do have somewhat of a shoe obsession. However, over the years I have grown to love and appreciate top quality handcrafted shoes. I believe women go through phases in their lives. In your 20’s, it’s all about looking good for an affordable price, no matter if they are comfortable. By the time you enter into your 30’s, you want to look good, feel good and have quality shoes that will last beyond one season without falling apart!

Being in the fashion industry, I am bombarded by different brands and styles. I love it when I see unique brands that really stand out and grab my attention. When that happens, I get reminded of the reason why I love this industry. However, just having a great design is one thing, having a mission behind your brand is another.

I recently had that feel good moment when I was introduced to Sara Melissa Designs. Here is a brand that stood out instantly. Her collection is very whimsical with a touch of the yin yang philosophy, meaning each shoe is slightly different. If you look closely the left shoe vs the right shoe, the colors are reversed. I think this is a beautiful element to add to the shoes. I was also drawn to the fact that the company gives back to women in need. I am all about empowering women. The photoshoot campaign displays perfectly the meaning of the collection. We see a very strong, independent confident woman not being afraid to show us her unique flair.

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I got a chance to interview with designer Sara Melissa for some inside scoop into her world.

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What made you decide to start your business?

 SM: Ultimately I’ve always seen it as part of my dream.    I wanted to create something that was authentic to who I am and what I stand for. Creating something that has substance and depth has always been something important for me.  I come from Nicaragua, a third world country that is scarred by 100 years of war and, as a result, is one of the poorest in the world.  That being said, there is a defining need for me to contribute something that helps others, starting my own business is a platform that gives me a chance to do that.

What is your business known for or what is unique about it?

 SM: I wanted to bring forth something authentic, with lasting quality and depth, something that transcended fashion itself.  To incorporate that into my brand I came up with Yin Yang shoes.   Playing off of the Yin Yang philosophy itself.  In a nutshell; that you need darkness to see light something that you can find in most of life’s situations, a positive to balance out the negative.  I believe in this and find it powerful.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

 SM: Finding inspiration is probably my favorite part because I get to travel and turn my experiences into concepts.  I really enjoy brainstorming new ideas and incorporating them into my designs.

What has been your greatest accomplishment?

 SM: This is my greatest accomplishment, having the opportunity to turn my dream into reality.

What would you say is the hardest part of growing this business is?

 SM: The beginning is always hard in any business because it’s a one person circus for a long time.   You wear many hats and sometimes do things that you might not feel comfortable doing.  It’s ever changing and right now the hardest part of my job is getting people to know my work.  It’s something that doesn’t happen overnight and takes a lot of energy.

What is one thing that you would like people to know about this brand that they might not otherwise know?

SM: We donate 5% of our sales to a non- profit feminist organization that helps empower the rural women of Nicaragua.  La F.E.M. has been doing this for the past two decades by providing education, legal and moral support to the often forgotten women of the field.  It helps them become economically independent from men who, because of lack of education think that they are better than women.

How would you describe your style?

SM: Classy, fashion forward, with some quirk. It’s meant to be fun, and fresh. Fresh, meaning it’s a new point of view, my point of view. I love mixing prints colors and textures, as most designers do; however I being a fashion lover myself, I haven’t found what I’m currently working on, not with my particular swag. 🙂

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To learn more, go to: www.SaraMelissa.com

Tosha Cole Clemens

Tosha has over 10 years of Fashion Industry experience in Design, Product Development, Merchandising and Production. She has worked in-house for top brands which include Bebe, Wet Seal, Frederick's of Hollywood and Fox to name a few. She has been and continues to be the visionary behind large companies campaigns and design direction for the season. Tosha is also a international magazine writer for the fashion industry.