Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Shola Yusuf is the founder and creative force of Shola Designs. As a young girl, Shola loved to mix and play with patterns, textures and colors in her mother’s luxury fabric shop. She developed the sense of style and love of fashion that she carries with her to this day. “I always apply my West African design and fashion sensibility. I am very proud of my roots. My people are colorful, my designs are colorful. I am colorful.”
Shola moved to New York City from Nigeria in 1989 with less than $100 in her pocket. Taking security guard positions, she put herself through the College of Pharmacy at LIU, graduating in 1995. Next, she moved to Tampa, Florida and worked as a retail pharmacist for 8 years. In 2003, she opened her own pharmacy and now owns four in the Tampa Bay area.
In 2009, Shola was in a near fatal car accident in New York City. In the hospital ER, the first thing she asked the doctors was the whereabouts of her favorite pair of Christian Louboutins. “That motivated me to actually walk again because I couldn’t imagine never being able to wear them. At that moment, my life calling and my passion became clear to me. I would build my pharmacies and also design objects I wanted for myself -- starting with shoes!”
Shola always treats her shoes like art objects, selecting new designs with great care.
She admits it - she is addicted to shoes and accessories. "I devour every form of media when it comes to fashion. I travel 20 times a year. I am always away somewhere – West Africa, New York City, Hong Kong, Italy, and London. These are my main shopping and design destinations. I follow leading designers and the best retailers."
"I love being in the fashion world but then I always have been! Fashion Is An Art."