|Despicable Me 2 – Good VS Evil|
Indeed Rhonda is one of the most talented painters I’ve ever seen. What she puts her mind to, she spreads it with paint on any surface. The painted shoes are the most famous products she has. The images make me smile every time I look at them, even if I am sad. Perhaps, Rhonda’s positive attitude is extended in her paintings and from there, they end up touching the viewers heart. I talked to Rhonda about her life, her online shop and where does she find her inspiration.
– Who is the person behind Seriously Savage?
I’m Rhonda Savage. Full time artist, mom of 2 boys, 7 dogs and 3 cats named Dammit, Get Down and You Too.
– Where did you get the idea for your business and when did you get started?
I’ve always painted my shoes. I put flames on my Converse before THEY put flames on their Converse… And one day I painted a pair of Lilo and Stitch shoes for myself and thought, “Hey, I wonder if anyone buys these?”. I Googled “Custom Painted Shoes” and was blown away at what I saw and was immediately hooked. I wanted to try it.
– How did you come up with your brand name?
When telling people my last name, they’ll say, “Seriously? Savage?” and the name just naturally came about.
– When did you start painting shoes? Or when did you realize you have a talent?
I started painting shoes to sell about 1 1/2 years ago. I just plunged into it and put a few creations up on Etsy.
|Custom made shoes|
– What goes into making a painted shoe?
I like to start with a white shoe and paint a custom background. I use heat set paint so as one set of shoes dries, I’ll start another and work between the two. I do a rough sketch with a pastel pencil so I know just where to place the characters. If I’m happy with the placement, I pencil in the design and begin to paint. I work in layers. I try to avoid boring, one dimensional paintings. Once I’m done with the painting, I go into any small detail work, apply a UV protection to help keep the paint fresh and package them for shipping. Some shoes can take a few hours, others with sketching, painting, dry time, etc.. can take up to 15 hours or more. Of course, in between time, life happens and things get busy so a shoe can actually take 3 days or so to finish completely.
|Custom made shoes|
– What is your favorite thing to paint?
If I’m doing canvas work, my favorite subject are Native American children and War horses. For shoes, I love to do Disney characters but I will do almost anything requested.
|Custom made shoes|
– Which one is your best seller? My best seller has been the My Little Pony Cutie Mark shoes.
A close second are Despicable Me Minions and The Little Mermaid.
|“The Little Mermaid”|
– How do people get in touch with you? Where do you sell? Do you have a site or blog?
People can find me at my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/seriouslysavage They email me through the site with shoe ideas and we come up with a neat, unique pair of shoes. I’ve never found time for a blog or a lot of social media promotion by myself other than Pintrest and Stumbleupon. I rely on Google searches. Chances are, if you Google “custom painted shoes”, you’ll find many of my creations.
– Do you run your business full-time? How do you like being self-employed?
I do run my business full time and I love, LOVE being self employed. If I need to take off for a day, I can. I’m home for my kids and I love being my own boss. I worked in a dull gray cubicle for too many years. Now, if it’s a nice day, I can pack up my shoes and paints and go work outside in the yard and enjoy the sun. Some days I work 15 hours. Others maybe one or two. It all depends on how many orders I have ahead of me.
– Do you have some tips for other small business owners, creatives and people who like to become their own boss?
|Custom made shoes|
My best tip would be, “Just do it!”. Don’t over think things. I’m my own worst enemy in that department and have learned that you just need to plunge in to what you’re doing, ignore the critics, embrace the praise and most importantly, have FUN! Don’t compare yourself to anyone else but do a bit of research to make sure you get the most out of your efforts for your business.
– Are you participating in or managing any projects you would like to talk about?
Right now I’m just in the zone for Christmas. Concentrating on getting orders out and delivered before the holidays.
|“His first dance at the Pow Wow”|
– “I have a dream.” What’s your dream?
My dream was always to be recognized as an artist. I get kudos for my shoe paintings but some day I would like to have my own canvas paintings and creations in a gallery and hope people like them just as well.
|“Native American War Horse”|
– What are your thoughts about the handmade trends that are rather new and growing?
I love to see handmade items and am happy for all that are trending at any time. That means people are passionate for something they create and buyers appreciate a homemade item rather than a store bought, mass produced trinket.
– I see a lot of people starting their handmade business. What do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?
I think having a wide variety of items to show makes a person stand out. People are visual animals. You can say you can paint anything but people want to see it.
– Is there anything else you would like to tell me about yourself?
Besides painting shoes, I have also restored and painted cars and travel trailers. The cars I’ve done are the Andy Griffith Sheriffs car, Dukes of Hazzard General Lee and my favorite, the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine.
|The Scooby Doo Mystery Machine|
I drove it for years and had wooden cut outs of the characters that I would set up and people would come take pictures with Scooby and the gang. I would like to make another one to have as a portable shop. I will one day soon!
On a personal note, I love to get out and see and do things. The open road calls me quite often and adventures without a map or a plan are always the best kind.
Thanks to Rhonda from Bakersfield, United States for this lovely interview.
To see more of here art work, check out her online shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/seriouslysavage