We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Casse and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Danielle, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I actually had never expected to start my own business, and even though it’s still in its early stages, I am so happy I went for it. I really love sharing my art with others, and I also really love shoes. I had seen a few artists online paint shoes and I knew immediately I wanted to try it myself. At first I started painting shoes just for fun. I painted a couple pairs for friends, family, and myself. Soon enough people were asking to buy shoes from me. One thing led to another, and I was lucky enough to start making art people could walk around in! That’s my favorite part about painting shoes – it’s art you get to wear. I think that is so cool, and I am so happy I can provide that for others.

What should our readers know about your business?
Although my business is still growing, I’m so proud of how far I’ve come already. My business is newly named Elle Sole, where I hand paint custom shoes. Although my business has been in the works for almost a year, I have been making art my whole life. Whenever asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my answer has always been an artist. I would stray away from art, mostly being peer pressured to avoid the “poor artist” stigma, but it always came back. I decided I can’t not be an artist, it really isn’t an option. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and I still am not entirely sure. But once I put paint to shoes, the two things I love, that was it.

I decided to go for it and I started accepting commissions. I didn’t have a brand, I didn’t have a studio, I didn’t have proper materials, I just jumped in the deep end. I think that is what I am proudest of. We always think we have to have everything figured out before starting something, but it’s such bs. It isn’t easy and it really is scary, but you ultimately just need to believe in what you’re doing and actually do it.

I think that sets me apart from other brands too, that I truly believe in what I am doing. More than making a quick buck I really do love making art for people. Shoes alone really speak to peoples’ individuality. Now add customizations tailored for you, the possibilities really are endless – that’s what I want to provide with Elle Sole.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For me, food is my number one priority, especially when traveling! So we would definitely have to hit up some good food spots, sushi being number one on my list. We may hit some classics, like Neptune’s Net along the coast. There is an amazing ramen place in Downtown LA called Kouraku that is a MUST!

Once we’ve filled our bellies, we’ve got to hit Santa Barbara, right? There are some really fun breweries to visit that are walking distance. We’ll need to burn off some calories to fit in more food – LOL – downtown Santa Barbara has tons of shops and boutiques. But if shopping doesn’t quite cut it, there are bikes, buggies, and Segways that can be rented to venture around the city!

If we have time, we also have to see all the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo, I mean who doesn’t like monkeys? To wrap up the night, we have to hit the drive in movies, and we can grab some ice cream to top it off!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I don’t think I have enough room to list everyone who has helped me on my journey! I have been really lucky to be surrounded by such amazing, supportive people throughout my life.

My parents have always been a huge support system. They are always showing off my latest projects, and continually support me and my ambitions – even if they are nervous for me (I’m the art kid so I can’t blame them).

I also give a huge amount of credit to my professors at both Moorpark College and CSU Channel Islands. I learned so much from them and really wouldn’t be the artist I am today without their guidance.

My family and friends are also a huge impact to my success. They are always giving me advice and cheering me on.

I really want to thank and give hugs to everyone because my journey would be so different without them all.

Instagram: @ellesolecustoms

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