As part of a three-part series, the AFRO is profiling up-and-coming entrepreneurs who are growing popular businesses while juggling traditional nine-to-five careers, spouses and children. This month, Baltimore-based shoe designer Cash Hollis shares how she turned her flair for fashion into profit.

Cash Hollis
Arena S. Shoe Collection

Cash Hollis is immersed in all things fashion – oversized studded glasses, glossy skintight leggings, trendy one-piece jumpsuits – but more substantial than her passion for the latest trends is her love of shoes. Hollis, a New Jersey native and Morgan State University graduate, has created a Baltimore-based shoe reconstruction company that morphs basic pumps and sneakers into exotic works of art.

“The services that I offer are unlimited. That’s the best part of customizing shoes,” Hollis said of her firm, Arena S. Shoe Collection. “My company brand centralizes around, ‘Make Your Shoes a Show,’ and that’s what I aim for with every shoe I create. My most noted work consists of colorful assortments of Swarovski crystals, wildlife feathers and astonishing bead, ribbon and rhinestone craftsmanship. I am also working on my ‘bow bow’ line for my collection. It will consist of interchangeable bows for your shoes in a variety of colors and fabrics.”

Arena S. Shoe Collection has been in the works since 2007, when Hollis’ own revamped shoes drew a slew of inquiries and compliments. She has since created a profitable business venture that satisfies her love for fashion and exercises her budding business acumen.

“The most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur is pushing myself to the max. There is no punching a clock or a supervisor ensuring that my work is done. I work for myself so I strive to make each line better than the one before,” Hollis said. “The other thing that I love is collaborating with other artists and designers, and traveling all over to do shows and photo shoots.”

Since Hollis made Arena S. Shoe Collection public in 2009, the 24-year-old entrepreneur has worked with local designers such as Shameka Davis with the Ragtime Collection, Terronce Styyles and Avon Dorsey and her work has been photographed with noted designers N. Miller, Michael Kors, Versace and Ralph Lauren.

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Kristin Gray

AFRO Managing Editor