A spur-of-the-moment idea to jazz up a plain pair of sneakers has turned into a part-time business for Bloomingdale resident Lauren Starks.
Currently attending Hillsborough Community College, the 20-year-old plans to transfer to the University of South Florida to obtain her teaching degree.
It was USF that inspired her first painted sneakers.
"I needed something to wear to a USF game with my dad," she said.
Starks, who has a natural artistic flair she said she inherited from her artist grandmother, decided to paint the USF logo onto her plain green sneakers.
"People kept asking me where I got them," she said. "So I decided to keep making them."
She started Princess Slippers Designer Shoes and began publicizing her designs on Facebook last year.
Starks uses acrylics to paint whatever custom design the customer wishes onto a pair of canvas sneakers or deck shoes. Depending on the design, she will also embellish the shoes with rhinestones and ribbon.
"I can do just about any design the customer wants," said Starks.
She's painted shoes for both men and women as well as children.
Customers from as far away as California have found her through Facebook and have ordered shoes.
"They're just funky and fun," she said.
Starks can be contacted through her Princess Slippers Facebook page.