Using her own name for her brand, Rose Rankin launched her premium footwear label, which majors in beautifully designed, colourful sneakers, in May 2015. The business already has 13 wholesale supply contracts in place as well as a thriving online retail outlet via the Rose Rankin website.
Rose Rankin shoes are a colourful blend of retro and contemporary styling, smart enough to wear in business settings but relaxed enough for casual wear too. The shoes use a mixture of different fabrics and a broad palette of colours to create a distinctive and unmistakeable Rose Rankin look.
Brought up in Ireland, Rosie had a thing about sneakers as a child and remembers deciding to customise a pair of pink trainers she had by painting them black. After graduating from university, Rosie moved to London and started out working as a runner and press assistant for Alexander McQueen. Jobs in a variety of media roles followed, and latterly Rosie’s talent and hard work landed her a plum job as a senior industry analyst for Google UK.
Despite this striking career success, Rosie had a dream, one that she recalls as a constant niggle at the back of her mind. Her dream was to start her own business. While she was working, she took a variety of fashion and design related courses at Central St Martins as a way to satisfy her creative desires. “Making the decision to walk away from a successful career wasn’t one I took lightly,” says Rosie, “But eventually the right time to set up my own business came along.
“For me the advantages of branching out on my own were twofold. Firstly I’d have the independence to make my own choices and secondly I’d have a real outlet for my creativity. Even so, it took a lot of determination to walk away from a stable job and income.
“I actually had three different ideas for businesses, two of them fashion related. The pivotal moment in deciding to go for the footwear business came when a friend recommended the Portobello Business Centre and I enrolled on its Fashion Masterclass course two years ago. It was that course that helped me to decide what direction to take.
“I found the course to be incredibly inspiring and motivational and it really helped me to focus my mind on exactly what I wanted to do. The course is only four days long, but it’s very intensive and that suited me perfectly.
“David Jones, the course leader, has an amazing depth of knowledge about all aspects of the fashion business and he’s also really good at helping you to make choices and have confidence in your ideas. He helped me to believe that even although I didn’t have a fashion background, I could achieve my goals.
“After the course, I really knew the direction I wanted to take and so started the two-year process of research and product development that was needed to get the business off the ground. All my shoes are made in Portugal where I’ve formed a really good relationship with a factory.
“I’d say to anyone that’s thinking of starting a business, take all the help and advice that you can get. The Portobello Businesses Centre is certainly a great place to start, and you’ll find that its charges are very affordable compared to the rates that some organisations charge for short courses. They have been a huge help to me.”