It is hard to start telling the story of soleRebels, because there are so many good things to be said at a clap.
Let’s begin with the fact that soleRebels is the only WFTO Fair Trade footwear company on the planet and one of Africa’s most known footwear manufacturers. Since its beginnings, in 2004, the company has been applying fair trade principles by employing and training the highly marginalized or those thought unemployable Ethiopians.
Photo source: www.solerebels.com
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is the company’s founder and managing director in her community of Zenabwork, a small village in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu put the base of soleRebels motivated by the noble wish to bring jobs in the Zenabwork’s community where she was born and raised and where at that time there was literally no job opportunity. On the other side, she wanted to capitalize and show the entire world the amazing artisan skills which people from this community has for generations.
Today Bethlehem’s dreams overcome any expectations: the soleRebels brand is being enjoyed by people in over 30 countries around the world and many branded stand-alone soleRebels retail stores are opened in Asia and UE at this moment.
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is considered one of Africa’s most recognizable female entrepreneurs. Her work has earned significant international recognition. To name just few: Forbes magazine included her in World’s 100 Most Powerful Woman to Watch and CNN placed her as 4th on the list “The 12 Women Entrepreneur who changed the way the world does business over the last Century”. The CNN list includes famous Coco Chanel, Elizabeth Arden founder of ARDEN Cosmetics, Giuliana Benetton founder of global fashion house BENNETON, Sara Blakely creator of SPANX and BODY SHOP founder Anita Roddick.
What makes soleRebels products so special
A successful fusion of ancient Ethiopian culture and fresh modern design, this is how the soleRebels products are described. The products are re-designs and re-imaginations of the traditional Ethiopian “selate” and “barabasso” shoes, which were made out of recycled car tires.
When one buys a pair of soleRebels shoes not only is enjoying the super comfy and cool fashionable footwear, but encourages all the ethical principles on which the company runs. Everything at this innovative company works on fair trade principles. In the footwear production are used only recycled and locally sourced organic materials: used tires, cotton, Abyssinian jutes, koba plant. This shows environmental respect and translates in low carbon footprint.
Last, but not least, the workers at soleRebels are paid approximately 4-5 times better than the legal minimum wage and over 3 time the industry average. This is what can be called fair.
Take a look on the soleRebels site and you will discover amazing colorful shoes for every need and taste. They have also a collection dedicated to all those who don’t want any animal related products making up their footwear. Share with us which one you like most.
Photo source: soleRebels on facebook
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