Rebels & Souls
This post marks my third collaboration with a shoe brand, one i respect immensely. I am especially proud of this because the company has a philosophy that very much speaks to the my inner ambition. I got 12 amazing hand made shoes sent directly from Africa to Milan. You must check out the brand and put your hard earned money to good use because this is a real and effective cause free of any propaganda.
Founded in 2004 by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, her husband and brother Kirubel to bring jobs to their community in Zenabwork, Ethiopia, soleRebels is the first Ethiopian IFAT Fair Trade footwear firm and one of the only ones globally.
While still completely family owned and operated, soleRebels has gained international recognition from publications like The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Treehugger and Worldchanging.
The over-arching business is called bostex plc, which stands for “By Ourselves textiles”- a nod to the fact that the company makes most of its inputs by itself and by hand. soleRebels is the company’s core brand and focuses on footwear, apparel and accessories.
soleRebels is now stocked by many leading retailers including Urban Outfitters, Whole Foods, Amazon and Endless, among many other web retailers. soleRebels b*knd label is for vegans and veggies and can be found at UK veg-friendly shoe retailer Veganline.
Less than four years ago there were hardly any jobs in the founders community, but now soleRebels have given over 40 people full-time dignified well paying work and a further 100 part-time jobs. This is just the beginning as the company is now in serious expansion mode.
soleRebels is focused on creating a market leading eco-ethical footwear brand in this manner, and one that is retailed around the world, is also an important first for both the company and for Ethiopia. Bethlehem believes their story heralds truly sustainable development both for the community where soleRebels is based and for Ethiopia as a nation.
According to the owners of the brand ”Africa desperately needs more trade and not aid or charity. Only then can we begin to bask in the self satisfaction that comes from financing the solutions to our own problems and not having them always financed from outside. Trade is such an essential key to Africa’s upliftment as it is the key to job creation, income realization and hope.”
On a final note, I for one plan to run a 100% African owned brand with proper support from my own people, without enslaving anyone or cheating anybody in the name of wealth. Please support an organization with all the right motives. I strongly believe in this brand. In the mean time Check out my portfolio and let me know what you think, its in the link at the top of the blog also. The attention to details is the main focus, so bring a pen, take notes and leave a comment.