Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, not only surrounded by poverty, but also by many skilled craftspeople and a rich, valuable cultural heritage. â€œWe decided to create the â€˜better lifeâ€™ we were all waiting for by harnessing our communityâ€™s incredible artisan skills and channeling them into a sustainable, global, fair trade footwear business,â€ Alemu says.
That business isÂ soleRebels, a shoe company named for the Ethiopian fighters who expelled their would-be Western colonizers in the 1930s and famously wore shoes made of old car tires. Carrying on this tradition soleRebels, uses a resourceful range of recycled materials, but it also transcends this utilitarian past. The company produces high-quality sandals, slip-ons, and lace-up shoes, and it has become the firstâ€”and, so far, the onlyâ€”global branded retail chain from a developing country.
Source:Â Good MagazineÂ