‘Made in Ethiopia’ Now Means Luxury

Enzi Shoes

Open a box of Enzi shoes and this is what you’ll read on the inside:

You have not just purchased a pair of shoes.

You have contributed towards the development of sustainable leather production in Ethiopia.

You have invested in improving the livelihoods of skilled Ethiopian factory workers.

You have helped to raise the profile of East African design.

You have added your voice to a growing chorus of people around the world who are ready to see Africa in a new light.

The shoes also happen to be really nice.

Enjoy them responsibly.

Founder, Sam Imende gives no further instructions on how to enjoy them responsibly, but one can imagine that it might have something to do with walking in someone else’s shoes or becoming more conscious of what you wear on your feet. Having “Made in Ethiopia” stamped on your sole might also be a good start. Long time friends Azariah Mengistu, Jawad Braye, Christian Ward and Imende (pictured above) spent their student days scattered around the world, returning to establish Enzi Footwear in their homeland Kenya. Their travels had exposed them to luxury leather goods and they couldn’t see any obstacles as to why East Africa couldn’t produce leather goods to a similar standard. The Enzi team are still in their 30s and are driven to change the perceptions the world has of their part of the world. “Most people don’t think of Ethiopia as having the highest quality leather in the world, “ says Imende. “They think of stereotypes established decades ago.”

Read more at: Real Leaders

Photo: Real Leaders