Source: Image Source: Sole Rebels

SoleRebels a brand with a deep social conscience

SoleRebels saw that footwear was an excellent platform to begin to share many of the indigenous eco-sensible craft heritages and artisan talents that Ethiopia has with the world!

SoleRebels empowering a community at large

From the humblest of beginnings, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu has built SoleRebels into the planet’s fastest growing African footwear brand.

She was born and raised in Zenebework, a small,impoverished rural community in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia. Growing up she discovered that people from her community were living in poverty because there were very few jobs available. 

After graduating from college, Alemu found an opportunity to empower her community . She discovered that many from her hometown possessed remarkable artisan skills which remained largely unexploited. This observation drove her to brainstorm on ways through which she could transform the skills of her community members into a sustainable enterprise that could generate livelihoods for them and create wealth over a long term.

In 2004 SoleRebels was founded and for Alemu the creation of shoes was used as a platform to inspire hope to many.   Since their inception they have employed and trained highly marginalized or those thought unemployable. 

"Making the world a better place… one step at a time" she said

Shoes inspired by Ethiopian culture and made from recycled materials

SoleRebels produces footwear locally that often features a strong infusion of ancient Ethiopian culture with subtle undertones of modern, western design influences. Practically, all SoleRebels shoes are redesign imaginations of the famous Selate and Barabasso shoe, a traditional recyclable sole shoe which has been worn by Ethiopians for a very long time. The Selate and Barabasso shoe was famously worn by Ethiopian rebel fighters who vehemently opposed western forces from colonizing the country. As matter of fact, that’s where the name ‘SoleRebels’ emerged from.

First and Only WorldFair Trade Federation Fair Trade certified company

Years later SoleRebels is the planets fastest growing African footwear brand, the world’s first and only World Fair Trade Federation[WFTO] Fair Trade certified footwear company and the very first global footwear brand to ever emerge from a developing nation.

Now hailed as the Nike of Africa, Bethlehem is proud that SoleRebels stands as living proof that creating an innovative world-class brand is the best road to greater shared prosperity for developing nations like Ethiopia.

“Its not only about products, its about creativity, talent and opportunity” she said.

The company has now gone global. It’s the first African brand to become an international job creation powerhouse with stores throughout the world.  Which proves that growth in Africa equals real global economic and job growth around the planet!

She has created world class jobs, empowered her community and country while presenting a galvanized, dynamic face of African creativity to the global market.

Bethlehem represents the leading edge of a new generation of homegrown African leaders, talented entrepreneurs who are taking on the global market and winning on an unprecedented level.

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