Ethiopia’s Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu’s celebrated eco-friendly shoe brand soleRebels, recently announced the launch of its first international retail store in the United States in San Jose, California in early October.
The critically acclaimed line is regarded as one of the world’s fastest growing African consumer brands with an established global presence. The company currently has flagship stores in Ethiopia, Japan, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Taiwan, and Singapore; a new store in Greece is expected to open in December 2014. The footwear brand which was founded by Elemu in 2004 has changed the face of sustainable, global and fair trade business on the continent, by raising the profiles of indigenous artisans and local talent in Ethiopia who use materials which are sourced locally to create products that look really good. soleRebels footwear marries an exotic blend of ancient Ethiopian culture with influences of modern, western design.
As a business woman and founder, Alemu has not only received global recognition for her business savvy, but also for her ongoing efforts to give back to the continent by helping to change the discussion on business and enterprise in Africa, through tapping into massive subliminal potential that is often masked by negative stereotypical messages.
One can’t go wrong launching such a creative platform in one of the world’s leading hubs for innovation. Silicon Valley is in for a treat!
Feature image: Jiro Ose