“… the needle I am constantly attempting to thread: building exciting brands around our unique cultures, brands that become ubiquitous and impactful.”
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is founder and Managing Director of soleRebels, the world's fastest-growing African footwear brand and the only Fair Trade-certified footwear company in the world. Growing up in a poor suburb of Addis Ababa, Bethlehem decided that there was only one way to defeat poverty – use local craftsmanship to make products that can compete in the global marketplace. She decided on footwear and today 70,000 pairs of shoes leave her factory every year. soleRebels has been expanding rapidly and today exports to no fewer than 45 countries. Bethlehem has also launched ‘The Republic of Leather’, designing sustainable, luxury leather goods, and ‘Garden of Coffee’ retail outlets to promote Ethiopian coffees.