WHO MAKES YOUR SHOES
Say hello to Tsedenia Mekib!
She is the Managing Director of the Pittards supply chain in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where we make our Soul of Africa range. We want to introduce you to Tsedenia because this week Fashion Revolution, the global movement to make the fashion industry more ethical and sustainable, is running another year of its #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign.
Tsedenia joined Pittards in 2011, returning to her home country after years spent in the UK, where she got her MBA.
“After working for a few years, I felt my contribution in the UK was a drop in the ocean, but if I returned to Ethiopia, I would make a bigger contribution,” Tsedenia says of her decision to join the company.
“When I joined, Pittards had just bought the biggest tannery in Ethiopia and was planning to expand its operations to include finished products. For me, it was the perfect match, an exciting opportunity to integrate the two cultures and lay a solid foundation in setting up a glove factory. When I started in 2011, the glove factory had only 50 employees. By 2013, we had grown our operation to 550 employees in two factories making over 1 million pairs of gloves to export to the US.
“Seeing the difference we were making was a huge reward, it gave me the confidence to do more. We started working with Vivobarefoot in making Soul of Africa range in 2017. The production of shoes is more complex compared to glove-making, but wewere ready to step up and take on a new challenge.
“I am passionate about helping and supporting my community to fight poverty through education, training and creating jobs. So far, we have created jobs for 1500 people here in Ethiopia, and we are determined to sustain and grow our operations.
“Pittards has a strict policy on the well-being of employees, including supporting the local community by providing clean water and supporting our local school. Working here has given me a platform to play an active role in the development of Ethiopia. By getting Soul of Africa you’re buying responsibly made, simple and beautiful shoes. I hope you will not stop with just one pair!”
We are proud to work with Tsedenia and her team to bring you your Soul of Africa shoes.
Also, partnering with a tannery who share our vision to ethics and sustainability allows us to ensure we only use naturally-scarred wild hide leather from free-roaming cattle (with not a cage in sight!).
Fashion Revolution works to raise awareness and campaign for greater transparency in the fashion supply chain, advocating for positive change and celebrating those who are on a journey to create a more ethical and sustainable future for fashion.
We are proud our Soul of Africa shoes fulfil this commitment to the environment and the people in Ethiopia who make our shoes.