A few weeks ago Sseko Designs sent me a pair of Ribbon Sandals. I have been wearing them nearly every day since. They are extremely comfortable and versatile with any outfit. My 10-year-old has already put in a request for her own pair.
As a military spouse, I’ve tried my hand at a few direct sales companies but never truly fell in love with the product and the mission behind the company.
Sseko is different.
- No one in the military community is selling this product yet, it’s still fairly new. While there’s a Scentsy and Lularoe Rep every other street in my neighborhood I have yet to be invited to a Sseko trunk show. Why? Because they’ve only just recently launched their direct sales channel called the Sseko Fellows Program.
- This is an ethical fashion brand generating income for high potential young women in Uganda.
- You get to know the people who are making the product. This company doesn’t just donate a pair of shoes for every pair you buy. They are creating jobs and a sustainable income for women.
- It is transparent. Every step of the way from production to the sale they treat people like people. (oh, and they also have a Ugandan Cookbook on their blog site!)
- The company fits into my desire to live intentionally and shop my values.
Sseko Designs: The Product
First, let’s talk about the product and then I’ll share why I love the mission behind Sseko Designs.
The shoes they sent me are SOOOOO comfortable. I have a difficult time wearing heels anymore and was nervous about the wedge on the shoe (they do have flats and a number of different options). The base of the sandal is comfortable and has a give to adjust for your weight. My current job requires that I’m on my feet, lifting, weird angels, crawling on the ground. I thought the best test would be to wear them at work. I assumed I’d be adjusting the straps or even having to change them out at some point. I made it through the whole day without one problem. Have I mentioned I love these shoes?
The shoes are versatile. It’s a base with ribbons you change out to match your outfit. And there are so many ways to tie them! The girls and I had fun just going through the different tutorials and figuring out which styles were our favorites.
Over the past several years, the company has expanded its original sandal line into high-end leather bags and accessories, as well as grown a national reputation through appearances in
Vogue Magazine, on Shark Tank and Good Morning America and by working with celebrity spokespeople like actress and activist Sophia Bush.
Every product is beautifully handcrafted. Which brings me to the part I love the most.
Sseko Designs: The Mission
Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand based in Portland, OR. They began as a way to generate income for high-potential young women in Uganda. By making sandals for 9 months women save to attend college and pursue their dreams.
Since launching in 2009, Sseko has accomplished their mission (and enabled 87 women in Uganda to attend college) through building a traditional retail distribution model and selling their products online and through a network of over 500 stores across America.
Sseko is moving into direct sales in order to create opportunity and community for women (women like you and me) in a way few companies are able to match. Sseko is creating empowerment,
Sseko is creating empowerment, transparency and impact at each step in the process.
In 2016, Sseko Fellows grew their direct to consumer sales by 430% enabling the company to triple the scholarship to each of their university-bound employees. Did you hear that? TRIPLE the scholarship amount for young women in Uganda.
And here’s my favorite part. When you join the Fellows Program, you will be paired with a Sole Sister in Uganda. All of your sales contribute directly towards a bonus scholarship for that woman that she can use towards college. On top of this there is an opportunity to go to Uganda and meet the Sseko team. Sseko will be taking 10 top sellers to learn first hand how Sseko’s product and impact model work.
By creating an environment of dignity, honor and dedication, Sseko provides the opportunity for women in East Africa to end the cycle of poverty and create a more equitable society.
The company’s co-founders, Liz and Ben Bohannon, decided to go directly to their consumers in a way that would allow for transparency, connection and social impact like never before.
Sseko Fellows are pioneering a new movement—one in which business is a force for social good—from the production of the goods all the way through to the final sale. With social
entrepreneurship on the rise, and an increasing population of women pursuing flexible careers as their own bosses, the Sseko Fellows program has already seen tremendous success.
One thing is certain: Sseko Fellows are like no other direct sales representatives you’ve met before. The Sseko Fellows are challenging the perception of direct sales by using impact-driven
social entrepreneurship to create change and opportunity for themselves and their sisters in East Africa.
Buy local. Support global.
As if we need a reason to buy more shoes, now we have one. Send a young girl to college and support my new ribbon habit by shopping at ssekodesigns.com/hope_griffin. Be sure to check out the Fellows Program while you’re there. You don’t want to miss out on this opportunity.
Oh, and if you’re wondering about the skirt in the picture, it’s from Darn Good Yarns. Another ethical fashion brand, but that’s a post for another time. Today it’s all about the shoes.
To learn more about ethical fashion and business join me and others at facebook.com/groups/ethicalbiz