WHAT’S YOUR NAME?
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS AND WHY YOU STARTED IT
After college, I moved to Uganda after university because I wanted to be a journalist. I wanted to write and report on issues facing people living in extreme poverty and conflict zones. The only trouble was…I couldn’t find anyone to hire me to do just that! So, instead, I moved to Uganda on my own to learn first hand about the realities facing women and girls across the globe. So, I suppose, Sseko was inspired by rejection! HA! No, although that is what lead me to Uganda, Sseko was inspired by 25 of Uganda’s brightest, most courageous women. These women quickly became my community and after meeting them and learning about not only where they’d come from, but their dreams and vision for the future, I was inspired to create Sseko Designs. Sseko is an ethical fashion brand that makes premium leather goods, apparel and footwear. We hire high potential women in Uganda to make sandals, to enable them to earn money through dignified employment that will go directly towards their college educations. Because the core mission of our business is to create community and opportunity for women, here in the U.S. I wanted to use the retail and distribution side of our business do the same. So, in 2016, we shut down our traditional retail business and launched the Sseko Fellows program. Our products are now sold through a community of impact entrepreneurs here at home who are using their time and talent to build lives (and business) of purpose, passion and impact. From serial entrepreneurs who are looking to build their next 7 figure business to full time moms who are looking for community and a side income, thier is truly a seat at the table for everyone!
WHAT DO YOU SELL?
We are a premium women’s fashion line and sell apparel, footwear, handbags and accessories.
WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?
Our customers are stylish yet practical. They want beautiful products that are versatile, well-made and storied. Sseko Fellows come from all walks of life. About half are stay at home moms with kids still at home. Sseko is their outlet for finding true community and sisterhood with other likeminded women and a way to earn an income that allows them the flexibility and freedom to raise their families while also building a business for good. Fellows are globally minded, stylish and adventurous women who believe that every great journey begins with a small step.
WHAT 3 PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I’m now a mom of a two year old son (and one on the way!) and I am most proud of building a global company that allows mamas — whether in East Africa or here in the U.S.!– to cultivate their passions through a career they love, while raising their babies and building beautiful families. Our supportive and connected sisterhood, from those who work in oversees manufacturing to our headquarters team in Portland, Oregon to the Sseko Fellows all across the country, gives women women the courage to DREAM BIG. From launching their own business to traveling across the world to meet our East African colleagues and have the adventure of a lifetime, having a team of women who are in it with you and cheering you on makes nothing seem impossible! My proudest accomplishment is creating the community I wish I had when starting my business almost 8 years ago.
WHAT MAKES YOUR BUSINESS STORY UNIQUE?
Although I never started off with the intention of running a fashion company, Sseko is combining the very best parts of business (beautiful products, amazing customer service, income generation…we joke that although we are helping send women in Uganda to college, we are not a non-profit, we are a mom-profit!) with a deep desire to make the world a little brighter for women and girls everywhere. Whereas so many companies see moms as a liability or cost, we see moms as the greatest untapped resource for both growing a thriving business and creating real and lasting impact in the world.
HOW CAN WE FIND YOU?
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