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Celebrated Ethiopian footwear brand opens first outlet in Taiwan
Solerebels, a company founded by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, one of Africa’s most celebrated businesswomen, achieved an important milestone with the launch of its first stand-alone brand retail store in Taiwan. Bethlehem, who has won numerous entrepreneurship awards, poses in pictures with the likes of Richard Branson and regularly speaks at conferences across the world has become, for many people, a poster child of Africa’s changing economic fortunes and female entrepreneurship on the Continent. “At our core, we at soleRebels are creative artisans who aim to craft the coolest and most comfortable footwear,” says Bethlehem. “In a world of faceless production-line assembled … shoes, soleRebels proudly stands apart and offers a much desired alternative. Our business model centers on eco-sensibility and community empowerment; product design and development involve a great deal of effort to achieve fashionable and appealing quality products that use local materials.” The Company was founded in 2005. It has a flagship retail store in Addis Ababa, although the majority of sales are generated online. “We are extremely excited by the opening of this store. Taiwan is an incredible market and the stores we are opening here give us a fantastic platform to showcase our incredible products and our innovative brand in an equally dynamic and fantastic market. This is the perfect place for soleRebels to anchor our Asia wide roll-out of soleRebels stores – truly historic strides for soleRebels,” said Bethlehem, in an emailed statement. The store has a lounge area that allows customers to learn more about the brand’s heritage and the unique artisan production techniques. Customers are encouraged to upload photos of themselves wearing their soleRebels shoes to the company’s website and are rewarded for doing so with a free soleRebels T-shirt. The store is located in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city. A total of up to 30 soleRebels outlets are planned for Taiwan, with three locations expected to open by the end of 2012.