After spending several years working in the international aid community around Sub-Saharan Africa, frustration set in for Canadian Tal Dehtiar. Money intended to stimulate struggling economies seemed to dissipate with little to show for it in terms of large-scale change in the lives of everyday people. Aiming to create a business that is at once economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, Dehitar founded Oliberté in 2009, eventually becoming the first Fair Trade Certified footwear producer. More than just a business with a conscience, Oliberté is dedicated to the craft of producing high quality leather footwear and accessories, made from African materials using age-old craftsmanship techniques.
“Both our men’s and women’s lines have historically featured traditional African stitch-down construction because that’s the way the skilled craftsmen we employ have been making shoes there for generations,” says Dehitar. With natural Liberian-sourced crepe soles—a material that is known for its functionality in both cold and hot climates—Oliberté’s shoes feature a 100% goat leather lining that is naturally breathable. Hand-selected leather and close attention to detail in construction ensure quality in every pair of Olibertés that come out of their Addis Ababa factory. Dehitar has high hopes not just for Oliberté, but for the crafted manufacturing industry in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, believing it has the potential to create over a million jobs by 2025.
Handmade and built to last, Oliberté’s complete line of footwear and leather accessories is available online, with shoes starting at $115.
Images courtesy of Oliberté