Having established a successful eco-friendly footwear brand at a global scale, Bethlehem Tilahun, the acclaimed founder and CEO of SoleRebels, is currently poised to launch coffee shops in major cities across the globe.
According to Bethlehem, the new coffee brand chain of shops, which aims to provide premium quality coffees, will enter markets featuring Ethiopia’s popular tradition of coffee ceremony. Bethlehem told The Reporter that at first, she will launch two retail shops in the US. In two months’ time, the new coffee brand dubbed “Garden of Coffee” is to be presented to markets as “hand-roasted by traditional Ethiopian coffee artisans”, as she described it. Currently, branding and marketing tools designed for the promotion of Ethiopia’s coffee verities are in progress, Bethlehem said.
Introducing handcrafted shoes from recycled materials have earned Bethlehem fame across the world where she has been able to open some 12 stores. Accordingly, Tel Aviv is on the pipeline to join as the latest destination for SoleRebels. Vegan, Sandals, TooToos, Lace ups, Slip-ons and accessories such as belts are some of the products SoleRebels offers. Most of the shoes fetch some 80 dollars and beyond. The speeding SoleRebels is projected to open some 50 standalone retail stores in the US by the end of 2018. In addition to that, Bethlehem targets to operate 500 more standalone stores by 2022.
Founded in 2004, SoleRebels is recognized as the first fair trade certified footwear company by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). Reports suggest that SoleRebels is one of fastest growing consumer brands from Africa and the first African consumer brand to ever open standalone branded retail stores across many cities. Beverly Hills, Barcelona, Vienna, Zurich, Athens, Singapore and Toronto are some of the places where she runs standalone shops.
Recently, Bethlehem has been engaged in setting up a 20 million dollars’ worth, state-of-the art shoe manufacturing plant. When finalized, she expects the new plant to boost the existing 200 pairs of shoe per day production capacity to 2,500.
Her fast growing business has enabled Bethlehem to grab the international community mostly for her eco-friendly products. Following her success, the likes of Forbes have never been praising Bethlehem as one of the most influential women in Africa. Back in 2011, Bethlehem was named as one of the 20 powerful young women in Africa. She has been featured in a number of media outlets and has received numerous awards and prizes celebrating her entrepreneurial efforts. Among others, she is currently the goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).