I wish it were warm all year long so I wouldn’t have to wear closed-toe shoes. Sandals are so liberating and look oh so stylish, but only when you have the right pair. I recently chatted with Liz Forkin Bohannon who runs Sseko Designs, which makes beautiful and eco-friendly sandals you’re going to love as much as I do!
Liz started Sseko right out of university because she felt there was a disconnect from global poverty. She saw that especially in Uganda, there was extreme poverty and no way for women to easily escape it. What Sseko does is help girls who want to go to college but don’t have the funds for it by having them work on these sandals and also teach them how to manage their finances. For example, many women in Uganda don’t even have access to a bank account! What Sseko does is set up their account and help them save and pay for college. Liz tells me Sseko representatives go around locally and recruit the top students that are the least likely to have money for college but are also the most driven. The Sseko website puts it perfectly, “We believe that every woman has a dream. When she is given the opportunity to pursue those dreams, we are collectively walking towards a brighter and more just and beautiful world.” Sseko does not only hire young women. It also hires full-time veterans who also are career-driven. These women are sometimes getting out of the sex industry and learning to invest in themselves and their futures. With Sseko, all the women also have access to CV/resume writing workshops to help their professional lives in the long run.
Now for the fashion part! These sandals look so awesome, they’re ridiculously versatile, and eco-friendly! The materials are locally sourced, which helps support local business. Liz tells me they try and use organic cotton for the straps when possible. Sseko also just added these adorable accents and accessories you can add to your sandals that will make them extra cute. Trust me, when you see these accents, you’re going to want them all. Another thing you’re going to want to invest in is some extra straps. You can start with the standard ones, but some of these prints are so fierce! One thing is for sure, these sandals are going to last you ages. They’re made to last years, so you’re helping the environment (and your wallet) by purchasing one solid pair of sandals and mixing and matching that pair with the straps and accents.
You’ll never ever get bored with them! Another thing you’ll never get bored with is creating new ways to tie the straps! If you follow Sseko’s YouTube page, you’ll see some great tutorials for the strap weaving, but you’ll be creating your own soon enough. Liz also tells me Sseko will soon be expanding with a tote line and will also further expand its current clutch line! Just like the sandals, these bags will last you FOREVER, because they’re made with Earth-friendly materials. And remember, you’re helping these intelligent and hard-working Ugandan women to continue their education and improve their own lives and the lives of their families. You’re going to look fabulous and feel fabulous for helping womankind!