I recently shared on Instagram that I have become a fellow with the amazing fair trade brand, Sseko Designs! And then I realized, I never shared that fun news (plus WHY!) here on the blog. If you’ve been following me for any length of time then you VERY much know Sseko Designs. This is a brand that I’ve been a fan and advocate and customer of for AT LEAST 7 years… probably close to 8 or 9 (just shortly after they started!)
I’ve had Liz Bohannon as a guest on my podcast, Liz guest posted here on the blog a few years ago, I introduced you to Sseko Designs in a #FashionForGoodFriday post a few years back, I introduced you to my Sseko Sole Sister (when that was a thing), and I shared the BRAVE manifesto when it launched! Not to mention the million (slight exaggeration) times I’ve styled my Sseko Designs sandals, bags, jewelry, and now apparel.
Needless to say, I’ve been an advocate and a fan of Sseko Designs and their mission for a long time. In the fall, when Sseko joined the Fair Trade Federation, I was so excited to see them become even more woven into the ethical fashion world…
If you don’t know Sseko Designs, Sseko was started by my friend Liz Bohannon and her husband Ben, to enable the MOST talented young women in Uganda to continue on to university. These bright, smart, capable young women work for Sseko Designs in the nine-month gap between secondary school and university in which they are able to save part of their income for university.
While working, they are able to receive life skills training, they are paired with professional mentors, and also get valuable formal work experience. At the end of their 9-month term, Sseko matches their savings 300%. Every woman who has graduated from Sseko Designs has gone on to pursue higher education (!!!) and is on her way to making our world a more beautiful place. These women are THE change makers. In 2019, Sseko will enable our 131st woman to attend university! Isn’t that incredible?
Now, not only that… In addition to our university-bound team, Sseko Designs hires full-time staff primarily from various non-profit partners in Uganda. These women come from all walks of life and face a challenging job market. Sseko is bridging the gap. Through creating an environment of dignity, honor, and dedication, Sseko Designs provides the opportunity for women in East Africa to end the cycle of poverty and create a more equitable society.
That, is what will change the world. YES.
When I was at the Fair Trade Federation conference back in March, I was chatting with Liz and we were talking about the Fellows program. A couple years ago, Sseko Designs changed their business model from a primarily wholesale model to direct sales in order to truly be able to more authentically tell the story of Sseko and reach more people (which creates more jobs here and abroad and funds more scholarships for women in Uganda).
Now, before you immediately click away… let me tell you that this isn’t some pyramid scheme that you’re immediately thinking of (which is illegal, BTW)… this isn’t some scam or sleezy business… nope. Not even close.
I’ve been meaning to write a post for quite some time about the direct sales business model (but that’s another post for another day)…
And I remember when Sseko Designs launched the fellows program a couple years ago that I thought it was brilliant and I wanted to be a part of it.
And I waited.
And I didn’t.
Why? The honest answer is that I was afraid of what other people might think. And then I realized that’s literally the silliest reason on the planet to NOT do something that I believe in.
I ALREADY love and believe in the mission of Sseko Designs – to empower women and girls here and abroad and to provide education for the brightest women in Uganda.
I already love and believe in the fair trade values of Sseko Designs.
I already LOVE and wear Sseko sandals and jewelry and bags and their AMAZING apparel. (Clearly I’m obsessed with the product).
I’m already writing and sharing about fair trade brands (Sseko included) here on the blog…
So why WOULDN’T I become a Fellow so that I, too, have an opportunity to earn an income sharing what I’m already sharing for free? Right?
Sseko is a company that is truly one that I know from the top down (Liz is legit one of my favorite people ever), is a company that is committed to changing the world, committed to being diverse and inclusive, and committed to listening and learning.
I literally could not be more proud to advocate for a company like Sseko and to be a part of something that is, quite literally, so much bigger than all of us.
SO what exactly does that mean with regards to content on this blog or on my social media? Nothing! I’m already sharing Sseko stuff (and have been for MANY years)… the only change is that now I will earn a small commission if you purchase Sseko Designs product through me (at no additional cost to you!).
This is just a small piece of my larger mission to educate, inspire, and connect you to the mission of fair trade. <3
Now, if the mission of Sseko Designs excites you and you ALSO want to be a part of it, girl… we’d love to have you. I’d love for you to join the Ssisterhood (see what I did there?) and be a fellow with us. In a world of competition and exclusivity… Sseko is all about community and inclusion and collaboration.
You can learn right along with me.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Sseko Designs fellows program or just wanna know more about the mission of Sseko, let me know.
Thank you, as always, for your support over the years and encouragement along the way! I’m forever grateful for each and every one of you.