Success certainly comes at a price, but something worthy of being strived at if one is keen on standing out.
This is the story of Bethlehem Alemu from Ethiopia, who has grown her shoe business to international fame from very humble beginnings.
Yes, it may be embarrassing and downright difficult to ask other people to invest in your business ideas, dreams, vision or project. But tenacity, the fiery spirit of forging on in the face of ravaging odds is one single quality of successful people.
Her business – SoleRebels – is one of the most popular and fastest-growing African footwear brands in the world! Her collection of eco-friendly footwear (made from recycled materials) have been sold in more than 50 countries across the world, including the USA, Canada, Japan and Switzerland.
But her business dream would have never have taken off without the $10,000 in the capital she raised from family and relatives in 2004.
Using that initial capital, Bethlehem’s business took off and she has gone ahead to launch another fashion business – Republic of leather — that trades in luxury leather products like bags, belts and other non-footwear leather accessories.
Her inspiring success story has been featured on Forbes, the BBC and CNN. And she was described by Forbes as ‘One of The World’s Most Powerful Women’.
Bethlehem Alemu grew up in Zenabwork, a poor village in the suburbs of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Despite her poor background, it was possible to get her family and relatives to pitch in their contributions. This is the not-too-glamourous part of getting a business off the ground that glossy magazines fail to mention.
Bethlehem is a veritable role model for those who feel they are too disadvantaged to make any impact in their world. She has proven that obstacles are mere stepping stones to success.