Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oliberté: Pretty cool shoes

Tal Dehtiar (pronounced Debtier) is a MBA graduate from the McMaster University Business School. He decided to start a shoe making business in Africa and after a year of climbing mountains of bureaucracy, meeting and overcoming a general lack of skilled workforce, not to mention raising enough finances, he was able to start Oliberté. In his quest the Ethiopian Government offered major incentives and the Ethiopian Airways promised to fly his finished goods to North America for $1.50 per kilo. Bulk transport costs usually determine container shipments which can take up to 45 days but Oliberté shoes arrive in the US four days after they leave the factory. The shoes are designed at Oliberté's headquarter in Oakville, Ontario but the manufacture process is rather complex thereafter with rubber soles made in Monrovia (Libera) using Liberian rubber; then shipped to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) where the shoes are manufactured using Ethiopian leather. The Oliberté range are currently making footwear for the North American markets only but the hope is the company will soon produce inexpensive sandals for the home market. From November the Oliberté range will be available at: Chicago (Hanig's and P & L), Seattle (Soul Food), New York (David Z), Philadelphia (Bus Stop Boutique) and Los Angeles (Kicks Sole Provider). Orders can also be posted at the Oliberté website. The company plan a back-to-school range in 2010.

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