OliberteTal8 karma2019-03-05 19:06:38 UTC
Thanks for the support! I may look at ways to still keep aspects of the brand and the supply chain within Ethiopia or other countries in Africa. That said, for the coming period our focus is on selling our stock, paying our debts, and then revisiting options once and if it makes sense. In terms of marketing, I think the key will be wherever we make it, is knowing what our customers want whether in Ethiopia or New Zealand or Brazil - I think it's about being honest and transparent (even if it's not great news) with those who trust their dollars to you through buying your product.
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OliberteTal7 karma2019-03-05 19:11:55 UTC
Great question. From our side, the political/economic climate was not an issue ever. We were very fortunate that within Ethiopia, the policies in place and government was very supportive of our efforts from the beginning. In our case, the real reason was that we couldn't grow sales fast enough to manage the continued expenses in running our own factory.
OliberteTal6 karma2019-03-05 18:55:14 UTC
As of now, our current stock on hand is the last of our shoes and bags that were made in Ethiopia and Fair Trade Certified. I am exploring some other options to continue the ethos of the brand (outside of Ethiopia) but those details are still in the works.
OliberteTal5 karma2019-03-05 18:59:54 UTC
Hi Adam. I don't think it's that customers didn't "get" Oliberte - since we began we sold over 200,000 shoes and bags so not a small feat. Our customers, love our styles and mission and how it ties together in an authentic way - not everyone of course, but many do. The challenge was really that we couldn't grow fast enough with the product made in Ethiopia to cover the amount of money I and my investors were putting in over the last 10 years. Reflecting back if I was to look at other reasons for those that don't 'get it,' it could have been part design, part price, part quality.
OliberteTal5 karma2019-03-05 19:19:50 UTC
In our case, I don't think it's what I would do differently. Our legal set up was fine and we had enough capacity. The Government in Ethiopia was very supportive. We did have challenges with leather for a number of years in terms of quality and consistency, so we explored opening our own tannery a few years back, but in our case it's just that the brand wasn't growing fast enough to manage the costs at our factory.
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