Dec 17, 2018
Liz Forkin Bohannon, @lizbohannon co-founder and CEO of Sseko Designs @ssekodesigns, a company whose products are all ethically produced by artisans who are treated well and paid fairly. It all started out as a fashion business and over time turned into a community of women creating opportunity for other women around the globe! Each artisan Sseko Designs employs in East Africa is sent to University to study and follow their dreams.
Episode 25 of the Time To Be You podcast reminds us that sometimes you find your passion somewhere unexpected. Liz never wanted to be fashion, but she followed her passion of improving opportunity for women which lead her to creating an artisan based fashion company! Never lose sight of why you started because your why will propel you forward. And remember, just because you face difficulties doesn't mean you're in the wrong place, it just means you're doing something difficult.
Questions asked in this episode:
1. Can you give us a brief background of yourself and how you started your company?
2. Did you always have a interest in fashion?
3. How does one go about starting a company in Uganda?
4. How did your appearance on Shark Tank help propel you?
5. How do you balance your role as a founder and as a mother?
6. Where do you see women in business going in the future?
Liz Forkin Bohannon is the founder of Sseko Designs. Sseko
Designs is an ethical fashion brand that works to educate and
empower women. By providing employment and educational
opportunities, Sseko enables women to continue their education and
become leaders in their country.
Liz graduated from the University of Missouri with a Master’s degree in Journalism. In 2008, she moved to Uganda to assist in the communications efforts for a youth development organization based in Kampala. While there, Liz met an incredible group of talented young women who were struggling to finance their education.
After travelling the country by motorcycle to find raw materials and learn how to produce footwear by hand, Liz hired three young women and started Sseko Designs. In four years, Sseko has grown from three women making sandals together under a mango tree, to an international fashion brand that provides employment, educational opportunities and entrepreneurial training to over 50 women in East Africa.
Using her unlikely story of a journalist-gone-shoe-maker, Liz shares her passion for social enterprise, conscious consumerism, social justice, creative leadership, gender equity, risk-taking, and empowering women. She believes deeply that business is a powerful platform for social change and that girls are our future. She has spoken in venues around the world including France, Estonia and all over North America and East Africa. Her disarmingly authentic and witty voice captivates and inspires her audience. The Sseko story has been featured in dozens of publications including: Vogue Magazine, Redbook Magazine, O Magazine, Shape Magazine, Fitness Magazine, Huffington Post, LA TIMES and others. Among other notable honors, Liz is a Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards finalist, the SVN Innovation Award Winner, the SXSW Eco Social Impact Award Winner, and Bloomberg Businessweek’s top social entrepreneur to watch.
She now splits her time between Uganda and Portland, Oregon, where she and her husband Ben run Sseko Designs and raise their son, Theo.
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