From a Small Ethiopian Village to the Global Fashion Industry: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu’s Impactful Journey with soleRebels

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu was born in 1980 in the Zenabwork area of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Growing up, Bethlehem’s parents instilled in her a strong sense of social justice and a desire to make a difference in her community.


She was particularly inspired by her mother’s traditional weaving techniques, which she saw as having the potential to create high-quality, fashionable footwear.
However, as she grew older, Bethlehem faced significant challenges. She struggled to find employment opportunities that aligned with her passion for social justice, and she saw firsthand the negative impact that poverty and lack of opportunity were having on her community.
Despite these challenges, Bethlehem remained determined to create positive change. In 2005, she founded soleRebels, a footwear brand that utilized traditional Ethiopian weaving techniques to create stylish and eco-friendly shoes. However, Bethlehem faced many obstacles in growing her business. She lacked funding, had limited access to global markets, and had to navigate the complexities of global supply chains.

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Despite these challenges, Bethlehem remained committed to her vision. She persevered, and with her hard work and determination, she was able to grow soleRebels into a successful global brand with stores and customers around the world.
Along the way, Bethlehem also founded the Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu Foundation to support education, healthcare, and other initiatives in Ethiopia. She has worked tirelessly to promote social justice and economic empowerment in her country and beyond.

Lessons From Her Story

Bethlehem’s story is a testament to the power of innovation, creativity, and a deep commitment to social justice. Her journey demonstrates the importance of perseverance, resilience, and a willingness to take risks in pursuit of a larger vision. Despite the challenges she faced, Bethlehem never lost sight of her goal of creating positive change in her community and the world.
Her story inspires others to believe in themselves and their abilities to make a difference in the world. Through her work, Bethlehem has shown that by following your passions, staying committed to your goals, and working hard, you can achieve incredible things and make a positive impact in the world.

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