Salem's Ethiopia: Creating Beautiful Products to Bestow Dignity

Salem founded her business Salem’s Ethiopia to bestow dignity through work. Salem and her husband were educated in the United States and spent years working with non-profit organizations in Canda. Salem and her husband saw both the wonders and the limitations of the charity model. Salem stated, “Charity is excellent, but at some point, it takes away from someone.” Salem took her learning from North America home to Addis Ababa with the mission to do things differently.

Mallory with Salem and Awot

Selam wanted to give dignity back to people through meaningful employment. Her business fuses her passion for Ethiopian products with her vision to help people through job creation. She desired to bring excellent handcrafted Ethiopian goods to the mainstream market and to provide opportunity for Ethiopian laborers to monetize their craft sustainably. Having spent years close to the non-profit space, Salem saw her fair share of pity purchases. Purchases where people heard the story then bought the product. Salem would not tolerate this kind of product in her store that did not truly bestow dignity to artisans. She declared that such products end up as “junk in the basement.” Instead, Salem used her business acumen to listen to customers and produce products they actually wanted in order to provide truly meaningful work. 

Salem’sheart is for the customer to be satisfied by taking home an excellent product and the laborers to take home a fair wage for their work. Like INTERWOVEN, Salem’s Ethiopia desires to sell products with heart and style. We vote for the world we want to live in with our dollars. We are thankful our partner Salem’s Ethiopia gives us the opportunity to vote for beauty and dignity.

 

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