The Hub conference room has been full of shoes this past week -- mostly leather sandals and usually beaded. Yesterday Michael Nzuki, Director of Anzuki Recycle Designers, rode a bus for eight hours from Malindi, Kenya to visit the Hub in Nairobi. He came to meet with Hub footwear advisor Jordie Saliman to seek advice on how to increase his exports to the U.S. While at the Hub, he also spoke with our investment team. If he secures more U.S. trade deals with Jordie’s help, he’s going to need to expand his operations and inputs with financing.
Michael currently employs 20 workers to hand stitch and bead his shoes. He says his dream is to employ 100. He describes how poor villagers show up to Anzuki looking for work. If he gains a more consistent market, something the U.S. would provide, he could hire them.
Jordie is optimistic. Michael’s price point is low and the sandals he makes are high-quality and fashionable. Across East Africa, Jordie likes what he sees – the workmanship, value and passion for the product are strong. In three weeks, Jordie will showcase the East African shoes to future buyers that he meets at the largest U.S. trade show, “Sourcing at MAGIC.” Past trade shows have already yielded results for Ethiopian shoe companies. Jordie hopes the same for MAGIC.