Can you tell us a little about yourself? // What inspired you to start Sseko Designs?
My name is Liz. I went to Uganda on somewhat of a whim when I graduated from college. I studied journalism and wanted to learn more about the issues facing women and girls living in poverty and in conflict and post conflict zones. I went to learn. To understand. To be changed. To break. And to grow. I didn’t set out because I had something to give. I set out because I believed there was so much more I had left to learn. So I went. And while I was there… I changed. I broke. And I began to learn.
During my time traveling across Uganda, I came across an incredible community. And in that community there was a remarkable group of young women. They were mostly my age. They became friends. The commitment of these young women blew me away. They were not only committed to learning their subjects, but also so committed to learning how to love well. To love each other. To reconcile their lives. To lead their communities and countries.
When I came to learn that many of these bright, passionate young women were graduating from secondary school and struggling to find work during their gap year to finance their university education, Sseko was born.
What exactly is Sseko Designs?
We believe that every woman has a dream. When she has the opportunity to pursue those dreams, we are collectively walking towards a brighter, more just and beautiful world.
Sseko began as a way to generate income for high potential, talented young women in Uganda to continue on to university. And it has worked! Every woman who has graduated from Sseko is currently pursuing her college degree or has graduated from university and is on her way to making our world a more beautiful place. To date, we have enabled 87 women to attend university—and we’re sending our biggest class to date (fifteen) this year!
In addition to our university-bound team, Sseko also employs women from all walks of life. By creating an environment of dignity, honor and dedication, Sseko Designs provides the opportunity for women in East Africa to end the cycle of poverty and create a more equitable society.
In addition to our team in Uganda, we create opportunity for women in the U.S. to earn an income and fulfill their dreams! Through the Sseko Fellows Program, we provide the resources for women across the U.S. to sell Sseko and launch their own social enterprises. Every Fellow is paired one-to-one with a woman on our team in Uganda, and her sales directly contribute to earning an additional scholarship for her Sole Sister. Last year, thanks to our Sseko Fellows, we were able to TRIPLE the scholarships we provided to our university-bound team!
How did you come up with the name, Sseko Designs? & what does it mean?
Enseko is the Lugandan word for laughter!
What is the Sseko Fellows Program?
As a Sseko Fellow, you become a representative of Sseko in your community. By sharing the Sseko story with your community and selling Sseko products through trunk shows as well as online, you’ll become an integral part of making dreams come true for women in Uganda. From the in’s and out’s of social entrepreneurship, to running an actual small business, to marketing and product development, as a Sseko Fellow you’ll have the opportunity to learn it all. Oh! And you’ll also make money, earn free and discounted products and have a chance to participate in things like trips to Uganda and annual Sseko Fellow gatherings.
Where are your products sold? Are they sold in stores?
Sseko products are sold online through our site and through our Sseko Fellows who are spread out all across the US! When you are connected to a Sseko Fellow you can shop Sseko at anytime and get a feel for our products in person. Not to mention, Fellows get their customers access to products sold exclusively through them and early access to our seasonal collections. Basically — you want to be connected to one of our Fellows!
Is there a favorite product that everyone loves?
Our Ribbon Sandal (the sandal that started it all!) is still our top selling product! A close runner up is our Safari Leather Bucket Bag.
How do you spread the word about your company?
A few different ways! Primarily, with the growth of our Fellows program, the Sseko word is traveling fast through our community of Fellows. There’s nothing like the power of word of mouth! We also build relationships with influencers, brands, and other organizations who align well with us.