Big news in the world of Sseko Designs: We are an official member of the Fair Trade Federation!

Wait, I thought Sseko already manufactured with fair trade practices? What’s changed?”

Since the day Sseko began with just three women making shoes under a mango tree in Uganda, we have been committed to building a business that creates dignity and opportunity for every person involved. Our factory is a beautiful and safe place for employees, every partner we work with is carefully evaluated, and every artisan fairly compensated.

If you’ve been paying attention to Sseko in the past few years, you may have noticed that we’re growing. A lot. Thanks to an incredible network of women across the U.S. who are selling Sseko products and sharing the Sseko story, our business has been steadily expanding. This means we’re able to take on new partners, employ more individuals, and offer more scholarships to the brightest young women in East Africa.

To answer the question at the beginning of this post, nothing about the way we do business has changed BUT we recognize (and celebrate) that with increased growth comes an increased need for accountability and continued impact.

We’re holding ourselves to the principles of fair trade with a third party organization because we value the accountability and transparency it requires of us. As we continue to grow, we believe that being aligned with an organization like the Fair Trade Federation helps our community and our consumers understand and trust just how seriously we take this.

We are also thrilled to join a community of businesses who are like-minded and committed to these principles. We’re excited to contribute what we’ve learned from nearly a decade of manufacturing with fair trade principles as well as learn immensely from others who have invaluable expertise and experience to offer. This is a true example of our deep belief in community over competition.

What is the Fair Trade Federation?

The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) is an organization that brings together businesses that share a commitment to the principles of Fair Trade.

How did Sseko get verified?

Sseko underwent an extensive screening and interview process that evaluated our entire company (not just a single product line, artisan group or factory) as a whole. The application process for FTF verification evaluates the trade, manufacturing and sourcing practices of our company and suppliers and requires full transparency and contact information for our entire supply chain.

What are the Fair Trade Federation principles?

The Fair Trade Federation Principles are designed to promote greater equity in international trade. Fair Trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. FTF companies fully commit to the following principles in all of their transactions:

  1. Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers
  2. Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships
  3. Build Capacity
  4. Promote Fair Trade
  5. Pay Promptly and Fairly
  6. Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions
  7. Ensure the Rights of Children
  8. Cultivate Environmental Stewardship
  9. Respect Cultural Identity

If you’ve made it this far into the blog post, we’re going to assume that you care about Sseko to some degree. Whether you’re a customer who recently discovered us, a Sseko Fellow who is a co-creator of this beautiful business, or anyone in between, thank you for believing in a brighter future with us.

What started as a crazy dream that making sandals could get a few incredible women to college has blossomed into a thriving social impact business that is big enough to make us pause and invest in even greater transparency and positive impact as we continue grow.

Want to learn more about the people behind our products?

Meet the Women of Sseko Designs in Uganda HERE

Meet our Product Partners HERE

Want to become part of the Sseko community?

Apply to become a Sseko Fellow and start your own social impact business selling Sseko products on your own schedule! APPLY HERE