The Senda Team is proud to present our last post in the “Living Your Values” Blog Series. As part of this ongoing series, we are interviewing team members of organizations we admire to learn about why they do what they do, and how they are making a difference through social entrepreneurship. This week, we are excited to introduce Tal Dehtiar, founder of Oliberté Shoes Canada.
Enjoy the story, and enter the giveaway to win a hand crafted pair of Oliberté Shoes and Senda Apex Match ball at the bottom of this page!
Interview with Tal, Founder of OLIBERTE:
- What’s the unique innovation that your organization brings to the market?
We’re the first and only Fair Trade Certified footwear factory. We create our shoes and bags in Ethiopia and source the majority of our materials from within the continent of Africa. We train our team members in a way that gives them the opportunity to provide ethical jobs for future generations, creating the path for a truly sustainable economy. A huge part of what we do is to show others that you can do business fairly and with respect and still succeed in today’s business world.
- What inspired you to be a part of Oliberté?
I launched Oliberté in 2009 I wanted to create a sustainable lifestyle brand that supports workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa. We are focused on many, but one core goal: job creation. We currently employ 110 factory workers in Ethiopia, all of whom are paid a fair wage (our factory was Fair Trade Certified in 2013) and enjoy many other benefits.
- What part of your job brings you joy each day?
Knowing that a lasting difference is being made. Building a team that’s helping to create sustainable jobs in a place where there was once few opportunities for lasting change. Growing a company that encourages creative freedom and is transparent in such a way that its easy to see the direct impact of the decisions we make every day. It’s also inspiring to be a part of an entire community of likeminded individuals and businesses that believe strongly in creatively redesigning the way things are done.
- What steps do you take to live a more sustainable life?
Supporting Fair Trade Certified partners whenever possible; seeing the amount of work that goes into ensuring that things are done properly and with respect through Fair Trade USA certification has shaped the way I look at products I see day to day. I’m careful to fill my environment with things designed and built to last, i’ve always subscribed to the idea that it’s worth the investment in the short run to buy quality things, made with care and responsibly, rather than having to buy the same thing again and again if quality is sacrificed for price.
- Besides, Oliberté, what is your favorite Fair Trade product and why?
I really admire Patagonia for their initiatives in ethical business, environmental stewardship and the simple fact that after being around for so long, they still haven’t lost sight of the bigger picture.
- What is your favorite sports memory?
As a kid…Mario Lemieux dancing through the Minnesota North Stars during the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals.
Now…what else. Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista’s bat flip during the American League Division Series against Texas Rangers.
- What do you think Senda contributes to the Fair Trade movement?
There are a lot of hoops to jump through to be a part of the Fair Trade Movement as businesses; the certification provides opportunities for education, community building and simply changing the way things are done so that we leave the world a better place for the people who come after us. Being a part of the Fair Trade movement says so much about the people involved on any level, whether its on the manufacturing side or through supporting Fair Trade businesses by being a conscious consumer, the contributions are numberless and widespread. Through the encouragement of thinking differently, Senda brilliantly connects passionate people through soccer and gives them the opportunity to support a global movement of doing things with respect for the people who inevitably succeed through their combined efforts.