Say yes to adventure.
Do things that scare you.
The walls in the chic urban office that is home to Sseko Designs are plastered with these phrases, as a constant reminder of this company’s roots. Really, the office is a manifestation of what can happen if you live by these laws: if you do say yes to adventure, if you do things that scare you…which makes me think about the things that scare me.
Summer is an exciting time for Team Sseko because we get to welcome a new group of incredible people to the family. We’re so excited to introduce the newest members of the Sseko team, the Summer 2016 interns! These four inspiring ladies are working hard and are determined to make this the best summer yet at Sseko HQ.
We’ve asked the interns to answer a few fun questions in order to get to know them a little more. Without further ado, please welcome the Summer 2o16 Interns!
Name, Hometown, & Sseko Role: Kristy McInnis || Oregon City || Style and Content Intern
University & Major: Oregon State University || Merchandising Management and Business Entrepreneurship
Bio: Hello, party people! I am Kristina McInnis (my friends call me Kristy), and I enjoy long, romantic walks to the fridge. You can find me in any local trendy coffee shop or blogging for my latest article for College Fashionista. Being a foodie, Portland is home to a plethora of tasty restaurants such as Garden Bar–for that one day a month I want to pretend I am on a diet–or cafe Broader, which is perfect for brunch on those sluggish Sunday mornings.
What part of the Sseko Manifesto resonates most with you and why? I like “Surround yourself with people who believe the best in you”. I am a big believer in being the cheerleader for my friends and family. It’s important to have that feeling of support from the ones you love when you’re out chasing your dreams.
Describe your summer style : My current summer style is about as bipolar as the Oregon weather! I am up-to-date on all the latest trends and styles. Right now, I am all over anything “blush” colored or metallic because they look amazing on all skin tones.
Favorite Sseko Product: I am head-over-heels (or sandals in this case) for Ssekos Crossover Slides in metallic gold and silver. They will be coming home with me shortly!
As Americans, we’ve always been intrigued by the idea of Cuba—this forbidden land, rich in history and culture. Can you imagine what it would be like to actually travel there? Earlier year, Ben + Liz of the Sseko team got to visit Havana with their friends Caroline + Jayden. We asked Caroline to put together a Travel Guide to Havana, Cuba for us, so we could share all the stories, travel tips and must-do’s with you! We’ll let Caroline take it from here….
Our favorite time of the year is here! This month, we’ve welcome 11 bright new faces into the Sseko workshop–11 young women who will work with us for 9 months while they earn an income for university and head off to school in the fall. We are so excited to introduce you to the Class of 2016!
This year’s class if full of vibrant characters. There is Linda (who lost both of her parents when she was young but is dreaming about becoming the first female President in Uganda!), Successor (who is going to university to study human rights and hopes to help end tribal conflict and domestic abuse) and Bridget (who will go on to college and study logistics and operations…but has not-so-secret dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian.) to name a few. You can head on over to our Meet the Women page to read more about each university-bound lady!
At Sseko Uganda, we are in the process of welcoming our newest class of university-bound girls to the team, so we thought it would be a good time to explain how we recruit & hire these ladies each year! In Uganda, the school year starts in February and ends in December. So towards the end of October, as the school year comes to a close, it becomes time for us to start searching for the new Sseko class. Fortunately, we are lucky to be able to partner with an incredible high school called Cornerstone Leadership Academy (CLA) to find the newest team members, which makes the process an easy one! As we continue to grow, we hope to hire more and more of their graduating class, until each graduate can find a job with Sseko if they want one.
During the last week of October, our workshop gets a whole lot younger for a day as the girls come for interviews, lunch, a little sample of the workload they might expect next year. They’ll try their hands at beading, looping sandals, and a variety of other tasks to see whether it’s work they can take interest in.
Welp, it’s that time of year again! Can you believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner? Here at Sseko HQ, we’ve already started scheming what gifts we want to give (and let’s be real, also get) this season, and we thought we’d share our picks with you! Each holiday gift also gives back, so it’s like you’re giving a gift that gives…twice!
Our Staff Picks:
Holiday Gifts That Give Back
Bri, Community Manager: “My pick is the Hope Bracelet! It adds just a touch of ever-necessary gold to my outfit for the holidays. I’m obsessed with ‘hope’, and the bracelet is a daily reminder to keep the things I am hopeful for at the forefront of my dreams.”
This fall, as we ask you to seek the unfamiliar, it’s only fair that we ask the same of ourselves, both in the U.S. and in Uganda. For Josephine, this meant overcoming her fear of the water in exchange for an exhilarating new experience: a Uganda boat trip on Lake Victoria!
Despite the fact that Uganda is a land full of water, from the mighty Nile to Lake Victoria to the smooth, calm pools of mountain craters- most Ugandans don’t know how to swim. Two years ago, when Josephine heard of a few American visitors spending the day touring Lake Victoria in a wooden fishing boat, she shook her head in amusement at the risk. When pressed, though, she admitted that she’d like to try it one day- as long as there were a life jacket. Recently, she got her chance- along with several other adventurous Sseko ladies who decided to head out onto the water (for the first time in their lives) for a boat trip on Lake Victoria.
You are probably looking at these images wondering “what in the world is this girl doing?”. Well, you, my friend are gazing upon rare behind-the-scenes images from Sseko’s 6th Birthday photo shoot. If you take a look at the final pictures from this shoot you never would’ve thought that this is how we got there. The life of a stylist and model is not always as glamorous one may think, but it sure is a lot of fun!
At 22, Liz Bohannon left a comfortable job at a communications agency and moved halfway across the world to make a difference. The Sseko ribbon sandal was born out of her deep-rooted passion to help bright & brave young women pursue their dreams. (And admittedly, some degree of stubborn determination!) In the 6 years that have passed since Liz’s first journey, Sseko Designs has become an internationally-known ethical fashion brand that’s enabled 60 (!!) women to attend college to-date.
For Sseko, each birthday represents a pause, a moment of reflection, and a time to give thanks. (We’re still going? And people are excited about what we’re doing? And they don’t think we’re crazy for trying to change the long-established, “traditional” version of philanthropy?!). Every birthday gives us encouragement to keep going–and provides time to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned over the past year. This year, our sixth year, was a big one.
There are a multitude of reasons that working at Sseko’s U.S. headquarters in Portland, Oregon makes for a killer gig: A compelling mission that makes getting out of bed on Monday morning about more than a paycheck. The chance to wear and share gorgeous, high-quality products. A beautiful office space full of fierce and inspiring co-workers.