One day my dad, who’s Ethopian, went back home to visit family. He brought me back a beautiful custom made leather messenger bag from Addis. I thought great, this is so perfect for my commute to work every day. The more I used this bag, the more compliments I received, and the more people questioned where it was from. People would literally stop me on the street or on the subway and ask me about my bag.
So, I told my dad about it. He said the same thing is happening to him too. And then he asked if we should start a business. I shut it down so quickly. I was trying to save, work a full time job, purchase my first house. A ton of things were happening right now. I didn’t even have time to think about this idea.
A few months passed, and the compliments continued. People then began to ask me when my dad would be going back to Ethiopia, and if they could place a pre-order. I told my dad what was going on, and like every parent he said of course, I told you so. At that point I said, okay let’s do it. So, I began to do a couple of sketches of different bags. Then developed our business plan literally on a notepad. My dad had reached back out to the artisans in Ethiopia and we started to take pre-orders.
Next thing you know we were doing a photoshoot, creating our website, our Instagram and going to local popups. It all happened so quickly. When you get started you don’t anticipate how fast all the pieces begin to fall into place and how quickly the obstacles come up. But, there was this huge demand for these Ethopian bags, and Unoeth just continued to grow. So I quit my full time job, committed, and here we are 5 years later.