UZURI K&Y: An African inspired eco-footwear persevering the environment and creating jobs

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The UZURI K&Y brand

UZURI K&Y, women-owned and led eoc-friendly shoe brand is changing lives with one shoe at a time.

About UZURI K&Y, Growth and Impact

UZURI K&Y is an African inspired eco-shoe brand established in Rwanda since 2013. The company has made a direct impact on over 1,160 people through skills, employment and shoe donations. In 2018 it was named the best Made in Rwanda enterprise of the year and in 2019 it was part of the top 10 companies in Africa, according to Africa Netpreneur Prizes. 

Currently it has a team of 75 people in shoe production and 10 people in sales and management. The management team also consisted of the founders to ensure the day to day company’s success. The company currently sells its products in mainly private retail stores and online to reach regional and international markets. The brand’s target market is millennial working women. 

According to the Founders, the brand so far have served 25,039 customers locally, regionally and internationally, where 90% of the market is domestic. They have generated $1M dollars in income and a net profit of 10% over a period of 8 years. With most of the competition coming from second hand imported shoes the competitive advantage lies in unique design, strong message and eco-friendly oriented brand, the increase in demand of handmade products also make up the brand’s competitive advantages. 

The UZURI K&Y brand exists to solve global challenges, by tackling the United Nations’ goal No.13 of climate action by preserving our environment through recycling of wastes. They are also touching on goal No 4 & 5 of Quality education by equipping the youth with technical skills where at least 70% of graduates are made of women. The brand believes that women have the ability to lead, work in different industries and deliver competitive results. They are working every day to create a space for women so that they can feel empowered, work without harm, while also taking care of their families.

Meet the Founders

Kevine Kagirimpundu, Chief executive Officer and co-founder UZURI K&Y. Born in Kigali, Rwanda in 1991 and grew up from a family of talented artists hence her interest in craft. Kevine obtained her degree in creative designs & environmental built in 2015. And acquired business development and leadership skills from various organizations such as Institute of Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW). 

She is passionate about a sustainable environment & leverages her skills to educate youth and women from vulnerable urban communities. In 2019, Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative named her among top 10 heroes creating change across Africa. Kevine has used her passion for craft to build UZURI K&Y from scratch and make it a pioneer of the Rwandan footwear industry. 

Finally, she has learned that putting people first is the ultimate way to operating a successful business.

Ysolde Shimwe, Creative director and co-founder at UZURI K&Y. Born in 1992 and raised in Kigali, Rwanda. Ysolde holds a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Designs and Environmental Built. She has a key interest in designing sustainable solutions, where projects are taken from concepts to tangible products while being environmentally conscious. 

Ysolde believes in her ability to industrialize UZURI K&Y factory from manual and crafts methods to utilizing digital and technology based processes with the main goal of delivering a competitive quality on the global market. 

With her knowledge in product design, she has dedicated her extra time to a training program that involves equipping, educating and transferring skills to the women and youth from less privileged communities. She was named the most promising Business woman by KORA coaching in 2016. “Our mission is to craft viable solutions to recycle old car tires into functional products while equipping the youth and women with technical and soft skills.” she said.

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