Reviews of Amani and Mkali by Life+Style+Justice Blogger, Hannah Thiesen
Saturday, May 05 2018 Caleigh Hernandez
I've been obsessed with Life+Style+Justice's blog since I began RoHo. Hannah's commitment to ethical and green living is impressive and inspires me to be a better global citizen.
A few weeks ago we sent her a few pairs of sandals to try out. Check out the blog post on the Amani and Mkali styles in our collection!
Sandals Replacement! RoHo's Comfy Beaded Beauties
Years ago, one of my childhood best friends spent a summer in Uganda. When she came back, she was sporting a beautiful pair of beaded sandals that she'd purchased from a local vendor there. I loved those sandals, and I watched her wear them for YEARS (actually, I think they're probably still going strong). I now own a pair of sandals from RoHo that closely mimic that legendary pair of shoes, and I'm having so many nostalgic feelings!
RoHo is an up-and-coming ethical shoe and accessory shop that started with the simple desire to connect an already- existing artisan workshop in Kenya (run by a woman named Lydia) to a higher-paying market for their handicrafts. The workshop employs 36 women and 6 men, who are all paid at least double what workers in the area would normally make (salaries vary based on job/experience). Profits from RoHo's product sales abroad are funneled back into the worker's community through donations to educational initiatives in the area. The workers themselves are able to give input into which programs they'd like to see the donations given to- after all, as founder Caleigh Hernandez says, "they are in the best position to know their community and its needs".
There's a pair of intricately beaded sandals for everyone in RoHo's collection... from the minimalist-friendly Mkali Strong style (this is the one I own, now), to the colorful, beach-resort-ready Maua Green Flower Sandal. There are even tiny children's sandals with cute little beaded medallions adorning them.
My old Sseko sandals are finally beginning to wear down after years of use, and my other pair of sandals (an un-ethically made pair made of synthetic materials) are sadly so broken down that they are beyond repair. I walk A LOT here in the Philippines (we're talking miles a day), and comfortable, sturdy, long lasting shoes are a must. After testing out my RoHo sandals for a week, I feel really great about them. They're comfortable enough for me to walk several-mile stretches, sturdy, and when they DO reach the end of their life span, I can dispose of the biodegradable materials in an earth-friendly way.
Speaking of materials, the ones used for RoHo's sandals are nearly all sourced semi-locally within Africa. Leather is sourced from northern Tanzania, rubber comes from the DRC, and beads are purchased in Nairobi, (though they are made in India). I always appreciate a brand who knows their suppliers!
While I'm testing out the Mkali Strong sandal style, my BFF Jella is taking the Amani Peace Sandal for a spin. Thankfully, we wear the same shoe size, so we can borrow each other's shoes!
I'm planning to update in a few months as I continue to road-test these lovely sandals in my tiny wardrobe. Stay tuned!