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Enzi shoes are made in a small workshop in Ethiopia

Co-founder Azariah Mengistu keeps quality high by using a small local team

CNN  — 

When footwear brand Enzi opened its first store in Addis Ababa the words “Made in Ethiopia” were not associated with luxury.

Today the high-end shoe brand is on a mission to change the perception that good quality products are not made in Africa.

Jawad Braye and Azariah Mengistu co-founded Enzi in 2011 with just $30,000, after realizing that Ethiopia had a rich supply of leather and an emerging manufacturing industry.

Today, the company ships to markets in Europe, Asia and the U.S.

“What differentiates us as a brand is how well made the shoes are,” Mengistu tells CNN. “Every single millimeter counts, every stitch is important.”

Quality first

Enzi has ensured such high quality standards by setting up its own production line – rather than relying on an existing one – where employees understand the emphasis on perfection.

With shoe prices at around $125 a pair, Enzi shoes could be Ethiopia’s next big start-up.

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