From Ethiopia to St. Lucia, the Meme Bete Fashion Story
February 2, 2019
While living and working as a development professional in Ethiopia, Meme Bete’s founder, Taribba do Nascimento helped women entrepreneurs get export-ready, and as she watched their ventures grow, she was inspired to follow the entrepreneurial path.
“The leather industry is really organized in Ethiopia, and I loved African prints, so I thought African print fabric with leather would produce a beautiful bag,” Taribba said.
She established Meme Bete in 2009, a brand specialising in crafting exclusive handbags and purses.
At first it was a side hustle she used to repay student loans, but after becoming a mom, Taribba gave up her job and dived into Meme Bete full-time, so she could stay at home with her son.
In 2012 Taribba returned to Saint Lucia and to full time development work, again making Meme Bete a part time venture. It was a strategic move that enabled her in four years to accrue the capital needed to purchase industrial machines, hire staff and commence production full time from her very own atelier.
As a single mom relying solely on profits from an entrepreneurial venture and having responsibility for the livelihood of her staff, each day is a challenge. Despite the rush of support from friends and family eager to support her venture, there were only so many bags they could buy, and when that initial support dwindled, it was time to convince strangers to buy.