Inspired by a trip to Uganda, Olivier recognised the impossibility for the local population of DRC to afford imported shoes and made it his mission to bring the industry back to his home town of Bukavu and craft shoes which were affordable to the community.
Despite prejudices, Olivier set about learning his trade through apprenticeships and worked in the mining industry to get enough funds to get Kivu Leather off the ground. He secured several wholesalers who re-sell his products on the local markets and has employed ? staff in his business. Olivier continues to support other local businesses by purchasing all his supplies and leathers through them.
The slum is an un-sanitary, noisy, and un-pleasant environment to live and work and Kivu Leather struggles to bring Client’s through the door which inevitably limits sales. Kadutu does not have a direct electricity supply and is only sporadically serviced by a generator making the use of electronic machines intermittent. With this limited capacity, the production quantity and quality suffers as does the range of sandals and shoes they can produce.
The economic unrest severely effects sales and illegal taxes have been sinking the business. In a city where some state officers pretend to be tax collectors, it is very difficult for a business like Kivu Leather to distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent taxes.
For Kivu Leather to achieve their mission, the situation had to change.