As a loyal customer of UZURI K&Y, here are 10 things you should know about the brand:
1. The first client who bought a pair at UZURI K&Y still wears them
The brand focuses on product durability to keep customers from going over their budget to purchase shoes every month. Six years and a half after the shoe company was founded, their first client still rocks the pair she bought.
2. Shoes are made with soles cut from recycled tires
In the beginning, UZURI used rubber to manufacture shoes but later on, as Shimwe and Kagirimpundu strolled through Kigali, they saw old tires which had been dumped on the roads and realized they could make better use of the tires more than rubber.
To this day, shoe soles are cut from recycled tires and final products are more durable and environment-friendly
3. The largest shoe size made by UZURI K&Y was 51 and the smallest 34 for a grown-up
Since 2015, the largest shoe size that the brand has ever produced was size 51. While it is known that 34 is a shoe size for children, UZURI once sold a size 34 pair of sandals to an Asian lady.
4. It took nearly two years for UZURI K&Y to perfect their craft
Since 2013, the brand strived to produce comfortable and durable shoes, it wasn’t until 2015, after various training, that the brand succeeded in manufacturing shoes which they believed met the standards they desired for their market.
5. UZURI tries on all the styles before putting them on the market
To access the quality, comfortability, and steadiness of all the shoes manufactured by the brand. The design team tries on samples of all the styles they produce before outing them on the market.
6. The brand employs entire families
It is usually not common to find a company where siblings or parents and their children work together but at UZURI, there is a father who was hired along with his two children and his sister-in-law.
7. UZURI K&Y transformed lives of hundreds of people
In 2013 when the company was founded, it only employed 3 people including its two owners. Currently, the brand employs more than 50 staff and provides training to youth aspiring for a career in the shoe-making industry.
8. Masiyiwa thinks UZURI K&Y is the NIKE of the future
During the Entrepreneurship Town Hall held last year in Kigali, London-based Zimbabwean billionaire businessman and the owner of Econet Wireless said that NIKE started small but that it currently has a $60 billion net worth. He believes that UZURI K&Y is on a good path to become the NIKE of the future.
9. Shimwe and Kagirimpundu were acquainted to each other because of a class assignment
Shimwe and Kagirimpundu first met at university while they were studying Creative Design. They weren’t friends at that time but after they were put together to work on a group assignment, they became friends and later decided to join hands on their entrepreneurial journey.
10. The owners declined one million Rwandan Francs to sell the company 6 years ago
Judging by how well the shoe brand is doing now, you would find it hard to believe an investor once offered Kagirimpundu and Shimwe one million Rwandans Francs to sell the company and become employees. The two owners turned down the offer because the investor’s vision for the brand did not match theirs.