Uzuri K and Y, the brainchild of former UR students

Ysolde and Kevine are the co-founders of Uzuri K&Y

If there are footprints on the moon then the sky cannot be the limit. You can achieve all things if you set your mind on them. To some these just sayings that we hear on a daily basis and might be cliché but two young female entrepreneurs knew the depth and were inspired by them.

Ysolde Shimwe and Kevine Kagirimpundu, owners of the Made in Rwanda shoe Brand ‘Uzuri KandY’ met in 2013 at the University of Rwanda where they both studied at the College of Science and Technology, School of Architecture in the department of Creative Design. They both shared a passion for fashion and creating something unique for the Rwandan market as well as abroad.

Kevine and Ysolde play an important role in promoting in the Made in Rwanda projects since they are one of the few brands that have managed to break through in the shoe making industry in the country.

“When I met my business partner, we automatically connected since we both shared the same dream of being creators. We both had similar qualities like being hardworking and determined. We later came up with a project which was earlier on in theory. We started with making clothes, shoes, hats, accessories and bags.” Said Ysolde.

She further explained that when they started they had no experience and they tried creating many different things until later on when they decided to specialize in shoes only.

In the interview, Ysolde revealed that mixing school and the project was not easy since they had classes the whole morning as well as in the afternoon and had only few hours to create.

“I have to admit that it was not easy at all. When we started we only had one table and we would partition it into three parts. One part would be where we are making shoes from, on the second part is where we kept them and the third part was where we were doing our assignments from.” Said Ysolde.

Furthermore she said that,

“But nonetheless we were motivated and we knew that our future was in our hands. It was a hustle but we were determined to do it and our passion still flows deep, we are not backing up any soon.”

When they started the project, they relied on savings and some of the challenges they faced including getting investors.

“We would pitch our business idea any and every opportunity we had and initially no one was buying the idea since then women were considered to be untrustworthy. I am grateful for that because it pushed us out of our comfort zone and encouraged us to work with the little that we had in order to get here.” Explained Ysolde.

Ysolde informed us that the journey to where they are now is because they both knew what they wanted and we were willing to use the time at the University to learn and develop themselves.

”My advice to University students is that they should just go for it. I would like to believe that every single thing that you think of you can be able to touch it you can have it and you can bring it to life. If your brain is pushing you to find solutions please go for it. There is no limits and you create your own limit. ” Said Ysolde.