Hiroko Samejima is founder, CEO and Chief Designer of andu amet Ltd.. andu amet is a leather brand whose products are made from exquisite Ethiopian sheepskin, known as the world’s best leather for its silky smoothness and stout quality. She has won a number of awards for her entrepreneurial endeavors including Women of the Year 2013 of the Nikkei Woman magazine and Young Women Innovator of APEC. In 2014, she accompanied Prime Minister Abe on his state visit to Ethiopia.
She was a product designer in 1990s at a Japanese manufacturer when she started to feel skeptical about prevailing trends of mass-production and mass-consumption. She then joined JOCV (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer) program and was dispatched to Ethiopia. As a volunteer designer, she organized a fashion show with great success together with local partners. She also helped launching of a fair trade project in Ghana. After returning to Japan, she joined an internationally known high fashion brand where she worked at brand’s marketing division. In February 2012, she established andu amet ltd..