As we get ready to close up shop for the Christmas break both here in Charlbury and in Nairobi, we can’t quite believe that another year has whistled by. To say it has been a whirlwind would be something of an understatement and it’s only now that we have really had the time to take stock of all that has happened in twelve quick months. We’ve had one engagement this year and there are now two weddings being planned for 2018, and our baskets have had a lot of exciting firsts this year, too. Plus some significant seconds, thirds and fourths… And a partridge in a pear tree!
So here’s our year in review. Deep breath. Here goes…
- We packed and unpacked literally THOUSANDS of baskets, and spent more time than would be considered normal wearing baskets on our heads whist carrying out said packing and unpacking. See Instagram.
- We sent our FIRST shipping container from Kenya to the UK, filled with over 4,000 beautiful woven baskets.
- We relocated to our THIRD office where we now have loads more space for storing and packing baskets, a cosy sitting area for coffee breaks and meetings, and desk space for FOUR of us. … Which means that we took on our FIRST permanent employee this year! Welcome, Anna! It’s so wonderful to have you on board.
- We added THREE new countries to our map: Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. Check out the new additions to our Traditional Fine Weave collection (Uganda), our trendy Embroidered Baskets (hand embroidered in Rwanda), and our Natural Storage Baskets (Tanzania).
- We took TOO MANY photos of cats sleeping in and on baskets to even begin to count. As above, see Instagram!
- Launched FOUR new collections online: Moses Baskets, Mats & Runners, Embroidered Baskets and Natural Baskets. Our sisal Mats & Runners are woven on a hand-loom by Bernard, an amazing ONE-MAN team.
- We DOUBLED our wholesale stockists, adding Russia, Japan and the USA to The Basket Room family. добро пожаловать! ようこそ! Welcome!
- Ate THREE goats in one week on our November trip to Kenya to meet the weavers. So delicious!
- Exhibited at our FIRST trade fair: Maison et Objet, in Paris in September. We took over 60,000 steps that week!
- Took ONE tiny plane from Nairobi to the rural village of Ngurunit in March, where our Pambo Palm baskets are made. Read about Camilla’s trip here.
- We saw our FIRST feature in World of Interiors Magazine.
- One weaving cooperative we work with in Kenya swelled its numbers from 45 to over ONE HUNDRED.
What all of these numbers add up to, essentially, is MORE BASKET ORDERS coming in every month to the weaving cooperatives we partner with in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, Swaziland and Uganda. This is what we’re all about: bringing regular and fairly paid work to talented communities. Empowering women to support themselves, support their families, and to support one another in business. Engaging in fair trade and ethical working practices. Protecting age-old crafts, and creating legacies.
So from our family to yours, we THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for supporting The Basket Room on our journey this year. We wish you a very happy, restful Christmas and a peaceful New Year.