As a small, independent business we’re always marching forward and rarely find or create the time to look back and relish our little wins, let alone the big ones. It’s always go go go!

Camilla, Anna and leatherworks manager Isobel preview some new basket bag designs in Kenya last month


We’re busy designing new pieces for 2023 and putting together basket orders for the autumn so that the weavers have a steady stream of work from now until then. And with Fairtrade Fortnight, Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day on the horizon we thought we’d grab a little breather to look back and reflect on something rather wonderful that happened for this little business in December last year…
 
 
Weaving together enables women the space to encourage and mentor one another. This is a sociable, creative and flexible craft. 

If you follow us on social media you might have seen that in November we were nominated and shortlisted for the Female Founder Award in The Independent Awards. The Independent Awards is an annual campaign led by Holly Tucker MBE: founder of notonthehighstreet and Holly & Co. 



Taking place annually in the weeks leading up to Christmas, these awards recognise the ‘bravery, innovation and sheer hard work’ of independent retailers across the UK, with a top prize of £10,000 for each winner in ten categories. The Female Founder Award celebrates female founders of independent businesses in the UK “who are smashing stereotypes, defining a new narrative and helping their fellow sisterhood, by paving the way and making that path an easier journey to tread for others.” 
 
 
Camilla with the ladies who carry out all the leatherwork on our baskets and bags, modelling their handiwork.

Getting through first stage of the nominations relied heavily on votes from the public, so we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for casting your votes for us. Having made it to the finals but not scooping the prize back in 2020, we gave our entry everything we could for 2021 but also kept our expectations firmly in check. We were up against some incredible female-founded businesses, after all, and it was a compliment and accolade enough simply to be standing beside them in the line-up.  

Gemma of Mutha.Hood won the runner-up prize in the Female Founder category. You might be familiar with her Strong Girls Club t-shirts and accessories. We're huge fans!

... So we were utterly thrilled and humbled to be named winners of the Female Founder Award on Thursday 9th December. Thank you again for your votes and support in helping us reach this special milestone - and our first ever award! 
 
 Holly and Aubrey celebrating with our trophy, which takes pride of place at the warehouse at our UK Basket HQ 
 
“Winning the Female Founder Award means so much to me and Camilla, and the whole team. For seven years we’ve worked extremely hard, making our passion and dreams become a reality. To be recognised in this way feels incredible! We are so grateful to Holly Tucker for creating this platform upon which independent businesses can shine.”
 
Holly, Co-Founder
 
 Empowered women empower women. Chairlady Madam Dorcas Ndinda (far left) is just one of many inspiring and stereotype-defying female founders we work with. 

We are investing our £10,000 cash prize to pay for a sustainability impact report which is currently underway - a project being headed up by Camilla, in Kenya. 

Peris (far left) Camilla (centre) and Anna (to the right of Camilla) on a weaver visit in Kenya last month.

"Investing in this sustainability report will enable us to analyse the supply chain and our overall business in order to identify areas to improve. We will be able to understand the environmental and social impact of raw materials better, further understand weavers’ pay versus various wage thresholds, and understand their overall welfare and success stories more clearly.
 
Camilla, Co-Founder

We really look forward to sharing the report findings with you, and involving our customers and followers even more meaningfully in this journey we’re on.
It's your basket purchases that enables The Basket Room to continue to grow as a network of female founders, here in the UK and across Africa. Thank you!

February 14, 2022 — Peris Mwangi

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