It feels great to be EIGHT!
Happy birthday to us – oh and what a year it has been! Eight years ago today Holly and Camilla took a little stand at the Country Home & Living Fair and The Basket Room was born. Here’s a quick rundown of some of our milestones over the past twelve months.
Shortly after we turned seven, we were beyond thrilled to win the Female Founder Award in Holly & Co’s annual Independent Awards. A huge honour, and our first ever award! We have invested the £10,000 prize money in conducting an in-depth sustainability study on the ground in Kenya – the findings of which we look forward to sharing with you soon.
Camilla is enjoying maternity leave with her new addition.
In early summer we welcomed two beautiful new basket babies into the fold: Co-Founder Camilla gave birth to Effie, and Production Manager Peris gave birth to Thelma. Tabz joined the Kenya office and has been doing a fantastic job keeping things running smoothly during Cam and Peris’ maternity leaves. Here in the UK we welcomed the brilliant Leilah and George to the fulfilment team. Welcome to the family, everyone!
Say hi to George!
We then launched the highly anticipated Utopia Collection of summer bags in early June. A hopeful project born out of the winter UK lockdown, these luxury Kenyan-made bucket bags, totes and crossbody bags were dreamed up by Camilla and British designer Hannah Harrison - whose previous clients include Lulu Guinness, Paul Smith and Jigsaw. The collection sold extremely well and were able to commission a second production run for the UPINDE rainbow tote.
The Utopia Collection also marked our first photo shoot in Kenya with Kenyan models.
It wouldn’t be a birthday round-up without talking about at least one warehouse move, and our eighth year of trading was no different. Thanks to another year of growth, we are now storing baskets in an additional warehouse close to our HQ in Chipping Norton. Prior to this we were seeking out extra storage space here, there and everywhere, so it’s very handy to have all our stock virtually in one place.
Bursting at the seams...again!
We have also expanded our artisan network in Africa and look forward to launching a collection of beautiful handmade Christmas decorations online in November. These sisal angels and other festive figures are handmade in eSwatini by a women’s craft group set up to empower women through leadership, crafts and health education.
On the wholesale side of the business, we have launched on the independent wholesale platform Faire. We love being part of an alternative online platform enabling conscious brands to connect with retailers all over the world. We have also added Mamas & Papas, the RHS, Contigo in Germany and Ybligg in Switzerland to our ever-growing network of wholesale partners.
This year we once again supplied LUSH with over 1000 colourful tie dye baskets for Christmas. Aren't they lush?!
And finally: we have shipped 19,640 baskets to the UK in the last year, and 106,653 baskets in total since we started trading in 2014. Minds = blown!
Thank you to all our customers for your support over this past twelve months – another challenging year in the world and in the economy. Thank you for talking about us, for recommending us, and for choosing handmade crafts that do good. It’s thanks to your purchases, your kind words and your spreading of the basket love that we can keep placing consistent orders with the artisan groups we work with across Africa. Together we're keeping precious and powerful legacies alive.