Now we've officially been around for five years we think it's about time we introduced ourselves properly! We share a lot of video clips and photographs of the weavers and their work on our blog and on social media, but we rarely turn the camera on ourselves. So if you'd like a meet-and-greet with us - Camilla and Holly - and an introduction to the baskets, the weavers, and how the business all works, please check out this film we made earlier in the year...
It feels like only yesterday that we were sat here with mugs of tea, scribbling down ideas for our fourth birthday blog post and here we are, surrounded by baskets (what's new..?!) as we prepare a pop up shop space at our new HQ in Chipping Norton - though more on that later. Our fifth year of basket selling has seen more big changes for The Basket Room, so here's a whistle-stop tour of the last twelve months in our wonderful woven world...
Traditional dancing performed by the weavers in Ghana
You can read more about the trip here but highlights were exploring colourful Accra on foot, seeing a really large workforce of MEN weaving alongside women for the first time, and a pregnant Camilla featuring as a backing dancer in a music video (there's a link to the video in the blog post!)
Camilla learns to weave in Ghana
Camilla gave birth to a baby girl - Arla - in the spring of this year, and she is already very much part of basket life in Kenya.
Little Arla enjoying the world view from her Ghanaian Moses basket
With another HUGE container delivery of baskets looming large, we upsized our premises once again in July. We can now be found on the Worcester Road Industrial Estate - a five minute walk from the centre of lovely Chipping Norton - and a five minute drive from Daylesford Organic Farm.
The Basket Room pops up at Wilderness Festival 2019
We popped our festival cherry this summer with a stand at Wilderness Festival, and this year we welcomed Toast, Anthropologie, Amara and Conran into our ever-growing wholesale family. In an age of fast fashion and - a relatively new term - 'fast interiors', it's really positive to see that such influential names in retail are championing ethical and sustainable production
Camilla and Holly on location for filming, Kenya 2017
That's not to mention the 143 independent shops that stock our baskets and join us spreading ethical basket love all over the world!
Picnic Baskets and Bolga Shopping Baskets - new for 2019. Image Credit: @madamepanier
A big birthday thank you goes out to all the retailers who've been with us since the very beginning. You were that essential energy behind our foray into wholesale, and your support has helped us keep placing ever-growing basket orders with the weaving co-operatives. Your support has enabled so much growth and helped us keep a dying craft alive.
Image Credit: @thefuturekept
Finally, we're extremely excited to announce that THIS WEEK we will be opening a full-time, bricks-and-mortar POP UP SHOP at our warehouse in Chipping Norton!
Here you can see, touch and BUY all of the baskets you’ll find online, plus a whole host of one-offs and basket samples at special prices.
Our preview event is on Thursday 7th November from 2pm – 8pm so please do join us for a glass of fizz and a browse of the hundreds of beautiful baskets we have for sale in our dedicated shop space. As of Friday 8th November, we shall be open from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
Holly meets weavers on a sourcing trip to Zambia, October 2018
This year - so far - we have bought 16,619 baskets from weavers across Africa. Given that in 2016 we bought 2550 baskets, you'll get an idea of just how quickly this business has grown.
Since we started on 1st November 2014 we have had 55,568 baskets made!
We currently have 143 stockists - selling internationally from Hawaii to Singapore.
We currently work with 3,119 weavers across rural Africa
One cooperative we work with in Kenya has quadrupled in size since partnering with us five years ago - from 48 weavers to 200.
Holly and Camilla on their first trip to Kenya, 2015!
ALL of this is thanks to you. So thank you from the bottom of our hearts for buying our baskets, for sharing your basket pictures on social media, for talking about The Basket Room and for helping us raise awareness of what we're doing and the beautiful baskets we sell - we simply wouldn't be here without you!