Setting up The Basket Room in Spring 2014, we made a decision to just be a retailer, wholesale seemed like a whole other world away! As we took our baskets across the country, enquiries from retailers came in thick and fast. We knew that we had to respond, but how? Most of our baskets were all one off unique designs, handwoven in South Eastern Kenya, a long drive from Nairobi. Designs created by the weavers, sizes determined by what they were used to making. Beautifully made and very creative, but how could we wholesale one off baskets?
The talented, creative weavers in South Eastern Kenya who make our Unique Collection
So, the plans began. We made contact with a local government person in Nairobi who advised us on new weaving cooperatives closer to the City, we reached out to them and met on numerous occasions to discuss our ideas and how we could work together. Translators were vital, as was patience! We had planned for the launch to take just 6 months, but quickly learned that it was a long process and cooperation was needed from all parties. At the same time we linked up with a weaving cooperative in Northern Ghana, and also started designing and sampling baskets with them.
Two weavers hand rolling sisal in Kenya
Member of the weaving cooperative in Ghana who make our Bike Baskets!
It is now just over one year since we started discussions with the weavers in both Kenya and Ghana: tape measures, scissors, dye drums and design packs given to the groups, samples have been sent and feedback given. Camilla and the team in Kenya have been on countless production trips out into rural terrain to train the weavers, provide support, pick up and pack many baskets! We have all measured, stacked and unstacked, packed and unpacked 1000 baskets in the past two months!
The weavers in Kenya who make our Linear Fusion collection
We are so very excited to say that our wholesale business has now launched and you can find a selection of our baskets and bags in both UK based shops and internationally (click link below to find out where!). We have also worked out a way in which we can wholesale our beautiful, unique baskets too, so no one loses out. Our aim going forward is to increase capacity to supply more shops, this will create more work and income for the weavers and new groups. We would love to expand our offering and designs and make The Basket Room a truly global brand!