We were totally bowled over recently to learn that we have been nominated for the Passion & Purpose Award in The Independent Awards 2020, hosted by Holly & Co and Not On The High Street founder and UK Ambassador to Creative Small Businesses, Holly Tucker MBE.
The Independent Awards 2020 have been created to showcase and recognise the very best creative small businesses across the UK, as part of #CampaignShopIndependent. The Passion & Purpose Award is for a business using their work as a tool for positive impact, so this nomination has really made us smile!
WHY SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN?
#CampaignShopIndependent celebrates all of the values we champion within our business: supporting local economies, creating local and sustainable business opportunities for people, and bringing diversity to the high street. One of our main purposes is creating a tangible connection between maker and buyer; shopping independent brings yet an additional layer of human interaction and promotes conscious consumerism.
The Basket Room is in very esteemed company and will be competing with 19 other INCREDIBLE independent businesses for the cash prize of £10,000. Voting closes on 3rd December when finalists will be selected from each category via a combination of the public vote and expert judges. Our category is being judged by two figureheads of social enterprise and sustainability: Sir Tim Smit KBE, founder of The Eden Project, and Edward Perry, co-founder of COOK.
We have just over a week to get our votes in, so please vote for us! And if you want to help even more, please share a link to the voting page with your friends and family, and encourage them to cast a vote for us too. Every single vote counts. THANK YOU!
Justina Kyalo weaves in one of the largest Kenyan weaving groups that we partner with
IF WE WERE TO WIN...
Winning this award would mean the absolute WORLD to us, and the prize money would enable us to take this small, ethical business to the next level and help us make an even bigger difference to the livelihoods of so many of the Kenyan weavers we partner with – and their families.
Linear Fusion baskets are currently stored in Madam Dorcas' house before being sent to us by shipping container
If we won this Passion & Purpose award, we would use part of the prize money to build a basket storage facility and community hub for one of our largest Kenyan weaving groups - the ladies who produce our Linear Fusion baskets. At present, the chairlady of this weaving group - Madam Dorcas - stores all completed baskets in her home to keep them safe and dry before they're shipped out to us. This is sometimes up to 1000 baskets at a time! A proper storage facility and a place to gather, train and work together would enable this group to take their business to the next level.
Here’s Madam Dorcas talking about her vision for the Kenyan weaving co-operative she leads:
We would also use the prize money to invest in annual social impact reports to share with our customers, by hiring auditors on the ground to visit our 16+ key weaving groups. This would allow us to illuminate the true sustainability of our business through solid facts and figures. We currently have proven a basic fair trade business model, however we feel that now is the time to provide even more transparency - and recognise areas where more support is needed to help us become even more sustainable in the way we operate.
OUR VISION FOR THE BASKET ROOM
Whether we win this award or not, our vision is to continue distributing baskets all over the world for years to come; to grow the business, discover yet more unique basketry and skilled artisans - and share the success of our business with others. We have started to include the name of the weaver who made the basket on the swing tags of baskets produced by our core group in Kenya, and we hope to roll this out across all the weaving groups as a means of deepening the connection between artisan and customer.
AND OUR ULTIMATE GOAL?
Our ultimate goal would be to set up 'The Basket Room Foundation' alongside the business, and to invest part of our profits to fund educational programmes in the African villages we work with.
Madam Dorcas (front right) and members of her team share their beautiful handiwork
OVER TO YOU!
We have reached the nomination stage in these awards thanks to public votes alone, so we thank everybody who has already helped shine a light on this small independent business - and other brilliant, small businesses too. If you'd like to help us get to the next stage and beyond, CLICK HERE TO VOTE!
Thank you! Asante Sana! Watch this space!