Seven years ago, Camilla and Holly took a small set of painted shelves to Selvedge Fair in London, stacked with colorful and unique woven baskets – the entire Basket Room on a tabletop - which sold like hotcakes. So they booked another event sharpish: The Country Living Christmas Fair, and this time they brought more baskets with them.
Camilla at the Country Living Fair, Christmas 2014
Christmas shoppers were enchanted by the colours and the patterns, and most of all the rich and transparent stories behind these very special baskets.
All the fun of the fair!
There was no premises or warehouse back then; no wholesale partners or even employees: just a box room for storage, laptops on kitchen tables, day jobs, late nights and big dreams…
Holly WFH, circa 2014
Today, we’re a team of twelve full timers, part timers and temps, and our baskets are on sale in over 140 independent stores across the world, from California to Singapore. You can buy our baskets in LUSH stores (read about our collab with LUSH here), at Urban Outfitters, The Conran Shop, Anthropologie and John Lewis, and this year we added Oliver Bonas to our illustrious list of retailers.
We've also just seen one of our baskets – a unique handwoven pet basket from Ghana – feature in Not On The High Street’s Christmas TV ad campaign, which will also be shown at cinemas throughout the festive period. We've hit the big screen!
Check out our cat basket, bottom left!
Click on the image above to watch the ad - our basket pops up right at the end!
Jacklyne shows off her basketry: part of our collaboration with LUSH
The past twelve months has seen us ship 33,954 baskets from Africa to the UK spread across eight shipping containers. For context, we shipped THREE containers in 2020 and FOUR in 2019. The figures speak for themselves and we have YOU to thank for this!
Packing up a container in Kenya...
A common sight at the warehouse this year... we're bursting out of the walls again!
This year basket sales boomed amid COVID lockdowns and Brexit uncertainties. We are humbled to have been able to not only maintain but actually GROW this business in the most challenging climate, and so encouraged to see that people are turning more and more to natural, handmade products for the home.
KALA Moses basket from £133
Our handwoven Moses baskets are now officially AWARD-WINNING thanks to a big win at the Junior Design Awards, and a brand new basket baby arrived last December: Holly and Bill’s gorgeous little boy, Aubrey.
Our basket family has expanded in more ways than one in the past 12 months, in fact. We are now bringing baskets over from some incredible groups in Zimbabwe (our second container of goodies arrives next week – stay tuned!) and have formed a new partnership with a Ugandan weaving group who produce the most incredible, colourful wall baskets and wine bottle holders.
Handwoven by refugee men and women in the Gulu region of Uganda, these stunning new wall baskets are made from raffia palms and banana fibres.
We have also welcomed Leah (wholesale assistant), Kate, Dillon and Becky (warehouse assistants) in the past year, whilst Rachel and Phoebe continue to pick and pack basket orders for us around their university studies.
Leah is first point of contact for all new wholesale enquiries, and has a great eye for picking unique baskets out
Holly has returned from maternity leave and is finding a new rhythm in her new, dual role as mother and director / marketing manager of the business. See - supporting people to work flexibly happens here in the UK as well as in Africa, and it’s your support that enables all of this positive change.
L-R Katie, Anna and Holly grab a photo opp during a walking meeting
The pinch-me moments just keep on coming, and it’s all thanks to you: our supportive and super-stylish customers and our most loyal and discerning retailers.
It’s thanks to your purchases, your kind words and your spreading of the basket love that we can keep placing consistent – and ever growing - orders with the weaving groups we partner with in Africa. Together we're keeping precious and powerful legacies alive.
NDOTO striped basket from £16. Photo credit: @flawsomehome
A final, heartfelt thank you goes to the incredible women (and men) behind the baskets. Without your ingenuity and hard work, The Basket Room would simply not exist. Thank you. Asante asana.