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COUNTRY: UNITED KINGDOM
At the core of THE BASKET ROOM are the artisans that weave the baskets, the aim is to work as closely as possible with the communities to ensure the business meets fair trade principles. They are currently working with small, local groups in Africa and aim to establish long-lasting relationships with them. The orders support their livelihoods and provide a steady income in what otherwise is a harsh working environment. The Basket Room pay a fair and asking price for their baskets and are planning to invest profits back into the weaving communities to improve living and working conditions.
TRACEABILITY & SUPPLY CHAIN
It is very important for The Basket Room team to know where the baskets are made, and by whom, and to be able to pass this information onto the customers. This is why they are working towards a supply chain that will be fully traceable back to the community and weaver of each basket. At present, there are able to supply the name and photograph of the weaver who made the sisal baskets and the name of the weaver who made the bike baskets. This will be integrated into each supply chain as they continue to develop and grow.
PROTECTING CRAFT SKILLS
THE BASKET ROOM is built upon a love for the craft, textiles and art, and a desire to protect these industries in a very modernising world. Basket weaving has been practised since the beginning of mankind, as soon as humans figured out that reeds could be intertwined, they began to experiment with them. It is an age-old tradition that is typically passed down through generations, from Grandmother to Granddaughter, an art that is learned and developed over one’s life. Different areas of Africa have varying native plants, so the design & technique in a basket will take on the identity of the country it was made, making baskets an integral part of history and culture in Africa.
Baskets generally tend to be made from natural materials: from sisal plants to grasses & plant leaves, meaning they are a very sustainable product. The small communities who weave the baskets will often have their own small plantations, and will grow, farm and harvest their crops before preparing for weaving. Some, like the Ghanaian baskets, is made from a grass that is not cultivated but grows wild in the Sahel Savanna. Dyes, where possible are natural, made with colours extracted from vegetables or from the barks of trees. The Basket Room team also sought to use recycled materials in the baskets, such as wool from old jumpers.
Packaging can be a real source of waste, so The Basket Room endeavour to use as little as possible in the transportation of the baskets from Africa to the UK and from their office to your door. Where possible they will use recycled products, such as cardboard boxes, paper bags, and printer ink. The Basket Room team is always looking for new ways to make their business greener and hope to bring more recycled elements to the process.