Camilla: Holly and I met in our final year of the Fashion Studies course. We knew each other, but it wasn’t until after graduating that we saw on Facebook that we had mutual interests in ethical fashion. Holly was working at a charity in Oxford, and I recommended these Kenyan baskets to the shop that she was working for. She started to sell them and they were really successful.
Then, by complete coincidence, I moved to Kenya and was looking for something to do. I’d been working in the fashion industry, mainly in production work, and Holly had been managing shops at this charity in Oxford.
I decided I really wanted to try and sell these baskets myself, and Holly had a similar idea. We spoke about it and thought it made sense to work together instead of being competitors. We started by selling these unique baskets, and eventually had more and more demand from shops asking if they could buy wholesale and certain designs.
So we started to find our own groups who we could train out in Kenya. We were put in touch with a guy who introduced us to some groups that really needed the work. Once we got to know one or two groups, it worked more like word of mouth. Someone’s Grandma or Aunt will weave, and it goes from there.
Holly: The course enabled me to follow and grow a passion in Fairtrade and ethical fashion and design. I started using more sustainable fabrics like cotton and bamboo etc. and became aware of the environment and the people making the products.
My dissertation was on globalisation in Africa and the textile industry. It really fed a lot into setting up this business, more than I may have realised.”
You can find out more about The Basket Room here.