Tuesday, 20 February 2018


I've been looking for the perfect laundry basket for our bedroom for ages. You see, I was never a fan of our old laundry basket, it was way too small for us and I didn't really like the look of it, although it did the job. Now that I've been slowly transforming our bedroom into a relaxing sanctuary, I felt that I really needed a new laundry basket to go with all the new accessories. Luckily I came across Artisanne recently and I immediately fell in love with their beautiful hand made baskets. 

Artisanne kindly sent me one of their stunning Alibaba baskets to review few weeks ago. Since we are a family of 4, I went for the extra large basket which is only available online. I was a little worried it would be too big, but it was absolutely perfect. In fact, I don't think a smaller size would have been big enough for us! The extra large basket is a bit taller than the large basket (the large basket is also wider). I thought the neutral colour would be timeless and elegant, although the chevron pattern was very tempting too. One of the reasons why I love Artisanne products is that they are hand made by Senegalese women in Thies, where these traditional weaving techniques have been handed down to the next generation and they still use the baskets for general storage. It takes them just over a week to make one extra large Alibaba basket which just goes to show the huge effort that goes into making these beautiful baskets. I love that there is a story behind them and that someone has put so much effort and artistic touch to them. Also, since all the baskets are hand crafted, no two baskets are exactly the same.

Isn't this basket just heavenly? I still keep admiring it everyday. I've had this basket now for 3 weeks and I'm totally in love with it. First of all, it looks so beautiful. I love the texture and the quality feels absolutely amazing. I also love the beautiful leather handles that give it a nice luxe finish. Our laundry basket is usually almost full and it's pretty heavy to lift, but the leather handles are so strong that you can easily carry it into another room. It's very well made and the leather handles not only look pretty, but are super practical too. This basket is so versatile. It would look beautiful in the hall, landing, lounge or in the kids room. It's ideal for storing larger items like laundry, kids toys or blankets. I love it so much that I'm thinking about getting few smaller baskets for our lounge to store some kids toys. I also love that it comes with a lid, so you can hide all the clutter. The extra large basket is definitely ideal for laundry though. My basket arrived in a beautiful linen bag which you could also use inside the basket to protect your clothes.

The Founder of Artisanne, Elizabeth de Vise, was kind enough to answer some questions about how Artisanne was born and why she thinks these baskets are so popular.

Could you tell us a little bit how Artisanne was born?

Artisanne was set up in 2014 by two sisters, Elizabeth, based in London, and Emma, who lived in Senegal for six years, after they fell in love with traditional Senegalese baskets.

'I began by bringing baskets home as presents every time I visited Emma. People loved them so we were inspired to find ways to bring the work of these talented weavers to European homes'. Elizabeth de Vise

Was it difficult to start a business in Senegal? What struggles did you face?

Starting the business really took us out of our ‘comfort zone’. The fact that Emma was living in Senegal was obviously a huge help and she travelled to the villages on a regular basis. Logistics are always a challenge and the fact the baskets are so big! I never thought I would be an expert in containers and bolt cutters!

Who comes up with the designs? Do the weavers have any input?

Artisanne blends traditional Senegalese weaving techniques with modern designs to create household storage that is stylish and practical. Emma and I design the baskets and ask the weavers to make samples. We quite often go through many samples until we feel have the perfect basket! The weavers
input with ideas and suggestions. For example, when we wanted to introduce the leather handles they had suggestions on how to go about it. We only design pieces that we would love to have in our own homes.

The quality of the baskets is amazing! Where do you source the materials from? And, how do you ensure the quality is always top notch?

Thank you. Each piece is created with meticulous attention to detail respecting the traditional Senegalese Wolof weaving style. It is a weaving skill passed from mother to daughter and the larger baskets take several days to create. They are made using sustainable ndiorokh grasses and long strips of plastic traditionally used for making bazin mats similar to prayer mats. Our close relationship with the artisans allows us to guarantee the exceptional high quality that Artisanne is renowned for. At the outset of the project Emma spent hours talking in the shade of a Nime tree, establishing strong relationships with the weavers and gaining an understanding of the intricacies of their craft.  It also provided the women with the opportunity to understand our need for consistency with regards to outstanding quality and sizes. All the baskets are diligently checked before they leave Senegal and again, when they arrive in the UK. We are always striving to perfect our designs, and take care to listen to our customers’ feedback; all our Alibaba baskets, for example, now come with beautiful leather handles that are braided by hand.

Why is it so important to work directly with the weavers without any middlemen?

At Artisanne we go directly to the weavers – there are no middlemen - and we now work with over 75 women having started with 3. Working directly with the women, without middlemen, ensures no one else is taking a cut and that we know exactly who is working for us.The lack of middlemen helps
ensure the women earn a regular, fair and secure income for their products enabling the women to improve their family’s everyday needs, such as supporting elderly members of the family who can no longer work, and providing additional medical care when needed.

Elizabeth and Emma visit the villages several times a year and have a strong relationship with the weavers. Communicating directly with the artisans during these visits enables everyone to discuss concerns and challenges, which is a much-valued priority by all involved and helps ensure our quality is maintained.

I noticed that your range is ever expanding. Are you planning to launch new products or ranges in the near future (outside home wares perhaps?)?

We are always looking at different opportunities and areas to expand into. Watch this space!

Why do you think the large and medium size storage baskets have proven so popular? (they seem to be out of stock again, but luckily you can pre-order!)

The feedback we get from customers is that they love the fact that baskets are both beautiful, and so can be a feature in a room, yet they are also practical. People also comment on the very high quality of the baskets and appreciate the fact the basket are hand-made with great care and that they are not mass-produced.

I received this feedback from a customer yesterday and I think it sums up why the baskets are so popular:

“My Alibaba Laundry Basket has just arrived.  It's beautiful!  -  and looks lovely in my bedroom which is also green and cream.  I am so pleased with it. Whoever made it is really skillful and has done an amazing job.”

Thank you so much Elizabeth for taking the time to answer these questions. I'm definitely a massive fan of Artisanne and sincerely recommend these baskets to anyone who is looking for stylish storage solutions for their home. I have to warn you though. Once you get one, you'll soon want to add another member to your Artisanne family.. I'm definitely hooked.

PS. You can get 10% off your first order when you sign up for their newsletter.

For more information, visit www.artisanne.co.uk

* This is a collaborative post with Artisanne.


No comments

Post a Comment

© FINNTERIOR DESIGNER | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig