Postcards from Kenya: dancing and weaving with our women’s basket co-operative

Decorator's Notebook baskets - Kenya 2

We know many of you have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of our new collection of hand-woven sisal baskets from our women’s co-operative partner in Kenya. Well, not only have the baskets arrived in the Decorator’s Notebook shop, we can also share with you some fabulous new photos from behind the scenes, showing how your support is helping the co-operative flourish and grow.

Kenyan baskets from Decorator's Notebook

The great news is that you can now choose exactly the basket design you like best from a choice of five colourful patterns. Also, there are now five sizes in each pattern as well, ranging from extra small baskets (£14) to extra large baskets (£57). Decisions, decisions!

Decorator's Notebook baskets - Kenya 1


There are so many ways you can use these colourful baskets. The little ones work nicely as pencil holders or plant pots, while the larger ones are practical for organising toys, towels or loo rolls.

Decorator's Notebook baskets - Kenya 12

The passion and joy that goes into making the baskets shines out of every one. The community aspect of this co-operative is so important as it brings together women across the generations, from young mums who want to earn an extra income to village elders who can no longer work in the fields. While basket weaving is the purpose of their meetings, gossip, dancing and singing are the things that bring the ladies together.


The sisal fibre is gathered locally and spun and dyed by hand. The new collection of Kenyan baskets at Decorator’s Notebook has five designs, including vibrant yellows, pinks, turquoise and green. You can buy all designs and sizes separately to mix and match a selection that you love.

Decorator's Notebook baskets - Kenya 9

All this enterprise is too much for the younger members of the community! The brilliant thing about supporting women through fair trade is that the impact ripples strongly down to the next generation. Women will spend up to 90% of their wages on health, nutrition and education. Female breadwinners gain social status and self-esteem which raise the expectations and aspirations of girls.


Decorator's Notebook baskets - Kenya 6

The weavers behind Decorator’s Notebook’s fair trade baskets come from Kenya’s Eastern Region. These artisans live south west of Nairobi in an arid area, amongst the hills and pineapple fields. Led by their inspirational chair lady Dorcas Ndinda, the weavers meet weekly to dispatch and receive basket orders, and to weave together. Their brick workshop is no bigger than a garden shed, but a hive of industry on weaving days.


Single mother and greengrocer Dorcas formed the weaving cooperative when she began to struggle to feed her family with the crops she was planting and her earnings from selling what was left over. She knew that several women in the village made baskets and enterprising Dorcas approached these craftswomen and asked them to teach her their techniques. Soon, a thriving weaving cooperative was born.

Decorator's Notebook baskets - Kenya 10

Government support soon followed and Dorcas was trained in business practices such as group leadership, health and hygiene, and agricultural methods. As the co-operative has grown the ladies have trained in quality control and marketing and the group continues to thrive as basket orders roll in.


Decorator's Notebook baskets - Kenya 8

The weaving co-operative members all have an equal say in how the profits from their enterprise are re-invested for the benefit of the community. To date, these weavers have purchased a piece of land for developing into a village centre. Weavers are also able to take out interest-free loans using proceeds from basket sales after wages have been paid, helping families meet unforeseen medical bills and school fees.

pink_yellow_stripes_fair_trade_african_storage_basket_-_Decorator_s_Notebook_2048x@2x (1)

Each Kenyan basket you buy from Decorator’s Notebook comes with a photo label introducing you to the co-operative. For an extra special gift, fill a basket with goodies, from baby essentials for a new mum or art materials for a craft lover.

Decorator's Notebook baskets - Kenya 5

Find the new collection of hand-made Kenyan baskets in the Decorator’s Notebook shop now, with free UK delivery when you spend £60. We ship to Europe and the USA too, so if you’d like to support the ladies who belong to this inspirational project, you can! Click here to visit the Decorator’s Notebook Shop.

If you enjoyed this post please hit a button to share with a friend
Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on RedditBuffer this pageEmail this to someone
The Good Life Experience 2017 - by Decorator's Notebook 1

The Good Life Experience 2017

I usually think of festivals as a high summer activity, either lolling around on golden evenings drinking cold beer and slathering on the sun cream, or wading through mud and sweating inside a waterproof jacket when it’s far too warm to wear one. But when the regular festival season is over and the nights draw in,… 

Read More »

glass display pyramids - Decorator's Notebook

Creative Styling Ideas for Collections

These pretty display pieces from Decorator’s Notebook are designed for the collectors amongst us. These brass and glass candle holders, pyramids and frames can be easily filled with all sorts of treasures, from shells and pebbles to feathers and ephemera. Hoarding never looked so good! Above: Brass Box Candle Holder, £25.95, Above: Brass and… 

Read More »

Seaside cottage

House Tour: A Seaside Hideaway with Global Touches

Coastal style is not necessarily one you might immediately think of as being compatible with a global aesthetic, which is why this seaside bolt-hole in the Netherlands intrigued me. Holiday homes so often lack personality and character, so it’s lovely to see some unique, quirky touches, from suzani textiles and vintage floral fabrics to antique… 

Read More »


Gin & Tonic hacks… 5 new twists!

UK readers might feel they need a stiff drink tonight, so I thought this post might be timely! Regardless of the election result, summer is here and it’s nice to expand your drinks repertoire with an update on your favourite tipple. Mine is the classic G&T, so I’ve rounded up a few new ways to… 

Read More »

Plants on Pink

Plants on Pink

A post shared by LOTTE VAN BAALEN (@plantsonpink) on Feb 23, 2017 at 11:58am PST Just a quick stop by to share with you my favourite Instagram account of the moment. Plants on Pink is the brainchild of Lotte van Baalen and is simply a celebration of the kitsch beauty of a green plant against… 

Read More »

Moroccan home black and white kitchen

Trend Watch: Global Monochrome

If you’re not big into colour, you might think global decor isn’t for you. If this sounds like you, it’s time to think again. Adding pieces from around the world – whether gathered on your travels or sourced from an ethical homeware boutique – is one of the easiest ways to make your home stand out… 

Read More »

Brass vases Decorator's Notebook shop

5 Tips For Keeping Cut Blossom Branches Fresh

There’s nothing like the sight of blossom on the trees to convince me that spring has finally sprung. After months of seeing bare branches, the froths of pink and white truly lift my heart and mood. When the buds opened this year I excitedly rushed outside with my secateurs aloft to snip off a couple… 

Read More »

Victorian global style

House Tour: how to make global finds work in a Victorian home

Everyone has a style of architecture that sits well with their heart. For some, it’s cosy cottages with low beams and inglenook fires. For others, ultra-contemporary spaces with dramatic angles and glass. I have one friend who cannot feel truly ‘at home’ unless there’s a view of the sea. For me, Victorian buildings are my… 

Read More »