On International Women’s Day, Informare are delighted to announce new client Artisanne, a designer and manufacturer of handwoven baskets that works directly with Senegalese women weavers to ensure they earn a fair and secure income for their craft. Working with the Senegalese women weavers, without middlemen, guarantees that no one else is taking a cut and allows them to have their voice heard at Artisanne.

The two sisters behind Artisanne, Elizabeth and Emma, were inspired by a visit to local markets in the Senegalese capital Dakar. Discovering the beautiful woven artisanal products, Elizabeth and Emma bought baskets for themselves, as well as for gifts for friends and family. The popularity of the gifted baskets encouraged the sisters to think of a way to help bring the work of the talented Senegalese women to the UK.

Elizabeth started her career as a Modern Languages teacher. After two years she moved into advertising, an area she continued to work in for 13 years. Subsequently Elizabeth started a small brand consultancy with a colleague before founding Artisanne.

Alongside supporting Elizabeth with Artisanne, Emma is a child protection specialist and currently works as a consultant on a wide range of child protection initiatives, including research, evaluation and policy development processes. Emma has lived and worked in Africa for the last 13 years, of which 6 were in Senegal where the sisters discovered the beautiful hand made baskets. Emma has worked for several organisations including War Child, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and Child Frontiers.

The uniqueness of the woven products comes down to the region in which they are made, Thiès, on the West coast of Senegal. The weaving techniques in Thiès have been handed down through generations. Artisanne strive to help the weavers improve their family’s everyday needs through fair and steady incomes. This includes the women being able to support elderly members of their family who can no longer work and providing additional medical care when needed.

Each Artisanne piece is created with meticulous attention to detail respecting the traditional Senegalese Wolof weaving style whilst incorporating contemporary designs and colours. The baskets are weaved from ndiorokh, a local grass, and long strips of plastic that are traditionally used for making bazin mats (similar to prayer mats). Their unique hand-crafted nature means that no two baskets are exactly the same.

We couldn’t be more proud to be working with such inspiring women.