Inspired by her 14-month-old in lockdown, Jana Leonard launched Baskiti, a range of hanging storage baskets for your veggies and more, in an attempt to keep their veggies away from her toddler's exploring little hands.
Jana Leonard, founder of Baskiti
This September, Jana Leonard shares more about the hanging storage baskets...
When and how was the brand born?
It was during the 21 day Lockdown in South Africa that my (then) 14-month-old son felt he needed to embrace and fully express his ‘love for sports’ by using our potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions as balls!
Originally it was actually very funny and we laughed it off. However after a few days and many squishy potatoes, we knew there had to be a solution. Baskiti was born.
Baskiti is a gorgeous range of handwoven hanging baskets delivering a solution to a problem no-one, including me, even knew existed. From there, it grew authentically into a larger brand with Baskiti accessories and another division, Baskiti Wall Hooks.
Now, our customers include women, men and kids. The uses for our Baskiti hanging baskets are endless - from bath toys to hair straighteners to braai tongs! We love seeing our Baskitis in everyone's’ homes, we do a happy dance every single time.
How did you come up with the name?
Baskiti roughly translates to Basket in Shona, the native tongue of our angel-nanny, Jacqueline. During lockdown, she wasn’t with us for three months and let me tell you, it was so difficult running a business, being a present mom and keeping clients happy without any help. I realised how much we needed and missed her and I decided to launch the company in her honour by calling it Baskiti.
What’s your vision for the brand?
I wanted to create a product that got the job done, while adding a décor element to your home. With lockdown and being in your home 24/7, excess in our homes were highlighted, so I wanted our Baskiti baskets to really make more space available while adding aesthetics value to an open wall for example.
The brand almost followed suit. I wanted something that speaks to “Trendy but sophisticated”, “Honest and easy-going”, “Luxury but accessible”. I didn’t want it to be an unapproachable brand. Our brand was designed by Nelia Kennedy in one single go.
Tell us about your product offering.
Baskiti is a range of handwoven hanging storage baskets, designed with a handle, a flat back and a big belly to house all your veggies or whatever you choose to use it for. We have seen so many interesting and creative ways in which our customers use it and we are obsessed!
In addition, almost immediately, we launched the Baskiti Wall Hooks division within the Baskiti brand which is responsible for all our Wall Hooks. We have not sold one basket without one of our J-Hooks - customers have an option of raw/varnished. They are gorgeous, trendy, minimalistic and super strong. People are honestly in love with them.
Under the Wall Hooks division, we also have our Coat Hooks, where you have the option to either add a ledge, or a ledge with mask hooks for your fabric masks. Our basket accessories also include the Baskiti Liner which goes into your basket for things like lego or onions as the holes have been made big for breathability for the veggies so things will fall through if they are small enough.
We also have the Baskiti Veggie Tote for your Farmers Market shop, it’s big enough that you only need ONE and not 50!
Are the products locally manufactured/produced in South Africa? What has your experience been like?
Our liners, J-Hooks, Wall Hooks and Totes are all locally produced. Our Wall Hooks were actually initially made in our garage! The Baskiti baskets are handwoven in Malawi, however we are working with our supplier to get our weavers to Cape Town so we can weave directly from here.
Our supplier, however, is based in Cape Town and he has done some Baskitis for us as well. It has been an absolute breeze working with our team of suppliers - my father-in-law and husband does our Wall Hooks and Aitsa! does all our fabric work.
Working with our Baskiti supplier has been challenging at times, because the demand for our Baskitis has been so high and the weaving process takes long, we are still figuring out how to manage stock as Baskiti is 100% self-funded.
Do you have any new products lined up?
We do, we are working with our weaving supplier and Atrium Plants on hanging baskets specifically designed for your indoor plants!
How long have your products been in the market?
We opened for pre-orders in April of this year and went online with www.lmda.co.za in July. We sold out within a week! It’s been a whirlwind ever since!
What are some of the challenges of getting your products out there?
I am extremely grateful that I have the skills, tools and contacts to have launched the Baskiti brand and products quite seamlessly. I specialise in PR so did all our copy, the narrative, pitching and securing of media coverage. My biggest challenge has been time!
My friend, Nelia Kennedy did all our branding and logo design. www.lmda.co.za is an e-commerce platform focussing on local premium brands and has been a HUGE part of my business since launch day. They manage all our logistics and deliveries.
The biggest challenge has been getting enough stock, but as my friend Chrizanda says, you cannot sell from an empty wagon!
How can consumers get their hands on your products?
Customers can buy directly from us at az.oc.itiksab@sredro however we only offer collection in Durbanville, Cape Town. All other others go through our e-commerce partner, LMDA.
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