Introducing The Basket Company
Directors Ian and Catherine Newey sat down with their friendly dog Murphy to tell the inspirational story of how they began their successful business from their conservatory/lounge, to what’s known today as The Basket Company. Make yourself a hot drink, sink back into your sofa and get ready to read this incredible story.
How did The Basket Company begin?
Ian: “We were both working full time and we always strived to have our own business so in order to achieve that, we did a little experiment”
Ian: “We started by raiding our home of all the things that we never used but others could still find useful and we began by setting up a variety of car boot sales and eBay sales. The word got out about what we were up to and a few close friends and family members offered us saleable items that they didn’t use anymore (as long as we went and collected them)”
Catherine: “This was very successful so we then sent another email round to more friends and family and the response was fantastic! We continued car booting and selling on eBay, with the goal of building up an initial fund to start our business”
Ian and Catherine’s expectations did not disappoint! From their sales, they ended up accruing £1,000 and then the rumble of hunger to start their business began.
“Who needs a living room anyway?!”
Catherine: “We love homewares and interior decor. We like filling our home with timeless and elegant pieces, anything to make our home feel cosy and welcoming. We spent a lot of time researching and eventually started up our very own shop on eBay. We were both working full time, so naturally all our free time including evenings and weekends was spent on our business”
During this time Catherine was a full-time business analyst and previously Ian was a software developer before starting a career in refurbishing properties. With the dip in the property market it was time to try something new, so they decided to put their new business idea into action. In 2012 the eBay shop was launched and in 2013 “The Basket Company” website was born.
A wicker labyrinth!
Ian: “As the business began to grow, it became a challenge to work full time and look after the business, so I began to dedicate more of my time to The Basket Company”
Catherine: “We sold a wide range of wicker baskets including laundry baskets, log baskets, storage baskets, hamper baskets, picnic baskets… the list was endless! Our customers just wanted more and more which was just fantastic!”
Ian: “When a labyrinth of wicker began to form in our house, we decided we needed more help and so we hired Lisa to help us package up the products at our home. At this time, our home was the only storage space we had”
“The products were so popular that we employed another member of staff and with Catherine now being able to join the business on a full-time basis, there was now 4 of us working in the business in our home. During this time we simply had too much product to store at home and decided to keep it in offsite storage units, but that didn’t last for long…”
To the warehouse!
The company went from strength to strength and they soon grew out of the 4 business units they had and needed to re-evaluate their plan once again, so in 2015 they moved their business to their current warehouse and office unit on Endeavour Business Park in Ringwood.
Ian: “Shortly after the move we needed to push the business forward with all the exciting projects and ideas that we had and so we completed our big move with further hiring of staff, to increase our team to handle all our customer enquiries, sales and accounting”
Catherine: “It was always the plan that we would end up full time in the business and we feel very fortunate and grateful that we were able to do so. We listened to our customers and it’s amazing how it’s just grown!”
Tell us about you two, how did you both meet?
Ian: “I met Catherine through my step sister and she set us up on a date! We went travelling for a year between 1997 – 1998, which was just incredible. We started off by spending 3 amazing weeks in French Polynesia including Tahiti and Bora Bora and completed the rest of our year in Australia and New Zealand. We lived and worked in Canberra for 6 months, then bought a little white hatchback which we used to explore the country whilst living in our tent”
Catherine: “Our travels around Australia were especially memorable for me as whilst we were there Ian proposed to me on Ellis Beach near Cairns. It was very romantic however later I found out that it wasn’t the original place he’d planned to do it! He desperately wanted to propose to me at the top of Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) but because of his fear of heights, he couldn’t get to the top, despite trying a number of times!”
Who are your inspirations?
Ian: “In general, we are inspired by great entrepreneurs that have built their business from nothing and even more so, people who have lost everything and rebuilt it back up again.”
Catherine: “For example, Peter Jones and the other entrepreneurs from Dragons Den. We’ve read their biographies and we were inspired by their focus, drive and tenacious spirit.”
Ian: “My ultimate hero however is Valentino Rossi! I’m a huge Moto GP fan!”
What are your favourite products at The Basket Company?
Both: “Anything Rattan!”
Catherine “The rattan range fits perfectly anywhere in your home. It’s timeless and rustic. Each and every basket has its own individual character plus it’s strong and robust!”
Being so close to the New Forest National Park, where are your favourite places to go?
Catherine: “We both love walking with Murphy in the Wilverley inclosure and we like popping into ‘The Old Station Tea Rooms’ in Holmsley for a yummy cream tea”
What are your dreams for the Basket Company?
Catherine: “Our ethos is great customer service, which is second to none, and providing excellent quality products whilst creating a fun environment to work in! “
Ian: “The secret ingredient to our successful business is not only to provide a great product, but to listen to our customers and of course to our employees. We believe that with this, our company will continue to grow, it’s worked for us so far!”
It was great to meet you! Leave a comment if you have any questions.