An Interview with The Basket Company Co-Founders
To celebrate The Basket Company’s 10th birthday, we interviewed the co-owners and co-founders, Ian and Catherine, so you can get to know a little bit more about them. Here’s what they had to say!
How did you both start The Basket Company?
Ian: “Back in 2011, we were both working full time and we had wanted to have our own business for some time. 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 and eBay sales. The word got out about what we were up to and close friends and family members offered us saleable items that they didn’t use anymore (as long as we went and collected them of course).”
Catherine: “This proved to be very successful. We were donated all sorts of things such as clothes, football boots, a dishwasher and even a side board! We continued car booting and selling on eBay, and built up an initial fund of £1,500 to start our own business from our home to keep our overheads to a minimum. We initially started selling on eBay and then in July 2013 The Basket Company website was launched.”
You can view the full story of The Basket Company’s journey here.
Why did you choose to sell baskets?
Ian: “We’ve always been interested in home interiors and started by selling various homewares such as cushions, door curtains and wicker baskets. We noted that the wicker baskets were selling well so we decided to sell more types of baskets.”
Catherine: “We just love homewares and interior decor. Baskets are timeless and elegant and add warmth and texture to any home”.
What have been the biggest challenges of owning your own business?
Ian: “The pandemic was the biggest challenge we’ve faced so far. It was a very stressful time for everyone. We went from thinking we would have to close the business to being overwhelmed with orders, followed by lack of stock issues. Especially when one of our containers got stuck in the Suez Canal on the Ever Given container ship!”
Catherine: “We’re so grateful for still being here when sadly so many businesses were not able to survive the pandemic. We’re so thankful to our lovely customers, staff and suppliers for making The Basket Company what it is today. The feedback we receive about our products and customer service is incredible. We care about our customers and staff and listen to what they have to say about our products and service, and change what we do based on feedback.”
What are your favourite products at The Basket Company?
Both: “Anything rattan!”
Catherine: “Our Grey and Buff Rattan range fits perfectly in any home. It’s timeless and rustic. Each and every basket has its own individual character plus it’s strong and robust!”
Ian: “We go to great lengths to source good quality products that we can sell at an affordable price. We listen to what our customers say on our Trustpilot reviews, via emails and over the phone and if it is clear that our customers are not happy with a particular product, we stop selling it and discontinue.”
What do you both enjoy doing outside of work?
Catherine: “I love gardening, walking and being outdoors generally and have recently completed walking the South West Coast Path with our collie dog Alfie. We’re lucky to be situated so close to the Jurassic Coast and also the New Forest National Park.”
Ian: I love to do some painting, cycling, occasional fishing and getting out on my motorbike. Myself and a group of friends love travelling round on our motorbikes, especially to Spain and France.
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!”
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! Everyone works hard but we have fun and a laugh too. We aim for at least one belly aching laugh a day.”
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!”
What’s the best advice someone has ever given you?
Both: “Don’t go into business with your partner!”
Catherine: “Actually, we do work really well together and have the same views on things the majority of the time so it’s usually quite harmonious.”
How did you celebrate The Basket Company’s 10th birthday?
Ian: “We recently celebrated The Basket Company’s 10th birthday at the Harbour Heights Hotel which overlooks Poole Harbour, with delicious food, fizz and fun.”
Catherine: “We also celebrated at work with tea and cake and we’ve made a very special donation to the “Many Tears Animal Rescue” a wonderful dog rescue centre where we found our lovely collie, Alfie.
Would you like to see pictures of our 10th birthday celebration? You can view the celebrations here.
For our full collection of baskets, click here.
Are you ready to meet the co-founders? You can check out this full interview on our YouTube channel here.