Last month we had the pleasure of spending the morning with Tabara N’Diaye, Founder of La Basketry. We caught up at Tabara’s beautiful home in South East London, where we got to see some baskets in the making and the beginnings of exciting projects to come. We hope you enjoy getting to know Tabara and her creative business as much as we did!
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your business La Basketry?
I’m the founder and creative director of La Basketry, a lifestyle brand that began its life offering handwoven homeware and accessories made in collaboration with female artisans in my native Senegal 4 years ago. Most recently, we’ve expanded our range to include DIY Kits to make your own baskets, which have become extremely popular - especially during the various lockdown periods we have had.
Where does your passion for weaving and craft come from?
It is all linked back to Senegal where my family is originally from…
My family is from Thies, an hour drive from Dakar, the capital and a town known for its craftsmanship – from wood carving to the local tapestry factory, but most importantly the baskets! At local markets or lining up the busy roads, their eclectic spreads used to fascinate me. Some tall, some small, vibrant colours running through their patterns and always so beautifully woven with local grasses. But most importantly, Senegalese basket weaving is a craft passed down from generation to generation between women in small villages outside of the city, and this has always resonated with me. A leap of faith, a lot of hard work, and meeting the right people at the right time encouraged me to launch La Basketry and to develop my own creativity and skills.
What creative process do you go through when putting together new collections?
That’s a really interesting question. I’m not a trained designer but I have been relying on my instinct (and good eye) for the past few years when launching new collections and products. Colour is a huge part of La Basketry and I’m constantly playing around with different materials, colours, and my Pantone cards. I design products for women, for their homes, and not-so-selfishly for myself. What do I need around my house? In the bedroom, bathroom, or when I’m hosting friends?
Can you tell us about your book ‘Baskets’?
I like to describe Baskets as a stylish guide to basket-making! It’s a beautiful coffee table book filled with projects to make your own baskets using different materials and décor tips, like how to make a great shelfie or how to create a basket wall. The book is modern, colourful, playful, and honestly beautiful. I am so proud of the journey it's been on, from my London apartment where I started writing it, to now being available in 6 languages. It’s so amazing!
Are you working on any new designs or projects at the moment?
Yes, we are launching a range of picnic baskets (mid-June) which I am very excited about, as we are all looking forward to spending more time outside and creating new memories with friends and loved ones. Even though we may not all be able to go away on holiday this summer.
I am also working on a new range called ‘The Modern Day Gift Baskets’ launching this Autumn. I’ve grown tired of seeing flamboyant gift baskets drenched in cellophane and a big red bow, so thought it was time the gift basket had a refresh.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I try to split my day into 2 and have my mornings more ‘adminy’ and my afternoons more creative. Mornings are usually the times when I catch up with the freelancers I work with, so are usually a mix of phone calls, voice notes, emails, and getting orders ready to be dispatched. I like to keep my afternoons a bit more creative, which involves developing and designing new ideas or products, working on written and visual content, putting proposals together, or running digital workshops for corporate clients. There’s been a lot of Zoom workshops over the past year.
How do you make your clothes work for you and your busy lifestyle?
I’m very much a dress girl all year round, although I have been wearing a lot more lounge wear over the past year (haven’t we all?). I’m forever attracted to colours, and love injecting colour into my wardrobe and anything I do at La Basketry. My wardrobe needs to be practical though, as I can go from a meeting to hauling bags of parcels to the post office, so trainers have been a staple since I have started La Basketry.
What Wrap London styles are you looking forward to wearing this summer?
The Printed Dress With Shirring Details with a pair of sandals on a date night, or the Linen Jumpsuit while hosting my first in-real-life workshops of the year.
If I wasn’t running La Basketry… I’d still be working as an event manager - a job I loved doing for 10+ years.
The best thing about my job… is doing what I love every day.
My day isn’t complete until… I’ve spoken to my mum.
Words to live by… Every year I pick a word for my year, a word to live by and I strongly encourage everybody to do so. My word for 2021 is fun.
My dream holiday destination… Mexico.
Go-to London hangout… I love Coal Drop Yard in King’s Cross. I love the mix of retailers and restaurants there, including El Pastor, which is a fantastic Mexican restaurant and bar.
| Full length
wide-leg jeans >
|Tiered printed dress >||Broderie blouse >|