March 2019 was #marchmeetthemaker Month. Much as we don’t make our baskets ourselves, some are made exclusively for us. So we decided to follow #meetthemaker as much as we could. Here are all our entries together in one place. Makes some interesting reading!
Day 1 – How did your business come to be?
Back in 2004, we bought this shop in Skipton.
A shop selling majority gifts but also a few baskets, 12 months later and the internet was starting so with a little help we created our first website.
In 2008, we ventured into the world of eBay but soon realised the online businesses subsidised the shop and eventually we made the decision to close.
Initially the baskets were stored in a lockable storage unit and we packed them at home on our dining room floor. That led to us renting a unit closer to home, and slowly over flowing into the next door unit. While also tackling Amazon, we decided to bring in our first member of staff- Peter!
Fast forward 3 years and another member of staff- Neil, we found the unit we are currently in- a little to big but it works for us- so we have created a showroom for people to see the baskets firsthand. That is also when I joined the business on a part time basis doing the social media.
We rent two offices out to another business, we have an office for ourselves and a spare one for the occasional workshop.
Choice Baskets are sourced from all over the world, and are beautifully made from the best quality wicker, rattan, and seagrass materials. We are careful to deal only with fair traders, and we are proud to display the “Ethically Sourced” logo to demonstrate our commitment to this policy.
We have now been trading online for 13 years, with its ups and downs we are loving the world of basketware and the challenges we face!
Long live Choice Baskets!!
#ourstory #choicebaskets #proud #familybusiness #onlinebusiness#businessjourney
Day 7- the less Glam side!
Literally taken as we finished today, here is where we spend our time, trying to keep warm!
If we’re running about the warehouse its not so bad!
But a hoodie, some jeans and comfy boots is all it takes to get us working in the morning!
Chuck in a coffee and we can be so much more successful!!
#marchmeetthemaker #business #smallbusiness #familybusiness#warehouse #keepingwarm #basketheaven #onlinebusiness
Day 8- Product Range
Although we are a small business we pack a lot in.
Here is a snapshot of the types of baskets you can find on our website or in the showroom. They vary from little children’s baskets to large log baskets and all sizes in between.
We also stock a few storage units but predominantly just basket-ware!
Whatever you are looking for I am 100% sure we have a basket for the job!
Day 10- Me!
Today is all about the big boss, Corinne!
Back in the day Corinne- originally from Oxford, worked as an Assistant Manager in a restaurant, a Finance Assistant for a couple of companies and as a Head Receptionist, while juggling a newsagent and being a mum to me!
The various roles played means that customer services is top of the list, while understanding the money side of the business and with a growing love for baskets, this is how Choice Baskets is still going strong!
When not selling to you lovely people, Corinne is a keen crafter hence the workshops we hosted last year!
#marchmeetthemaker #mybusiness #baskets #skipton #northyorkshire
Day 11 – How do we reduce waste?
Well, we actually work with alot of local businesses and reuse their cardboard boxes.
Little and large, we also use various packaging that our baskets arrive in, and the packaging that hot tubs are protected with!
Unfortunately we dont have a hot tub!
But we can use any spare packaging anyone has- local businesses working together!
#reuse #recycle #packaging #reducewaste
One of the less glamorous sides of the job, here’s the boss getting stuck into a big delivery!
We get deliveries every couple of weeks but usually they arrive on days when I’m not here, however when deliveries do arrive when I’m here its like Christmas!
These are some of our Buff Storage Range.
Once they are unpacked and checked, they are stacked in the warehouse ready for our customers to order them!
Just the weekly happenings of #cbhq!
Day 16 – Workspace
Here is a tidy desk for a change!
Diary, notebook, plenty of pens and the phone!
Corinne will either be stuck into the computer or downstairs in the warehouse picking and packing products.
Not a very exciting insight but now you know what the desk is like (on a good day!)
#workspace #cbhq #baskets #onlinebusiness #onlineseller #northyorkshire#yorkshire #skipton #retailer
Well you might of noticed it, there again you may not!
The lesson we have learned over our 15 years of business is to just sell baskets!
We have tried alternative products that complement baskets such as Summer bags or Wooden products but we are purely selling baskets.
Why is that? Because that’s who we are, and that’s what we sell!
From children’s baskets up to laundry baskets that all you will find here #cbhq, we are also going to continue with our drop shipping storage units and benches!
Once called the Storage Queen, Corinne is expanding the Storage range, however we will still have some of the other baskets you know and love!
Here is a selection of the materials we stock!
#storagequeen #baskets #basketsonly #materials
Not quite to where it all began but during the process we have different places to store the baskets and this was one of them- a very small unit!
Then one unit became two units, then we simply outgrew both!
And we came here, where everything is layed out and easy to find for us and visiting customers!
Very happy with our move- everything is now in one space!
#throwback #basketwarehouse #basketstorage #showroom #customers#visitors #basketheaven #cbhq
Day 22- What am I most proud of??
Our bespoke range of storage baskets has to be one of my proud moments.
Now with the lids and linings knowing they are ours it makes me pretty happy when they sell.
We work very closely with our suppliers and have got good relationships with each, some we have given them ideas of baskets that might sell and others the completely bespoke range.
But all the same the good suppliers have the good customers!!
Treat people how you want to be treated and you will go far!!
#bespoke #bespokebaskets #bespokestorage #basketrange #storagerange#wickerstorage #goodsuppliers #customerservice #supplierservice
Day 25 – How its made
Here is a basket we made ourselves!
A Green Willow shopper, basically the Wicker is very new hence the colouring!
These baskets took us a day to make but we wanted to experience the basket making process ourselves, we fully appreciate every little twist and turn in the Wicker.
Its definitely not an easy job!
#thebasketworld #howitsmade #baskets #wicker
Day 28 – Packaging
We are proud to recycle the boxes we use in our baskets however the plastic is something we are working on.
It is a vital part of the packaging to keep the baskets from getting wet if left outside- basically is just thicker cling film but is keeps the box together and protects the products as well as keeping out the British weather!
A bit of tape and they are ready to go!
We work with lots of local business to use their boxes which help them out, but can always accommodate more boxes if any are going spare!
Day 31 – Products in use
One of our bespoke baskets lidded and lined.
They fit just right into this awkward space in the bathroom for the spare toiletries or towels.
Lots of shapes and sizes for you to mix and match for your storage requirements.
Thank you for tuning into our March Meet the Maker, we have very much enjoyed giving you an insight into our basket world!