You may still be reluctant to buy your first professionally upcycled product though. It's hard. Most of these products are available through online shops, and just like most online purchases, you never know for certain what you're up for. Sure, you can return the products most of the time, but then...
And that's why we'll start reviewing products from Swiss upcyclers. Disclaimer: We are not in anyway sponsored by the producers. Our reviews are therefore as honest as the day. Before we are ecco.eco, we are also consumers like you. Starting this venture is our way of becoming more mindful in our consumption. In fact, some of the upcyclers were found by pure chance while we were browsing local markets or travelling somewhere.
That was exactly how I discovered WomenCraft and got myself this beautiful basket.
I discovered WomenCraft at the intriguing Berner Sternenmarkt last Christmas. Everything about this upcycler impresses me, especially the product. This basket is from the Natural Recyled Collection - woven using the bark of local banana trees and discarded grain sacks. HOW COOL IS THAT??
WomenCraft is a community-driven social enterprise with a mission to increase economic opportunity in the post-conflict, tri-border area of Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania by bringing rural women together, facilitating their growth and connecting their artistry to the global marketplace.
I got to chat with one of the Swiss founders twice and learn more about the company itself. What intrigued me was how they never compromise the product quality with a touching story (even though the story of WomenCraft is indeed inspiring) - something that is, unfortunately, quite common among many fair-trade products. In fact, one customer could not believe that Womencraft's story was authentic because "the website looks too professional" until she met the founder herself.
This is why you are here - why should you pay for this product?
Well, let me say this first, I am a big fan of baskets. They are an aesthetic way of organizing your space (thanks Marie Kondo!) and they are most often of higher quality than mere plastic organizers.
We therefore have a few baskets around the house, and this basket that I got from WomenCraft has perhaps the highest quality among all the baskets that we got.
The threads are woven so tightly together that the basket is strong and sturdy.
We could put anything in there, including onions and garlic - which tend to be messy with other types of loose containers as their skins are scattered everywhere.
(By the way, this basket is supposed to be for breads but my husband and I consume more fruits than breads. And also, can you spot the flower vase that I upcycled from my old glass tea pot? 😉).
We purchase a product because it solves a need or a problem.
For my husband and I, the need can be solved with other types of containers. Our problem is that we are picky when it comes to style. We don't grab something for the sake of it. A household item should not only be useful, but also fit our aesthetic preferences.
That's why we were so glad when I discovered WomenCraft.
They have different collections with various designs, most of which can easily fit into any style of household decoration, be it subtle minimalist or outright flamboyant.
We like colours in life. I myself come from a colourful culture and some of my outfits may blind you due to the plethora of colours on them. Yet we prefer our living space to be as neutral as possible in order to highlight the colourful substance. This basket right here is THE one basket that we didn't even know that we were looking for.
And of course, WomenCraft doesn't have only baskets. There're so many other things too, such as bowls, mats and decorative wall hangings.
If you're based in Switzerland and you're someone who must examine a product using all five senses before purchasing it, it'll be quite a challenge. WomenCraft doesn't have its own store as they sell their products through their partners (B2B). The only way to touch the product is to check out which Christmas markets they will be participating this year, which entirely depends on the current global health situation.
There are currently two online shops in Switzerland that offer WomenCraft products:
You can also check here to see if you can find WomenCraft products in your country.
Can't find your country on the list? Don't fret! They're also launching their own online shop very soon in the US and the EU.
And folks, that's WomenCraft for you. Now let me enjoy my locally grown apple.