I'd just like to say that I'm so happy you've found us! I've got a lot of introducing to do in this blog post, and I'm a bit of a waffler (it's all relevant, don't worry!) - so before you get stuck into this post, make sure you've grabbed a coffee, taken your bra off - that bit's not compulsory, but let's face it, its the best feeling in the world - found a comfy position, and then you're set!
Today, I launched my online store, www.bilia-baby.co.uk, to the world, and to say I'm excited would be a huge understatement. It's been a whirlwind, and when I did finally hit that 'PUBLISH' button, there was most definitely some trepidation. All sorts of questions were whizzing through my, already quite anxious, head; will it work? Will people love the moses baskets as much as I do? Is it all too-much-too fast? Do I really know what I'm doing? Can I really run a business on my own? - You know, all of the usual stuff any terrified new business owner will understand....right?
But, I'm here, telling you all that it worked. I made it. I'm still here, on the other side of the keyboard, smiling, going about my day, but now I'm a BOSS. And let me tell you, that feels INCREDIBLE to say! (I know what you're thinking and how that sounds - don't worry. I'm not going to ask you to sign up to any motivational businesswoman superstar make-you-rich-quick courses. Been there, done that, got 15 'free' t-shirts and all the girl-power stickers, and they've never helped me. I'm just telling you my story, and about my little brand - I'm new to this, so please bear with me).
We've had so much interest in our beautiful handmade baby baskets, and I'm overwhelmed by the amount of people who are loving the story of where they come from. I feel so lucky to have you all backing my little business - so THANK YOU for sticking with me!
For those who don't already know, my name is Della, and I'm the woman behind this 'tiny but mighty' business.
Here's a picture, just incase you are ridiculously curious, just like me:
Ok, so, I'm on the right, and on the left is my rock, my superstar, my one and only, the fabulous human who pushed me to pursue this little dream of selling the most wonderful, eco friendly moses baskets, the one-and-only Mr F. <- You can follow him here, if you feel inclined to do so... I won't get jealous - he's pretty good at what he does.
There'll be lots of me talking about him along this journey, but for now, introductions are over because I want to tell you more about how we got here, how Bilia Baby UK came to be, how important it is not just to me, but to many different people, and how you can invest in a little bit of 'do-goodery' whilst making those extra special purchases for your nursery.
It's a feel-good thing... trust me.
Where did it start?
In September 2017, I decided, whilst busy sunning myself at the wonderful Anfi in Gran Canaria with the family, that 2018 would be a year for change. I wanted to be in charge. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to start my own business.
I've watched both Mr F and my wonderful best friend take their own businesses from nothing, to something, with incredible passion and determination. I've been, and still am, a part of both of their journeys - my day job is actually PR account manager in their partnered business - and I couldn't be more proud of both of them. I wanted to feel the pride they must feel in themselves. I wanted to make MYSELF proud.
It was on that same holiday that I spotted the supplier of our Bilia Moses Baskets on Instagram. I fell in love with their ethos, and was intrigued by there incredible sense of spirit for the native Ghanaians who weave the baskets that they import. So, I did what every self-respecting, adult woman in the millennial world does....
I stalked them on Instagram and Facebook for a whole three months before reaching out to them. Because that was the grown up thing to do.
Now listen, in all of this 'wanting to start a business', I never even thought of how I was going to do it - that's just not how my brain works. I have a tendency to either jump in head first and hope for the best, or sit back and pray that something good will happen. But this was different, this time it HAD to work.
And you know what?
I'm so glad I reached out, because the incredible people who are our suppliers were very patient with me. I sent at least a thousand emails, with at least as many questions, and they answered each and every one for me, in great detail, and with a whole heap of passion.
I was ready to go. I wanted it so badly. With a little bit of advice, and a whole lot of gusto, I jumped in, head first, and hoped for the best - and the best happened.
Why did I choose Afropacific?
"At Afropacific, we say "trade not aid." Emancipation comes from self-sufficiency, independence and a sense of self-worth. We value trading with the people of the Upper East Region of Ghana. By purchasing these products, we don’t just help empower these talented artisans but also contribute to sustainable development, preserving traditional skills and promoting ethically produced goods and work practices."
It was this statement that got me hooked . The thought of being able to give back to the Ghanaian makers, creators, and hard working individuals who hand dye and weave these pieces was irresistible to me. My background is as a maker, and I know how difficult it is to make a living out of selling your art, but these guys are rocking it, thanks to Kylie and Wisdom over at Afropacific. This was something I could be proud of, and actively push out to discerning buyers here in the UK.
Not only would my tiny little one woman business be able to bring the impossibly beautiful moses baskets to the UK, but I could also show people where they are from, who is making them, and how, by purchasing a Bilia Moses Basket, buyers would be making a difference to somebody's life. THAT is what makes us and our suppliers, different.
We're not just moses baskets. We're Bilia.
What is 'Bilia'?
Because the background of the baby moses baskets are so special, I wanted to be VERY sure that what I was selling the baskets as truly represented the makers and creators as much as possible, whilst still being able to attract an incredibly fickle (what can I say? Us Brits know what we like, and when something doesn't sound great, we're not interested.) British market. So the name 'Bilia Baby UK' was born...
BILIA means 'newborn' in the Ghanaian language of FraFra. FraFra is the language of the Frafra people of northern Ghana, particularly the Upper East Region, and southern Burkina Faso. It is these talented, entrepreneurial people who create our magnificent, ethically sourced, eco-friendly Bilia Moses Basket and nursery accessories.
By choosing the name Bilia Baby UK, I've *hopefully* been able to remain true to those makers. From the feedback I had at the very start of setting up the business, it has been quite a hit, and stuck. Im so excited to have hit that button, and genuinely hope that anyone who stumbles upon us will love what we do, what we stand for, and what we aim to achieve.
So, now that I've told you a little more about Bilia Baby UK (I can't give it all away in one fell swoop - I'd have nothing for the next blog!), I guess it's time to sign off for now.
Hopefully my blog hasn't bored you to tears, and by now your eager to become a part of the Bilia tribe - fingers crossed!
Catch you soon - much love.
P.s. We've put links on all of our pages to the Lullaby Trust, who offer safe sleeping advice to all within the UK. It's worth taking a look at if you're expecting a little person anytime soon.
I'm also looking to partner with a UK miscarriage charity, so if you know a worthy cause, please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!