Behind the Scenes: Our Handmade Bowls
Handwoven in the hills of Rwanda, there is such an art to creating our bowls—it takes significant time, discussion, and a few samples to figure out which designs we can and can not successfully produce.
We recently sat down with our founder, Sheeva to take a deep dive into how our Rwandan-made bowls are created from her first spark of inspiration, to communicating solely through email, to landing on the website and eventually taking pride of place in your home:
Where does the idea even come from?
“That’s a really good question – and every bowl is actually a little different. So, for example, the new prism bowls – I always think in shapes and things that you wouldn’t necessarily attribute bowls to have (you know, that whole “out-of-the-box” thing). And keeping things relevant to what we’re seeing emerging within interior trends as well. So my starting point is always a mix of what we’re seeing trending within the whole market, as well as things you’ve never seen before.”
How about the Artisans? Where does their inspo come from?
“So, after we give the ideas to our Artisans, they always put their spin on it. Just picture yourself within our Rwanda community—within their village, landscape, and even culture. They have their own set of experiences that we rely upon to help bring an energy and design perspective that we couldn’t think of either.”
How do you communicate with Artisans halfway around the world?
“[Laughing] Definitely through a lot of Whatsapp, Skype, and photos sent via email. We actually don’t get to touch base much on the phone because of timezones. And listen–we speak different languages, so it takes some time for us to really make sure we’re on the same page.”
So how do you know what the bowl is going to look like before you get it?
“Honestly—we don’t always know! We begin with a sketch, do LOTS of back and forth, and then we get first samples which sometimes aren’t what we’re going for. So, after we cross the pond back and forth several times, we land on a design that we feel is right for our customer, and that both our artisans and our team are satisfied with.”
How many bowls do you carry? How do you know it’ll sell well?
“So right now we carry around 20 bowls, but over time we’ve developed about 50 bowls. We always begin with a small run to see what our customers think, how much they like it–and we only move forward curating pieces that are most applicable to our customers’ home. We want the shopping experience to not just be about social good–but pieces that you’ll actually treasure for a lifetime.”
What are you most excited about for the future?
“I’m most excited about seeing what happens within the communities that we work with, and building even stronger relationships. To be able to focus our time within just one community, it will allow us to make bowls that sell all of the way around the world, from a location that you’d never imagine could produce such high-quality materials.”
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