Suraya – An All-Female Collective Of Hand-Woven Baskets

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A mom and daughter duo, who run and own Suraya, started their business in lockdown with the hopes to bring a little bit of hand-woven Africa to Southern Africa. Here, they started working with basketry masters and have been growing their business ever since.

We were so excited and inspired by their story, and we hope you are too!

Who is Suraya Baskets and how did you get started?

At Suraya, we are passionate about cultures, tradition, and most of all, the creations made by people. Here, we try to merge worlds, by “bridging the gap between continents.” Allowing one to have a piece of something from somewhere. 

Our items are made by hand from 100% grass, reeds, palms, banana leaves, and sisal.

Product Offerings:- Wall Basket’s – Plant/storage Basket’s- Placemats- Picnic Baskets- Laundry Basket’s- Nongo and Garlic Gourds.

Suraya was officially established in 2020 during the plight of the Covid-19 Pandemic! Yeah neh! Many of us ladies had lost our jobs and were seeking means, ways how to make an income and support our families. Lilian (mom), having had worked with some weavers that made African basket’s in the past and knowing some family friend’s being weavers themselves, introduced me (Suraya) to some of the ladies.

Upon meeting them and learning so much from them, not only did the ladies weave the baskets but they were all determined to 1) Cultivate our African heritage via basketry. 2) Celebrate African basketry making and stories. 3) Importantly, finding and creating financial freedom, or some sort of relief for themselves and their families.

Image of Suraya
Images via Instagram

As a mother-daughter duo, what is a day in the life like for entrepreneurs such as yourselves?

Our duties are evenly split between us two with the incorporation of stories, stories, stories, and laughter!
Mom communicates with the ladies on new ideas, concepts and creates new ways to make baskets modern and current for today’s South African home. Engages with clients and checks up on the shop and online orders. 

Whereas I mainly receive orders and respond to client requests and feedback. Throw in ideas for new baskets. Do business marketing. Checking up on the shop and dispatching online orders. And of course, once a month attend a local festival or market day and trade. 

You offer an amazing range of baskets – where can one purchase your items?

We are based in Port Elizabeth (Gqhabera), Eastern Cape. 

One can pop us a message, email, DM, or WhatsApp us directly to make an order and we can forward you a catalog of what is available. 

One can find our items at Sunshine Collective. In Walker Drive, Shopping Mall. Corner of Walker Drive and, Kabega Rd, Kamma Ridge. We are one (1) of many local businesses under their umbrella, that supports local small businesses. Many products, and creativity under one roof. And you can find us online on Vendo, an online e-commerce site that supports local small businesses!

We are thankful to Sunshine Collective and Vendo for creating space, room for small online businesses like ours. To have a chance to compete with other businesses. Vendo assisted with expanding our reach, and clientele to all over South Africa and brought food to our tables. 

Baskets by Suraya
Images via Instagram

What does the future hold for Suraya Baskets?

Further expanding our roots locally and hopefully soon branching into the whole of Africa. Connecting with other weavers from other areas of Africa and adding to our collections. It’s interesting how despite being from different worlds, basket making has so many common denominators amongst our cultures. 

From how a basket starts being weaved, its use, and when baskets get presented to one. Traditionally baskets are gifted amongst women during harvest season, bridal season, entering motherhood. Anything to do with womanhood!

Do you have any advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs?

Trust the process. Trust it and have faith! It is going to be hard and frustrating. As long as you are working towards your personal and work goal you will find yourself in a better position than you were prior and ask for advice to find solutions. 

Getting to know Suraya:

  • Who is your SHEro? – I would say all the women I know. The knowledge a woman carries! The advice that gets shared from old to young. From personal, work, life. Don’t underestimate the power of sisterhood. 
  • Pizza or pasta? – Pasta
  • What is your fave hobby? -Hiking. Being with nature.
  • What would you sing at karaoke night? – Tems, Wizkid, and Justine Bieber – Essence. 
  • Quote you live by?  – ” No one is making extraordinary things alone. They might be alone in their bedroom while they’re recording or writing, but they didn’t actually conjure that thing out of nothing – without influence – without assistance – without anything.”  – Kelela

Thank you, Suraya!

Follow their journey:

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