We have been busy recently sourcing some new woven products for you, from a part of the world we haven't welcomed to our shop yet. Myanmar (formally Burma) is between Bangladesh and Thailand (we have placemats and coasters from Bangladesh). It's also close to Vietnam where another of our laundry basket ranges is made (we currently cannot get those hence finding others!).
With any product made internationally, we think about who may have made it and whether they are treated fairly. We always ask questions, and we often decline products as the information isn't transparently and willingly offered. This may mean our stock is a bit more expensive than some of the mass market high street and retail park retailers, but very often ours is made to a higher standard as well as being imported with care. (We compare our prices to the better-quality mainstream retailers, and we compare favourably, not bad for a diddy independent retailer!)
These pieces from Myanmar are rattan* peel on rattan core, and are darker than the pieces we usually carry (don't worry, we are still stocking our Senegalese pieces!). The wastepaper bins are woven using palm leaves.
The importer for these is very open and willing to share how he goes about finding his makers: he personally travels to visit potential new suppliers to make sure that employees are happy and well treated. He says he has refused on more than one occasion to deal with some simply because of the way employees are treated. He assures us that the suppliers he currently deals with are nice, considerate, caring human beings and their employees are happy, well fed and content. He says we cannot compare our (British) lifestyle with theirs, but he firmly believes that he does all he can to ensure that life for our makers is as full and acceptable as conditions allow. We are proud to support this.
*there is synthetic rattan and natural rattan; our stock is natural rattan which comes from palms, usually climbing palms. There is so much work involved with these pieces, even before the weaving starts!