2016. Most of us are ready for this year to be over. With all that is going on in the world, it is all the more important to take time to reflect on the positive things that did happen this year, to find the little moments that kept us ticking, and appreciate what inspired us as 2016, finally, comes to a close.
As our holiday card to you, here is our year in review.
The year began with prototyping and business development. We received our first shipment of product from Waraniéné in January. It was really the first time we were able to see what we had spent the previous few months working on (over email) with Waraniéné. We tested the product, made minor adjustments, and conducted enough market research to start what seemed like five businesses! In February, we had our first official product shoot and in March, launched our website and social media platforms (HUGE thanks to all our dedicated Instagram followers!).
Our business model focuses on making sure that as much of the profit gets back to Waraniéné and the community of weavers we work with. To do this, we turned to all of you in an appeal to help make our business a reality.
On April 14, we launched our Kickstarter with an ambitious goal of $20,000. We reached our 50% mark in the first week and by the end of the third hit our goal. We are so proud of all that we accomplished and so thankful for every one of our backers. You all helped bring this to fruition and together, we made Five | Six Textiles into the company it is today. We also were incredibly humbled to be featured by Cause Artist and Yoganonymous and mentioned by The Note Passer, Oh My Drifter, Knit Wit Magazine, and The Story Exchange. There will never be enough ways to say thank you to you all.
With the funds raised on Kickstarter, we registered the business, flew to Côte d’Ivoire and began production on our first complete line of home goods, invested money into marketing initiatives, and laid the foundation for our fund to give back to Waraniéné (more to come on this in 2017!).
Trip to Côte d’Ivoire
Our first official trip as Five | Six Textiles to Côte d’Ivoire to work directly with Waraniéné happend in July and August. The trip lasted just under three weeks and was spent traveling around the Northern part of the region working directly with the weavers of Waraniéné to produce our Fall | Winter 2016 collection and figuring out exactly how our partnership would work. During our trip, we spent time with the collective, collaborating with; Vali, the head of the collective, about operations, the weavers about their process, the women about how they would like to be involved, and the tailor on silhouette and design. We also visited the local school and health clinic to figure out what they wanted. Thanks to our business partner Clement, we made connections with other artisans in the area, a brass caster and ceramicists. The trip was definitely one for the books. It was truly an honor to see how these wonderful art forms evolve and endure.
The Launch of our Collection and the End of the Year
Upon return to the states, we dived straight into redesigning our website, developing our social media presence, and launched our first complete home collection with a special napkin launch on Black Friday. We collaborated with Katipa Richardson-Wilson and her beautiful bar, Dirty Precious, to create pillows for her backroom. We participated in five artisan markets (Bulletin, Bulletin Holiday Pop-Up, Phoenicia Flea, Renegade Craft Fair, and Brooklyn Makers Market). We were included in two gift guides; Fathom and Baltimore Magazine and were featured as December’s Maker of the Month and Friday Faves by the wonderful Found + Kept.
We look forward to what 2017 has to offer and are so excited to see our small business grow. Wishing happiness and health to you all, from our family to yours.