We like to call FAIRLING an online dating site for brands: the goal is to get a perfect and long-lasting match between brands and stores. And we can tell you this much: there is already quite an amount of great FAIRLING-Love Stories to tell. One of them is the story of KOBA Handmade.
KOBA Handmade was founded in 2018, with the burning ambition and beating heart of its creator: Koba Quisquater. After multiple attempts of what started out as a part-time hobby and creative outlet, a simple yet beautiful concept was created: to take in the words of the brand: “A piece of cotton rope and twist it, bend it, and mold it into something that can be as beautiful as it must be useful. One tool: the sewing or stitching machine, combined with a lot of sweat, to make unlimited creative use of material and colour to produce a variety of artefacts.” With a strong pride to be called 100% handmade in Belgium, KOBA Handmade was born out of respect for nature and our planet. “Sustainability will always be the first and the last thing on our minds.”
With love, dedication, and patience, Koba the founder of the brand, has succeeded in creating an extensive range of beautiful and versatile products, made with sustainability and exceptional quality at the forefront. KOBA Handmade first joined the FAIRLING community in November 2020 and since then a true love story began!
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE BRAND? TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF.
I named the brand after my first name Koba and at the moment, I am doing almost everything myself. Also, I am proud to say that I am a mother of three beautiful children, ages 14, 13, and 11. Previously, I worked as a flight attendant for over 23 years.
Most recently, I took the decision to take a three-year leave from my job to focus on other important projects of my life, KOBA Handmade being one of the closest to my heart.
How did it all start? What is the idea behind KOBA handmade?
It all began at the time when I was sewing clothing and other small projects for my children while reading various blogs and other resources online such as Pinterest, when I first stumbled on the idea to create a basket made from scratch. After various successful attempts, I created my ever first models and started to give them away as presents to the teachers at my children’s elementary school and other loved ones. Slowly the reactions of my family and friends started to echo the same message: “Could you please make some more?” and so the story began!
The project flourished and we are now proud to say that the KOBA Handmade collection features a portfolio of baskets in many shapes and forms, for a variety of different uses: You can find storage bags and laundry baskets, planters and other pots, fruit bowls and breadbaskets, coasters and other small containers for trinkets, keys, and other valuable objects. Recently the brand has also added large shoulder bags and handbags to its beautiful collection.
What was your favourite highlight or happy moment in the last months?
On a journey like this, you, of course, encounter many happy moments. It fills my heart anew every time I was able to launch a new product or even a whole collection. It is precisely in these moments that I am very proud of what I have achieved. But above all, personal contact with retailers is also very important to me; getting their feedback and hearing how well my products are received by their customers makes for a beautiful moment every single time.
Personally, I think that customer feedback is what founders and manufacturers live on. After all, there is nothing nicer than when you find other people who share similar values, style, and taste as you!
In marketing and sales, you rely on strong, long-term relationships with your retailers. Why do they choose you?
I think that my clients, including retailers, choose my brand because it is something different from the baskets and other similar types of products out there in the market. In addition, I am also confident that both customers and stores who share the same values of sustainability chose KOBA Handmade since our products are all made using recycled cotton, with no mass production and are all 100% handmade in Belgium.
Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction also play a key role within the brand. The owner Koba herself is more than happy to assist her customers with personalised orders. In the same way, in which she plays with the colours in her workshop to create the beautiful aesthetics in her products, she is always equally up for the challenge whenever her customers are in need of customised products with specific dimensions.
You have received 6 requests from new retailers at FAIRLING so far. Can you give us a little background information on one of these love stories?
Of course! I am very happy that I have already been able to inspire six shops from Europe. And although the recent months were of course not the easiest for all manufacturers and retailers, I am even more pleased that four of these shops have already ordered from me. It is indeed exciting to know that my products will be available in beautiful shops throughout Europe!
For this reason, we at FAIRLING look forward to accompanying KOBA Handmade during their wholesale journey in the future and of course, together with the owner we hope for even more great love stories and success!
Where should the journey go? What is the vision of KOBA Handmade?
During our interview Koba revealed to us one of her biggest dreams: To one day own her own shop where she can work in her atelier and welcome her customers at the same time.
For many manufacturers, owning their own shop is of course a key milestone. On the road to that dream, it is however a very important step to know that KOBA Handmade products already get a chance to be showcased in amazing and unique shops all around the continent.
Of course, we at FAIRLING will keep our fingers crossed for Koba and her brand. We are hopeful and certain that after her success with us, that this day will come very soon!
Is there anything you would definitely advise other young, emerging brands to do?
When asked this question, the owner of KOBA Handmade reminded us of a very simple yet wise truth which is: to believe in yourself and in your potential and to remember above everything to never give up on your dreams and passions. Especially when you experience setbacks during the process; for it is during challenges and difficulties that you learn the most.
With this advice, the owner reminds us of the importance of nurturing a dream and following the path of one’s passion. Her dedication and commitment to sustainability, high-quality, and Customer Satisfaction, all while remaining loyal at the core to the product and her craft, serves as a great example to all emerging brands as they continue to grow during their wholesale journeys.
Thank you Koba for the lovely interview! We wish you all the best for you and your brand! Hopefully, there will be many more Love Stories for you to experience!
|FAIRLING member since:||Nov 19, 2020|
|First international request:||Dec 02, 2020|
|Locations of interested stores through FAIRLING:||6 cities|
|Performance so far:||38 interested shops, |
Do you want to be part of FAIRLING, too?
Great, there’s a whole world of local stores waiting for your products! Just book a free demo call with one of our brand scouts – they will be very happy to talk about your possibilities on FAIRLING and answer all your questions.