The Lowdown with Zucchini London
‘With love from Morocco’…For some serious summer vibes, Zucchini London create a range of funky handmade basket style bags all inspired by local traditions and made using natural materials in the heart of Marrakech, Morocco. We sat down with the founder of Zucchini London, Honor Younger, to learn more about the company, how their products are made and what inspired her to create such beautiful handmade bags.
13 April 2021
‘With love from Morocco’…For some serious summer vibes, Zucchini London create a range of funky handmade basket style bags all inspired by local traditions and made using natural materials in the heart of Marrakech, Morocco.
All the bags have been handmade and individually crafted using traditional techniques inspired by skilled artisans of Marrakech, whether you use them as a beach bag on holiday, as a storage basket at home or use it when you are popping to the shop, there is a great range of bags for all.
We sat down with the founder of Zucchini London, Honor Younger, to learn more about the company, how their products are made and what inspired her to create such beautiful handmade bags.
Tell us a bit about how Zucchini London came about?
I have always been interested in fashion and design and liked the idea of creating a new business from scratch. When I was 13, I spent time recycling old Christmas cards into present label tags and sold them through a local shop, so I guess I’ve always had entrepreneurial drive. I am currently a second-year business student at Edinburgh University, and Zucchini London combines my two interests of setting up and running my own business, and fashion design. The specific inspiration behind Zucchini London came when I was in Italy last summer. I came across some fantastic funky beach baskets which caught my eye immediately and gave me the inspiration to design and source my own range. After many hours of market research, and many plates of Spaghetti alla Nerano (Zucchini Pasta) at our favourite trattoria, Zucchini London was born!
Tell us a bit more about your products and how they are made?
When sourcing the baskets, it was extremely important to me that sustainable production practices were being used. All the baskets are hand woven in Taza, a small town located in the east of Morocco, in the heart of the palm tree region where all the palm leaves come from. We are continuing an age-old tradition of palm leaf weaving that has been used in the region for centuries. The baskets are then taken to Marrakech where they are embroidered by a small team of highly skilled artisans in their workshop located in the heart of the old town. I work closely with the workshop director sending sketches backwards and forwards tweaking the design until I am happy with it. I love that part of the process – they are brilliant at capturing what I imagine and super-fast in turning ideas around!
What makes your products unique?
I come up with funky images and captions that are unique to us and which are matched by a strong ‘rope style’ twisted cotton handle, all in fun and vibrant colours. We have created a basket that is sustainably made and vegan friendly, whilst also looking great! The other important detail was to get the size of the basket just right. I experimented with different sizes to ensure that it could fit just the right amount of stuff inside. We tried it out with local food shopping, picnics, and even a day trip to the beach to test out as many uses as we could think of!
How has the pandemic influenced your business?
The pandemic was the impetus for setting up Zucchini London. All my summer jobs, as well as an internship, were cancelled, and the final term of my first year of University was cut short. After a stint of volunteering at the local shop came to an end, I found myself twiddling my thumbs wondering what to do. I had time on my hands and have never been one to sit by and do nothing for very long! So, in one sense, this business is a product of the pandemic. But obviously, in other ways, the pandemic has made life more difficult. A big sales platform for a small online retailer like Zucchini London are the Christmas fairs, and these were all cancelled. This just meant that I had to work extra hard to make my baskets known to people before the busy Christmas period. I used social media marketing, which was great, and took every opportunity to show the bags to people directly, even putting them in the window of my local village shop!
Where are you most excited about travelling to when you can?
So many places! I have a trip planned back to Morocco as soon as restrictions are lifted to dream up some new ideas with the team there. I’m also hoping to reschedule a cancelled trip to Harbour Island, a tiny island in the Bahamas with a real sense of community and the most beautiful beach. Perfect in fact as a place to show off my beach bags to the best effect. But right now, I would just be happy to go to the local pub in our village in Hampshire!
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