The Plume Spotlight With Baobab Batik

Our newest Plume Spotlight is Baobab Batik, a company building sustainable economic and social solutions for women in Swaziland through the ancient art of Batik.

How did Baobab Batik come about?

Founder, Els Hooft became interested in the art of batik when she moved from the Netherlands to West Africa working as a volunteer nutritionist.  Mesmerized by the art form, Els soon found herself wanting to learn more about the complex method and decided to teach herself.  After moving to East Africa, and finally settling in Swaziland in 1985, Els' batik handiwork gained popularity in the community, which led her to train a small group of women.

What started as a hobby for Els Hooft, is now a thriving small business supporting over 25 women in Swaziland and making significant changes to its local community.  Born in 1991, Baobab Batik has seen growth and great success.  Today, Baobab Batik has two retail stores in the Kingdom and exports to various countries worldwide.

Els Hooft and the women of Baobab Batik (photo courtesy of Baobab Batik)

Els Hooft and the women of Baobab Batik (photo courtesy of Baobab Batik)

What motivates Baobab Batik?

Profit is always an important factor when running a business, but what motivates Els Hooft and Baobab Batik most, is a love for design, the livelihood of women and the effect we have on our planet.  

photo courtesy of Baobab Batik

photo courtesy of Baobab Batik

How Baobab Batik help their artisans?

Baobab Batik gives artisans tools that promote sustainable economic and social solutions for them and their communities.  Providing a transparent, open, warm and friendly working environment is paramount to their commitment.

Baobab Batik also offers its staff members social and creative workshops that promote personal development.  These include life skills training, HIV/AIDS awareness, First Aid training, skills development and self-defence classes.  Baobab Batik is a member of SWIFT (Swaziland Fair Trade), an organization that supports the development of the handcraft industry in the country and adhere to fair trade principles through all our practices.

How does Baobab Batik help the planet?

Baobab Batik is always looking for ways to have the greatest positive impact on the environment.  That's why Baobab Batik makes an effort to reduce waste and ensure efficiency in their production process.  They monitor energy consumption, source fabric on their continent wherever possible, all while reducing, reusing and recycling dyes, wax and all fabric scraps.

What makes Baobab Batik unique?

Baobab Batik creates decorative vibrant African designs with a contemporary twist.  The combination of tradition and modernity, in combination with the skills of the artisans, is what makes Baobab Batik unique.

Each collection tells its own story; from their signature wildlife collection, portraying the simple beauty seen around them to their contemporary collection; illustrating the bold patterns displayed on African artifacts.

Go To Baobab Batik HERE and check out their amazing collections!