Q & A with Jana Leonard, Founder of Baskiti
- Tell us about yourself. Have you always been entrepreneurial? What led you to taking the first step and setting up your own business?
My name is Jana, I am a wife, mom and an entrepreneur by heart! When I launched my first business – Jack & Jill Communications – it was incredibly important for me to have the flexibility in my day. When we did start a family (which were very much on the cards) I would be able to spend time with my baby. A year and a half later, our son was born who inspired my second business – Baskiti – a range of hanging storage baskets and wall hooks. I may have another business one day. I never say never!
- How did Baskiti come about and has it changed your life?
About 5 months ago I conceptualised Baskiti, a hanging storage basket inspired by my (then) 14-month-old son who used our veggies as balls. Many squishy potatoes later and Baskiti was born! It quickly grew organically with additional products such as our Baskiti liners as well as our second division, Baskiti Wall Hooks which designs and manufactures our Baskiti J-Hook (Raw / Varnished), Mask Hooks and Family Hooks. I solved a problem I never knew existed before having kids and experiencing lockdown all in one go!
- What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Always under-promise and over-deliver. You CANNOT do it all, get an accountant and focus on what you are good at!
- What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
It sounds bizarre, but Taylor Swift has inspired me immensely. She is an incredibly gifted storyteller and strategic thinker. Her executions are phenomenal and her stories filled with wonder and aspirations. I believe people buy into a story before they buy into a brand and that is how I have run Jack & Jill for years and WHY Baskiti’s story is so important to me. When my son reads about Baskiti one day I want him to know he was part of it from the get-go!
- If any, what challenges have you experienced as a woman in your industry?
Honestly, I haven’t really experienced any challenges in my industry. The PR Industry is incredibly supportive of one another. I think where the true challenge comes in, are the ones we make up in our own minds. Being a great wife, mom and boss all in one go is almost impossible but you can do the best you can and compromise accordingly whether your baby needs you, you have a deadline or your husbands needs your attention. It’s a difficult juggle and one I am still struggling with. Luckily I’ve come to realise you cannot be everything to everyone, you’re only one human.
- What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
NO small goal at all but I want to focus our attention on the international market where apartment living is a huge trend.
- Do you have any new projects coming up (or have you just completed a big project ~ reached a milestone, etc.)? If so, please tell us about it.
The biggest goal I have reached (without even realising it at the time) is that we sold out within a week of our official launch date. I am still in shock, and the backorders are continuously flowing in. It shows me that we have an incredible product that people actually need and want. NOW that is an amazing feeling! Here I thought my mom will have to buy all my launch stock. Ha-ha!
- What one piece of advice would you give any aspiring female business leaders reading this?
Always be kind, consistent, loyal and always speak the truth.
It was during the 21 days Lockdown in South Africa that founder, Jana Leonard’s 14-month-old son felt he needed to embrace and fully express his ‘love for sports’ by using their potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions as balls! “Originally it was actually very funny and we laughed it off. However, after a few days and many squishy potatoes, we knew there had to be a solution”. Baskiti was born. A gorgeous range of handwoven hanging baskets delivering a solution to a problem no-one even knew they had. From there, it grew authentically into a larger brand with Baskiti accessories and another division, Baskiti Wall Hooks.“Our aim was to create something that looks amazing but also got the job done. I think what Lockdown has really taught us is that you want to make your house a home, but that decluttering is one of the best things ever invented. We wanted our Baskiti products to add value, not more things to your home.” adds Jana.
Baskiti offers the one basket every mom needs, from your kitchen to your crafts room or even baby’s room. There are so many uses for the Baskitis – you’ll want to find new open wall-space to hang them up! A great addition to the braai room, living area with an indoor plant, or perhaps outdoors under the lapa – the Baskiti range will allow you to have nice things, without your toddler thinking it’s ‘mine’. The Baskiti Hanging Basket is 35cm high, 22cm wide and has a handle that hooks beautifully onto the Baskiti J-Hook. It has a flat back and a big belly (just like the founders’ son) so it gorgeously hugs the wall. “Our Baskiti offers you more floor and counter space and allows you to create something beautiful and usable on a wall which may never have found life,” adds Jana.