Trio supporting women in poor communities through trade

The ibbi team look at items made by a group of female craftspeople during a recent trip to India.
The ibbi team look at items made by a group of female craftspeople during a recent trip to India.

Three mums are helping women across the world by bringing their work to a worldwide market.

Eliza Browne-Swinburne, who lives in Capheaton, and fellow Northumberland residents Anna Kirkup and Claire McAlpine sell unique textiles, ceramics and home wares from three continents on their unique homeware website – ibbi.

With countries across the world celebrating International Women’s Day earlier this week, the trio are putting into practice the aim of the initiative to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.

They founded ibbi with the aim of supporting the artisan crafts of impoverished communities and have, so far, sourced items from India, South Africa, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Peru and Guatemala.

Following a recent journey to some of India’s most historic and remote cities, they have not only expanded their range, but also forged links with artisan craftspeople and suppliers – many of whom are women.

Among the collections sourced are block printed textiles from Jaipur, vibrant sisal baskets from Kenya and vintage kantha throws from West Bengal.

The team has also unearthed vintage torans and old embroideries from Rajasthan, delicately hand painted ceramics from South Africa and even highly decorative dodo shaped watering cans from Jodhpur.

Claire said: “We believe the best form of aid is trade.

“For example, in Jaipur – a city famed for the quality of its textiles – we can support traditional craftsmanship on the one hand and bring practical, beautiful and affordable pieces to the market on the other.

“Some of these items, although exquisite, have been created in areas of great poverty and women are very much at the heart of these communities.

“Our weavers and sewers of our products are all women. Very often they are not only holding families together but, through their craft skills, are the main breadwinners, so it’s vital that we support them.”

For more information, or to purchase items from the ibbi range, call 01830 530433 or visit