Indaba- A Gathering of People - Jan 23, 2019

Indaba- A Gathering of People                           - Jan 23, 2019

After 20 years in business, it still excites me to get a new product catalogue. I read it like a book. Pages filled with the story of the supplier, their vision of what the consumer wants, the colours of the year, the many (too many) products from which I have to choose what will fit in the store. The Indaba Trading catalogue is one of my favorites. The Indaba Trading story started at a kitchen table in Vancouver. The company has grown into one of the most interesting and beautiful home décor suppliers in Canada.


The word ‘Indaba’ is African for ‘a gathering of people’. Gathering the work of many artisans is what the founder Irene Held and her daughter Allison do for retailers in Canada and the US. Irene first began importing from Africa to Canada in the 1990`s. She wanted to introduce tradition and artisanship in home décor items created through hand weaving, block printing, stone washing and other artisan techniques. Her daughter Allison joined Irene and the Indaba team in 2014 and together the two travel to many countries in search of handmade, sustainable, and beautiful things.


The Indaba mandate fits our January theme of sustainable and renewable, and the colours just make us happy. One Indaba colour story we particularly like is pink. All kinds of pinks, from soft blush to a deeper mauve, are part of the story. Textures in velvet, linens, and knitted cushions and throws are rich and warm in the midst of winter. Hints of luxury in gold threads and silk sheen add simple sparkle after the holiday lights are packed up.

 Another colour story is in the blues, from cobalt to aqua, colours that help create interest in our living spaces. The block printed rugs and cushions are perfect in the imperfect stamping that is the signature to a handmade item. Stonewashed linens are instantly casual, comfortable additions.

 Natural colours of linen, raw wool and unbleached cotton are also a big part of the Indaba collections. Bringing natural fibers and other elements such as rustic wood help connect us with the outdoors, in a comfortable non-snowy way.

 The most interesting part of the Indaba Trading story for me is the way the company has connected with traditional artisans and materials. It becomes a story of sustainability and renewable resources for the rural people of India and Africa in particular. The traditional elements of one country have taken root in our country because of the colours, textures and materials used; they appeal to us.

 When you need a shot of warmth and colour during January, come on in. We are snuggling ready.

 Did you know? In a small village near Jaipur, India, most of the men work as weavers, taught by generations before them, using hand looms to make small rugs and cushion covers. The women spin the threads onto bobbins and finish the products the men produce.

 Cathy and staff

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  • Catherine Reid
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