Grace Basemera is the proprietor of Eve & Nico Crafts & Home Décor, located at 2666 Broadway between 101st and 102nd Streets. Normally, we do not feature retail owners in our In the Spotlight section; however we have found her story so intriguing that we believe it would be of interest to our membership.
I wandered into her store after noticing the colorful and beautiful baskets in the window. I found Grace Basemera to be a most charismatic individual with a passion for the art she sells as well as a dedication to the artists. Her products include woven telephone wire baskets, tribal masks, table runners, jewelry, among many other items. She supports women empowerment in Africa by creating alternative markets in America. All products are hand-made by women groups in South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Ms. Basemera and would like to share her story. Ms. Basemera states the inspiration for Eve and Nico Crafts and Home Décor goes back to when she was a girl in her twenties. She was always drawn to beautifully hand-crafted art and realized, “There is a delight that comes from knowing someone took the time to make something in the hope that it will bring the buyer as much satisfaction as the maker.”
The store is named after her two older daughters, Evelyn and Nicole. Ms. Basemera states, “As an African woman, mother, and a daughter, I have had the chance to see women at home struggle first hand to maintain a family, and a job amidst cultural barriers. I like to think that if one has been put in a position where one can give back to one’s community, one must take up that responsibility.“
As a businesswoman, she created employment opportunities for women in Uganda. As she traveled the continent, she met some of the most amazing women from Kenya and South Africa. All of these women shared similar struggles such as the absence of their partners, single-headed families with the market for their beautifully handcrafted art pieces saturated. Ms. Basemera formed unique partnerships with these women and created products suitable for the American market. Thus the birth of Eve & Nico Crafts and Home Décor in her favorite city – New York.
Ms. Basemera also sells beautiful hand-blown glassware from Italy and Portugal and in keeping with her vision, she contracts only with European companies that employ women. In fact, 60% of her glassware products are created by women. She states, “The advancement of women or the empowerment of women is not just for African women but for women everywhere.”
Ms. Basemera concluded the interview with the statement, “We are so humbled to be the new addition in the neighborhood. You have received us with such open hands and have been so kind to us. Every person who has walked through our doors has encouraged us and it is such a beautiful feeling to know that we are wanted here. Thank you for welcoming us to the neighborhood. We look forward to serving you for many years to come.”
Ms. Basemera is the epitome of what we all strive to do: give back to the community and help those less fortunate. Please stop in her store and meet this wonderful woman who has made her vision a reality. You will have an opportunity to purchase one of her colorful, hand-woven baskets she has graciously donated to the block association at the yard sale, October 11, as part of the Silent Auction.
[Image: Grace Basemera (pictures standing) with one of her artists.]