Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Shipments

We have a few new shipments coming in this week. More freshly made felted soap will be here on December 31st. We're also receiving some new small market style Bolga baskets in the next couple of days. It seems we can never have enough of these versatile African baskets. Last but not least, we're looking forward to more incense, women's shirts, and handbags from Nepal, like this gorgeous monk's bag.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Zulu Baskets

We have some beautiful new Zulu baskets in house. Zulu beer baskets, like the beauty pictured here are among the best known African baskets. They were used in lieu of pottery for storing and transporting beer and other liquids by the Zulu, and are remarkably rigid and sturdy. Called Ukhamba in their native South Africa, they are commonly given as wedding gifts by the Zulu. We're proud to now include Zulu baskets in our selection of African baskets.

Friday, December 24, 2010

New Bolga Basket Style

We've added a new style of Bolga baskets to our African basket collection: natural tapered oval baskets. We've been offering dyed versions of the tapered baskets for awhile, but natural colored baskets sell so well we keep expanding our selection of shapes and sizes. In 2011 we will continue to introduce new styles of African baskets, moving beyond our current inventory of Bolga baskets and Zulu baskets. We've barely scratched the surface of what the continent has to offer. Meanwhile, as far as we know we have the widest variety of types of Bolga baskets of any retailer in the country, and are ramping up our Zulu basket selection.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Hours

Tango Zulu Imports will be open from 10am-3pm on Christmas Eve, closed on Christmas Day, and open 10am-5pm on the 26th. You still have time to pick up an African basket, felted soap, beer soap, and other fun gifts. Merry Christmas to all!

Felted Soap

More handmade felted soap will be available for sale on January 2nd. We only have a few left in stock now, so if you try to buy in the next couple of days and don't see a fragrance you like, check back the first week of January and we'll be plenty to choose from. Felted soaps took us by surprise with their popularity and we've struggled to keep adequate amounts in stock (not a terrible problem for a retailer to have, and rest assured we're purchasing in larger quantities now.) Our felted soaps use the same cold process soaps as the rest of the Tango Zulu handmade soap collection, so they are quality through and through; and the high quality along with our reasonable prices make them a great value.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Draining Soap Dishes

We have great new juniper wood draining soap dishes. They are slightly concave to help keep your soap from slipping out, and have grooves that channel the water toward the drainage holes. They have a nice clean design and neutral color, so we think they will fit well with most types of décor. Our handmade soap, sea salt scrub bars, and felted soap all will last much longer if allowed to dry between uses, so this is a perfect companion for them.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

African Basket Update

We received dozens of new Bolga baskets, our most popular African baskets, this week. If you're looking for natural colored rectangle or oval Bolga baskets this is a great time to see a wide selection. We also have lots of new flower Bolga baskets in various sizes, and tapered oval baskets in both natural and dyed.

Bolga baskets are the work horses of African baskets, built for practicality and durability. Zulu baskets are more like show horses. Although they still are used in South Africa for storing and transporting liquids and dry goods, the majority of Zulu baskets produced these days are art pieces. They have a way of looking both deeply traditional and strikingly modern, and fit a wide range of décors. We are gradually growing our selection of Zulu beer baskets. If you come into the store and don't see one you like, ask as we may well have more in the back that you can view.

One of our goals for 2011 is to become the premier online retailer of African baskets, so look for us to continue to widen our selection.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Inventory Update

We have a lot of great new inventory coming this week. We have beautiful new soapstone carvings, like this gorgeous elephant bowl. More Zulu baskets are arriving today and will begin going up on the website tomorrow, and they are closely followed by new Bolga baskets that are due in Thursday. We're happy to be getting in more felted wool trivets and other beauties from Nepal tomorrow, as well as some nice simple draining soap dishes made from Juniper wood. Thursday we should receive more water hyacinth handbags and dragon kites. We have dozens of other new items coming as well, and our website is being updated daily. We still have plenty of other holiday favorites, like felted soap and beer soap. I think I hear UPS....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Felted Soap

Felted soap continues to be a popular item. For those not familiar with felted soap, it is soap that has been wrapped in strands of sheep wool, dipped in water, then allowed to dry. The wetting and drying process shrinks the wool tightly around the soap. When the soap is used, it lathers up through the wool. The wool acts as a built in wash cloth, and it shrinks as the soap is used up, so it remains tight. The wool helps the soap last longer, and is naturally resistant to mildew. The soap used with our felted soap is handmade using the cold process method. We look at felted soap as more than a novelty item. They make beautiful gifts but are also quite practical, and we strive to keep prices reasonable. We love our felted soap and are proud of the quality and value.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Beer Soap and Other Gifts for Men

Beer soap has been a great seller this season, especially among men (and women buying for men). Our handmade beer soap is all natural, has a fresh hoppy scent, and lathers beautifully. We also have many cool masculine necklaces, like this Tibetan choker. This ox bone letter opener looks beautiful on every desk, and we have some striking ebony letter openers that are only available in the store. Check out our unisex wool and fleece hats from Nepal and African handwoven hats. We also have a good selection of 100% pure body butters that aren't the slightest bit "girlie." Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Inventory

We're anticipating new African Bolga baskets, Zulu beer baskets, olive wood utensils, kiondo bags, and a host of other new items in the next seven days. If you live near Port Gamble, come by and see what's new. If not, shop online and take advantage of free shipping on orders over $100. Some of our most popular holiday gift items are felted soap, handmade shampoo bars, handmade beer soap, African baskets, and IWAKO erasers.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fabulous Stocking Stuffers

Our felted soap makes a great stocking stuffer! We also have a great selection of other handmade soaps, sea salt scrub bars, and handmade shampoo bars at prices ranging from $4.99 to $5.99. We particularly love our handmade beer soap, which is a great gift for that person who loves beer in any form, and is also a flat-out great soap. We also have some mini Zulu baskets that are perfect for storing herbs and spices. Check out our selection of felted wool items from Nepal, like these coasters. We have scores of cool handmade jewelry items, like these yak bone wrist malas. We're also fond of our soapstone carvings. Enjoy shopping!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Zulu Beer Baskets

Our Zulu baskets are here, including this gorgeous Zulu beer basket. We're very pleased to expand our African basket collection beyond the Bolga baskets we currently carry. Zulu beer baskets, called Ukhamba in their native South Africa, rank among the premier handmade baskets in the world. These beautiful fair trade African baskets are woven from Ilala palm leaves and dyed with extracts from local vegetation. They are usually bulb-shaped with rigid walls and a tight-fitting lid, and the combination of an incredibly tight weave and the waxiness of the palm leaves renders them waterproof. When liquids are stored in them, the palm leaf pores swell and condensation forms on the outside, helping keep the contents cool. Traditionally these baskets are used for drinking home made beer, but we don't test them for water-tightness. These exceptional African baskets are striking works of art and help rural Zulu families earn a fair wage. Zulu beer baskets should not be confused with Zulu herb baskets, which we also carry. which have a looser weave to allow air circulation and are not meant to be water tight (we sometimes see herb baskets sold online as beer baskets, so be careful.)