Meet Robin Birch of Birch & Loom

Robin Birch started the business 2 years ago. In her other life, as a wine business and marketing consultant, she had a fabulous client in Hyderabad. He and his wife started a vineyard about 6 hours drive away, not far from the world heritage site of Hampi. Robin used to visit them once or twice a year to assess the wines and plan distribution strategies.

During her visits, she fell in love with the textiles of India – the block prints, the traditional embroideries and the incredible weaving practised all over the country. When she first tried to buy some of these products online when she returned home, she was surprised to find they were quite scarce and very expensive.  She saw this as an opportunity to bring in a small quantity and sell them direct. No wholesalers, no middlemen, just direct from the artisans at minimal mark up and no retail costs to cover.


In the case of the bedding, she selects the fabrics from a block printer in Bagru and has them made up by a manufacturer in Jaipur.  She also buys from artisans near Kolkata – the Bengal region in India was home to the most exquisite weavers in the world, before the industry was decimated by British greed. It is gratifying to see the heritage now being preserved and Robin is pleased to play a very small part in supporting these initiatives.


Most of her scarves (apart from the Kashmiri Pashminas) are handwoven by Bengali artisans, likewise all her silk and cotton cushion covers are handwoven in Bengal. Her khadi cotton scarves are woven by women working in a charitable trust in Maheshwar in the east of the country. This trust supports women to develop their artistic skills while giving them the opportunity for education and financial independence. Women’s rights both at home and abroad are very important to me personally and my intention, starting in 2021 (when the business is up and running) is to donate a percentage of profits to organisations which empower women directly.


Her criteria for selection is that all products must be bespoke. All the bedding is made exclusively forRobin, so cannot be found anywhere else, either online or in retail stores (she don’t wholesale either). All the products are handmade or hand printed. She also has a wonderful collection of museum quality vintage embroideries. One piece recently went to a gallery in Denver which was very exciting! (Not all are up on the website yet – waiting for photography)


Her fascination in world textiles has taken Robin to Uzbekistan and many regions within South East Asia. Next on her wish list (coronavirus permitting) is to explore the textile heritage of Central and South Americas.


Visit birchandloom.com for more information.


Words: Vicki Holder