New Bicycle Baskets

Thank you for your interest in our new asungtaba bicycle baskets. We are expecting a new shipment by September 3rd. if you would like to reserve one please contact us.

Please view our other baskets

Asungtaba means “helping each other succeed” in Frafra, the language of Joseph’s community in Ghana.

Asungtaba Bicycle Baskets – The Story:

It started with an inspired remark by a House of Talents employee: “Wouldn’t these beautiful bolga baskets make a lovely bicycle basket?” We had been working with Joseph and his community of Ghanaian basket weavers for only a few months. Yet, we knew the idea would help the weavers diversify their product line and reach a larger audience. 

When we approached our artisans, Joseph and the community of basket weavers didn’t even hesitate and invited the opportunity. 

Opportunity and fortune met when Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), a distributor of bicycle parts, accessories and apparel, entered the story. A company built on community and environmental stewardship, QBP has been successfully executing on a business vision that masterfully balances business sustainability, recreation and service for over 25 years. The alignment of values and mission couldn’t be found in a more appropriate partner. And so, with an inquiry to QBP as to whether they supported the idea of joining their bicycles with House of Talents baskets…well, here we are today! Joining Joseph’s community’s baskets to QBP’s business is providing income to nearly 200 Ghanaian women for their beautiful baskets. Additionally, House of Talents is donating 5% of all company profits to establish a scholarship fund for the children in the community in which our basket weavers reside.

After QBP expressed interest in supporting the basket weavers by selling their bicycle baskets, the House of Talents team sprung into action. Our creative designer came up with a series of ideas and designs that we sent to Joseph, the lead Ghanaian basket weaver the latter part of 2009.

The designs went through a series of rather amusing iterations. Our first prototype had no provision for bicycle straps. The second looked like a picnic basket; big enough to hold a baby. And as for the third prototype, it seemed to resemble a cylindrical cooler, all excellently woven.

 In January 2010, some of the House of Talents team had the opportunity to travel to Ghana. Together with House of Talents’ Ghanaian country director, the women took an adventurous 15 hour trip to the Northern part of Ghana to meet with the basket weavers.  The trip allowed us to look over the bicycle basket prototypes, talk with the artisans and have them make the necessary modifications.

 During these discussions it occurred to us to mount this “mysterious” basket on a bicycle to demonstrate the function and appearance. This brought a great deal of understanding and progress to our discussion. While our creative designer worked with the weavers to determine appropriate color palettes, weave type and design, our country director worked on logistics. Kate’s task quickly became finding a best method to ship these un-collapsible little treasures for shipping and to pass the customs requirements. Needless to say, while this trip was certainly beautiful and enjoyable, it was as filled with House of Talents business duties as it ever could be! Soon, however, we would return home to the U.S., but not before we had provided Joseph with a digital camera to help aid the design and decision process in the future, so we could better communicate across the thousands of miles separating Ghana and the U.S. 

While the baskets were en route to the US, Kate received several calls from Joseph with the faint voices of community members in the background. They eagerly wanted to know whether we have received the baskets and what we thought of them. Even though at that point we hadn’t yet received them, we wanted to know what he thought of the culmination of their efforts. Joseph was bursting with pride, but appeared not yet ready to let the cat out of the proverbial bag. Whether he was doing this to leave us in suspense or downplay his expectations, Kate promised to call him as soon as we received the shipment.

In April 2010, House of Talents Minneapolis headquarters received the first shipment of bicycle baskets, which we quickly presented to QBP for feedback. After a few minor changes and recommendations were made, the final version was complete. The final products arrived in June, and they were fabulous! Kate proudly displayed the baskets in her office where they serve as a constant reminder of what is possible when we dare to believe a little, challenge ourselves a little and be patient. This is exactly what those involved did and what the talented poor can do when they are given the chance. There is always an opportunity to create magic through collaboration.