Banwood’s First Go! Balance Bicycle gets an exclusive new look with a helping hand from Liberty print. The brand’s Scandi-inspired bicycles and helmets are dressed in two iconic prints, cherry-picked from the Liberty archive. Complete with a detachable wicker basket and a padded faux-leather seat, both styles make for a memorable first bike. Here, the brand’s co-founder Frida Jonsby tells us about her earliest cycling memory, the importance of play and her love for all things Liberty.
What sparked your inspiration for the brand?
When searching for a balance bike for my partners nephew, we realised that there are very few brands out there offering classic and timeless bicycles for children. We wanted to recreate the bikes we used to ride as kids using durable, high-end materials in a classic colour scheme.
Are any of the designs inspired by your first bikes?
My first bike was a red Swedish Crescent bicycle from the ‘70s. My parents loved vintage items and we rarely got new things. I’m the youngest one in my family so I always inherited things from my sister and brother. It had a classic frame and straight lines which formed the inspiration for Balance Bike designs.
What are your earliest cycling memories?
I remember when I learned to ride without training wheels. I was five years old and we were in the summer house in Gotland, Sweden. The bike was far too big for me at the time and it was difficult to put my feet on the pedals. After a lot of practice, my father removed the stabilisers and started to run next to me, holding the back of my seat. He then let me go and I went down the street on my own with my parents cheering behind me – that feeling was amazing! I have a lot of pleasant childhood memories and photos from that summer, especially together with my grandmother when we used to cycle to the beach.
What’s the Banwood ethos?
The purpose of Banwood was not just to create a brand, but an active lifestyle for children. We aim to produce timeless pieces that will last a lifetime and be passed onto the next generation.
We wanted to recreate the bikes we used to ride as kids using durable, high-end materials in a classic colour scheme.
Can you tell us more about the creative process?
I have always been interested in fashion and design and I’m a very visual person. In that sense, my eyes are naturally looking for inspiration. I find it everywhere, from antique markets, to streetwear and architecture. I imagine how things could be developed into other shapes and different colour combinations. As soon as I get an idea, I start with the drawings and colour schemes and thereafter, develop it with our product designer. I then send the initial idea to our factory and that’s where the sample process starts.
How do your bikes transcend industry standards?
We pay very close attention to each step in the process, from design and manufacturing, to delivery, ensuring we create the very best bicycles for children. Our bicycle designs are timeless but at the same time, playful with a retro touch, which we also hope takes parents back to their own childhood.
Since starting Banwood, forming a collaboration with Liberty has always been a dream for me as we both share the vision of creating timeless designs.
We are very excited about Banwood’s exclusive collaboration with Liberty London – how did it come about?
I have always been in love with the beautiful Liberty London prints and fabrics. When I was living in London, it was one of my favourite spots for finding unique pieces and inspiration. I’m in love with the beautiful architecture and its interior design. Since starting Banwood, forming a collaboration with Liberty has always been a dream for me as we both share the vision of creating timeless designs. It was an honour when Liberty let us embellish our little bikes with their beautiful prints.
Liberty is renowned for its heritage prints. How did you decide which ones to use?
For this special collection, we hand-picked two iconic prints from their beautiful archive to be reworked onto our First Go Balance Bikes and classic helmets. The first print, Queue for the Zoo, is a playful animal print in a soft colour scheme and was created by the children author and illustrator, OK David. The second, Betsy, features a small, colourful floral print which has become a Liberty signature print.
Today, children are increasingly becoming more engrossed in technology. Can you describe the importance of outdoor activity and non-virtual social interaction?
Because of the development in technology, today’s children spend more time in front of screens and have fewer opportunities for what we call “real play”. To play is such an important factor for children's growth and lays the foundation for adult life. We want to encourage today’s children to have an active lifestyle and play outside as we used to as kids.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
Banwood is constantly innovating. We will continue growing our range and have some very exciting products coming out soon. The rest is a secret but keep an eye on our social media channels @banwoodbikes for updates.