Wishbone balance bikes were destined to be different from the start. The first prototype was sketched out and then lovingly handmade in the cramped bathroom of industrial designer and stay at home dad Richard Latham’s 20th floor New York City Apartment. Over the course of several weeks he snuck tools and lumber past the building’s doorman and went to work perfecting a balance bike that could help young son Noah keep up on their daily brisk walks around Central Park.
“At first we were just problem solving for our family,” says Richard Latham, Wishbone. “But we’re designers as well as practical parents, so the first Wishbone had to look as good as it performed. When parents started coming up to me in the park and asking where I bought it, we knew we were on to something bigger.”
Fast forward a few years to today and that something is now the family-run Wishbone Design Studio, co-founded by Latham and wife Jenny McIver, former lawyer and diplomat. While Richard designs and continually improves the studio’s selective line of balance bikes and other transformational products for young children, Jenny manages worldwide marketing, strategy and sales. The combination of sustainable materials, eco-friendly production values, an impeccable, urban-chic aesthetic and the couple’s focus on the joy of childhood means Wishbone is now a firm family favourite in more than 23 countries.
Every product by Wishbone is designed to do two things: to help change the way kids play and to grow and transform with the child.
“We’re really trying to create bikes and toys that have enduring value,” says McIver. “An heirloom that parents can hand down to their kids and their kids. Something that creates memories for families and becomes a more important part of family life and fun the more it’s used. A new classic if you will.”
The first Wishbone bike was designed to grow with the child: starting as a three wheeled trike, then morphing into a pedal-less bike to teach balance and confidence. Then finally by flipping the frame and adjusting the seat it becomes a fun scoot bike for kids up to five. That focus on adaptable design is now baked into every product Wishbone creates.
At Wishbone Design Studio, the design process never stops. New introductions now include the Wishbone RE Bike, made entirely from reclaimed and recycled resdential American carpet fibres, and the Wishbone Wagon, a stunning mid-century inspired pull along wagon that transforms into a peddalless car for toddlers.
“We’re having a lot of fun doing what we’re doing,” adds McIver. “We’re hoping that’s true of our customers too.”