We are an artisan cooperative that makes the most beautiful handmade design products from traditional African crafts.
About this project
We are Design Dua
an amazing artisan cooperative that creates beautiful handmade products for children, families, pets, & home decor. We work with rural artisans in Ghana to create innovative products of high quality and creative design. We offer opportunity and training to our artisans to improve their craft skills and make internationally marketable design products. We are changing the traditional artisan craft industry by offering quality and consistency to customers and retailers around the world.
Dua means tree which comes from the Akan saying “Woforo dua pa a na yepia wo” meaning “when you climb a good tree you are given support”.
To date, we’ve made a select range of basket designs that we sell directly to consumers as well as to retail outlets. We started selling our products in March of this year and within 3 months our sales have grown exponentially. We have had tremendous interest from stores and customers around the world, as well as recent interest from a very large US Based retailer. Everyone loves our baskets!
Now we are asking for your support to help us build a formal factory. This will enable us to work with more large retailers and create opportunity for more artisans.
Our baskets are made from elephant grass and completely handwoven. No machinery is used in the process. Grass is collected and dried, then rolled before weaving. We source the highest quality leather and vegan cloth for basket handles. Our pads and mattresses have organic options that come filled with unprocessed organic cotton straight from the fields.
The Bilia Bassinet
Our most popular product is the Bilia Bassinet. Bilia means Newborn in FraFra, a language attributed to the FraFra people of Ghana, the Originators of this basket weaving style. It is a moses basket suited for newborn babies (until they are 20lbs or can rollover on their own). No heavy liners and fabrics that increase the risk of SIDS. The portability of the basket makes it easy for Moms to keep their babies near. It comes with a fitted mattress and vegan cloth or leather handles. Comes in various colors as well as all natural plain. **Reward 8-11**
The Nap & Pack Basket
An alternative to our Bilia Bassinet is our Nap & Pack Basket which gives more flexibility in how the basket is used after the baby gets older. **Reward 8-11**
The Baby Changing Basket
Our bassinets were such a great compliment to little nurseries that we decided to create the baby changing basket. This beautiful basket comes with a fitted pad and can be placed on your dresser top for a handmade variation to the typical changing pad. **Reward #7**
Design Dua Dog Bed
We pet parents never forget about our furry friends! As a result, we came up with the Design Dua Dog Bed. This beautiful handmade bed comes with a fitted pillow for sound doggy sleep.**Reward #6**
Room Decor & Accessories
In addition to our popular products we make room decor and accessories. This includes (Clockwise) Market Baskets (Reward #3), Mommy & Me Summer Totes, the Hidden Temple Laundry Hamper & Standard Laundry Hamper (Reward #5), Handwoven Fans (Reward #2).
Vintage Style Wicker
The most recent addition to our cooperative are the wicker and bamboo crafters. We are now making a beautiful vintage inspired line including bassinets. **Reward #12**
We started in a small village with 40 weavers, twenty experienced and one trainee assigned to each. We worked with the weavers to find out what would be a fair price for their work and what resources we could provide to make the work easier for them. Each Bassinet takes days to weave and the wage paid must reflect that. We use our group buying power to give members access to materials at cost. This further increases their earning power.
Our effort to compensate the weavers better for their work helped bring awareness in the weaving community and encourage weavers outside of our group to demand more for their work as well.
Faces of Impact
Our cooperative is creating sustainable impact in an age old industry by formalizing basket production and creating consistent and reliable employment. Design Dua gives independent artisans the opportunity to join a cooperative that provides training, materials, and access to large purchase orders.
Most of our artisans previously sold their products to market buyers, unsure of how much they will receive each week. They were also limited by how much materials they could buy on their own. They now have the opportunity to make as many products as time and ability will allow. We believe our community doesn’t need charity, but needs a chance to earn an income and provide for their families.
Many of our weavers are now so busy basket weaving that they hire farm hands to help them during farming season, creating even more jobs!
Why we need Investment
We currently work with two groups to make our products. One is our in house group stationed in our training center and another is a group of mostly women weavers working in their community center. We need a cash infusion that will help us upgrade both facilities to standardized factory operations. This will give us:
1. Ability to control quality at a higher level. Standardized operations will reinforce training and quality standards with artisans who are not used to strict quality standards or formalized production.
2. Create a comfortable environment for all of our weaving groups to work and a Children’s center for weavers who are also Moms.
3. Provide better tools and materials for all of our cooperative members. Our factory will serve as a central place for cooperative members to learn and advance. We will offer consistent access to tools and wholesale priced materials.
4. 24/7 Electricity for all of our weavers. The weavers in our training center were able to double their production capability by just having access to electricity. Our standardized facilities will make this possible for all members of our group.
5. Certification for all of our products. We are currently working on third party testing and certification for any of our products that requires it in the US.
Our Customers & Reviews
Reviews of our Products
I am Coretta Owusu, the Founder of Design Dua, and I work directly with 43 artisans to design and create the beautiful items that we sell. Additionally, I work with dozens of independent artisans to fulfill large orders. In addition to the artisans, I work with a dynamic team that works day and night to iron out all the details.
I spent the majority of my life in the United States, where I attended Rutgers University and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. I now work daily with our artisans to bring our products to life. I enjoy nothing more than creating change and opportunity every day. I am truly fulfilled and hope this project will be a great success for my entire team.
All of our rewards will be shipped within 2 weeks of the close of our campaign (Jul. 27th). You will be given a code immediately to go to a dedicated website and select the pattern/color of your choice. As soon as you have selected the item it will be prepared for shipment. For more pictures of the rewards, just take a look at our products above, each REWARD is noted.
Reward #1- For showing us your love and support we are creating a commemorative wall in our main facility which will honor every person who helped bring our project to life. $10 or More
Reward #2- You will receive an Intricately handwoven fan for use during the warm weather or for wall decor. Your name will also be engraved in our thank you wall. $25 or More
Reward #3– You will receive an intricately handwoven Market Basket. These are really popular for home decor. Your name will also be engraved in our thank you wall. $50 or More
Reward #4– You will receive a beautifully handwoven bicycle basket that easily detaches and becomes a shopping basket. Your name will also be engraved in our thank you wall. $70 or More
Reward #5– You will receive a Laundry Hamper in our Legends of the Hidden Temple style or with a flat cover. Your name will also be engraved in our thank you wall. $85 or More
Reward#6– You will receive one of our amazing dog beds with inner cushion. Your name will also be engraved in our thank you wall. $100 or More
Reward #7– You will receive our beautiful baby changing basket. Your name will also be engraved in our thank you wall. $100 or More
Reward#8– Early Bird Bilia Bassinet for Us, Canada, & Europe based backers. You will be able to select one of our amazing handwoven bassinets for your little one. Choice of Vegan Cloth or Leather handles. This includes shipping. Your name will also be engraved in our thank you wall.$130 or More
Reward #9– INTERNATIONAL Backers- Early Bird Bilia Bassinets for backers located outside of the US, Canada, or Europe. You will be given a code to select one of our Bilia Bassinets.Choice of Vegan Cloth or Leather handles. Your name will also be engraved in our thank you wall. $135 or more
Reward #10– After the early Bird sells out, The Bilia Bassinet. Handwoven for baby.You will be given a code to select one of our Bilia Bassinets.Choice of Vegan Cloth or Leather handles. Your name will also be engraved in our thank you wall. $145 or More
Reward #11– Design your own Bassinet and Medium Hamper by selecting from our range of colors and discussing patterns with our team. This is great for someone designing a nursery. Choice of Vegan Cloth or Leather handles.This reward is limited. Your name will also be engraved in our thank you wall. $215 or More
Reward #12– Grab one of the beautiful vintage bassinets from our wicker weavers and bring back nostalgia to your home. This beautiful bassinet will really light up your nursery. Your name will also be engraved in our thank you wall.$225 or More
Reward #13– You will be able to select one of our amazing handwoven bassinets for your little one. Choice of Vegan Cloth or Leather handles.This comes with a wooden stand. You will be able to select one of our amazing handwoven bassinets for your little one. $225 or More
Reward #14- We are building a children’s center within our facility to give the children of some of our weavers a safe place to relax while their Moms work. It will be fitted with a library of books as well as toys. We will name this center after you and place your name engraved at the entrance. $1500 or More
Reward #15- Come and visit us in Ghana. This includes a round trip economy based flight (from JFK, LHR, LGW, MUC, CIA, AMS), 5 night stay at Luxe Suites Hotel in Accra, a visit to our cooperative, as well as a guide to go with you to tourist destinations. $5000 or More
A community of growth and empowerment will be created through your support and our gratitude will be reflected in the beautiful products that we share with the world.
Follow us on Instagram for a vivid picture of our amazing journey!
Special Thank You to all the Mom’s who shared photos of their children using our products (Top-Bottom): @the.lotto.life @KayleighMcglynn @thefarmers_ @amyepeters @ozarkmamadeer @mickeywalker_nyc @livebeautifulmama @Pluswonderland
Risks and challenges
Traditionally these baskets are made in Ghana’s Upper East region. There are limited highly skilled weavers to make quality baskets in the styles that we design. Training will be extensive in order to grow. Additional funding will enable us to train more weavers, produce quality baskets on a larger scale, and bring production costs down. We have already trained over 40 artisans to make high quality items. Our ultimate goal is to transfer the skills to artisans/unemployed persons in other parts of the country.
During the rain season it is difficult to procure the grass needed to make our baskets. Additionally, it is difficult to dry the grass when there isn’t long periods of sunlight. We currently use fans to assist with drying when it rains. With our new factory we will have a drying room which will create an optimal environment for drying the grass in all seasons.
High Price of Quality Fair Trade
Unlike in other parts of the world, it is not cheap to produce high quality products at a fair wage. After paying the artisans, each basket must be accessorized with high quality materials that may not be produced in Ghana and must be imported. This makes the cost of production much higher than when producing similar products in a country that has a large manufacturing sector and easy access to materials. Additionally, we must educate our customers about our dedication to fair trade and quality in order for them to prefer our items over baskets purchased cheaply in villages. So far we have been successfully sharing lots of material with our customers about the work we are doing and how it is different.