March 28, 2016

Jublii Creations Business Spotlight

The first time that I had ever heard of a Jublii carrier, I was in my local cloth diaper store getting a new diaper. They were holding a ‘local vendors’ event and Jublii Creations was there; I walked right by them. I told myself that I had SSCs (soft structured carriers) and I just didn’t need another one. Another month went by and I found myself back in the store, which was hosting as a drop point for carrier donations for Carry the Future, dropping off carriers that I had collected in my area. And there it was: a Jublii standard size tester. I eyeballed it, interested but no, I still didn’t need another carrier.
Another couple months passed before I was back in the cloth diaper store and as I was waiting for a friend to meet me, I decided to try it on. It couldn’t hurt to wear it around the store while I was waiting, could it? Oh yes, it could. I knew immediately that I needed to share this with my local babywearing group- those other caregivers just HAD to try this. I hadn’t tried a SSC that was as comfy as this one was. The padding in the shoulders and hipbelt were amazing! So I brought the tester home with me and brought it to the next couple of group meetups and every play date that I could arrange. I knew that I needed to get one for my group and for myself!
First things first: I needed to look into who Jublii Creations really was and the answer turned out to be very simple. Jublii was created by a local Utah mom who was not only passionate about designing and creating these carriers but she was also certified nationally (BCIA and ASTM) to do so.  Child carriers are upheld to very strict safety standards and getting certified to make them is not an easy feat, so to be a small company and to have those certifications is a feat worth promoting. Julie also hand-makes each and every single Jublii carrier, so the hard work that has gone into being certified is clear in every stitch.  What began as a DIY endeavor to create a comfortable SSC for herself has turned into a small local business that is getting their name out into the babywearing world in a big way.

For me as a buyer and promoter of products, being local is also a key factor. Whether that is local to my city, state, or to the U.S. in general, I am a lover of all things local. Also being a wearing caregiver in the babywearing industry is an important consideration because someone who actively wears their children will have a better perspective about how things need to fit, the ease of which they should work, and how to make them aesthetically pleasing as well as affordable.  Someone who has never worn a child before may not understand all of these aspects quite as well.

To top all of this excitement off, I finally had the opportunity to meet Julie in person at an expo. She is very sweet and approachable, and it is easy to smile around her. She readily took a minute to chat with me and answer all of my questions.  It was great to meet the lady behind the business and see just how thrilled she was to share her vision with other caregivers.

** Photos courtesy of Jublii Creations facebook page

 ~ Jessica,

March 15, 2016

Ethos Babywearing Business Spotlight

Ethos is a Greek word used to describe the nature or disposition of a person to another person. It is an ‘ethical appeal’ which someone uses to persuade someone else about positive aspects of their character, usually shown in a charitable way. It is also the perfect name for a business that not only makes it easy to afford great quality work, it is also a perfect name for one that creates a product that benefits multiple charitable organizations.

Ethos Babywearing is a Northern Utah based company, created in 2014 by Whitney, a first time mom and savvy business lady. Being fortunate to have friends who wore their babies, she was already introduced to the babywearing world before her son arrived. However, she very quickly noticed that babywearing was not always an entirely accessible nor affordable endeavor, though it was a much needed one. So she decided to journey into the world of creating a line of wraps that would meet both of these criteria for all babywearers; her goal was not to have a million dollar company but to spread the benefits of babywearing around her locally, statewide, continentally and globally.  Hoping to make a difference in the world of babywearing, Whitney decided to create affordable, accessible wraps that would someday become a household name.

Their all cotton and cotton/BreatheBlend™ machine woven lines are great all around wraps that can take the workhorse load of daily wearing, yet at the end of the day have simple wash routines that make them easy to care for and maintain (BreatheBlend™ is the company’s own blend, one that will vary slightly depending on the wrap; the BreatheBlend™ used in Cascade Coral is a cotton/polyester blend, for example). This is a line that I would wrap with in the parking lot, being unafraid of dragging the tippy tails through the mud because I know that I can just toss it in the washer later that evening. These wraps are all incredibly thin in hand, yet surprisingly very comfortable on the shoulders, not digging in as you would expect from first feel of such a thin wrap. They are great for both quick ups around the house or long walks through the neighborhood. Both single layer and multiple layer passes work well and they can carry newborn to toddler. It’s no wonder that these wraps are ideal for donating- they can work for everybody!

As for charities, Whitney says that she knew from the birth of the company that they would give back. “We didn't see a lot of wrap companies doing it at the time, and we wanted to be different. We chose the charities after each wrap was designed, seeing what spoke to us about the design or something that happened during the design phase that inspired the release.” Each and every wrap of Ethos Babywearing benefits a charitable organization (with the exception of ‘Lost in Translation’, which the company does not profit from in any way, but they do donate to local babywearing group Lending Libraries). Every single one. I know of no other wrap company off-hand where every wrap benefits part of a community. Many donate some and some donate many, but no other donates with ALL.
Their first wrap, Dusky Argyle, is 100% cotton and has benefited the Carrying On Project. The Carrying On Project is a non-profit organization that matches donated carriers of many types to military families who otherwise are unable to get a carrier on their own. The goal of this organization is to help create secure attachments through babywearing when deployments (and injuries) would otherwise make life very difficult on the service members and the families left behind. For the caregivers who remain stateside during a deployment, it can be tough playing the role of mom & dad (whether by the other parent, grandparent, guardian, etc.) and children can feel easily ‘abandoned’ by the parent(s) who have had to go. Being able to carry them close helps both caregiver and child feel attached and safe. Babywearing can become the eye of the storm that disrupts their daily lives.

Manhattan Sundown and Manhattan Skyward are also 100% mercerized cotton and both benefit a homeless shelter for women and children in the Bronx, called Siena House. Created in 1990, Siena House is a temporary residence for homeless single mothers trying to find work and affordable living. The House works to empower these women through independence and showing them their self-worth. Babywearing not only holds a key to the physical aspects of emotional attachment, but it provides these mothers with the practicality of being hands free to deal with daily life. It allows them to be self-reliant at a point where they may not quite feel like they can be, relying on others. Ethos wraps will continue to go a long way towards continuing to empower these mothers as they move forward in their lives.

Solace Vesper is both endearing and heartbreaking all at once. After hearing of the multiple losses of 2 dear friends, Whitney was inspired to name her newest wrap in honor of the memory of those lost and for the perseverance of those left behind. “Solace, which we named the wrap's pattern, means comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness.  Vesper, which we named the wrap's colorway, means evening prayer: a representation of the feverish nighttime pleas into the darkness.  This wrap is dedicated specially to the mothers who have lost a baby, but there are so many losses that deprive us of someone to hold. This wrap is for the fathers of those babies, too. It is for the grandbabies who have lost grandparents, and the grandparents who have lost grandbabies. Solace for the parent who has lost his or her partner. Solace for the mother who grieves the loss of the dreamed-of birth. Solace for the parent who has lost a parent. For the loss of a self that existed before a new chapter began. For the grievance of the loss of a relationship that ended. For the parents who grieve a brother or sister: an aunt or an uncle their babies won't know.” Solace Vesper benefits Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a non-profit organization that provides remembrance photography services to families who have experienced the loss of a baby.

Cascade, the newest line at Ethos, is an innovative wrap where the benefits will go to an organization that is more widespread than mothers and children. One that hits close to home for the founder, The Mastocytosis Society is a nonprofit organization that promotes the education, research, and advocacy of a rare, debilitating, and almost completely invisible disease. This disease is multi-symptomatic, with side effects ranging from bone pain and widespread inflammation to sleeplessness and exhaustion. Whitney states that cascade means “a process whereby something, typically information and knowledge, is passed on”, and by advocating this worthy cause through the promotion of this new wrap, she and Ethos Babywearing are continuing to do just that. Cascade. "A process whereby something, typically information or knowledge, is passed on."


 Ethos’ handwoven line is cotton and banana silk, all handspun in Nepal.  As with all handwovens, they going to cost more out of pocket than their budget line.  “Our handwovens benefit our artisans' guild in Nepal, which has a charitable mission following the two major earthquakes that rocked the country in early 2015. They have built community toilets and sanitary facilities, community kitchens, temporary and permanent housing, schools, and delivered countless quantities of food and water to stricken areas.” By buying an Ethos handwoven, you not only get the benefits that come with it (cush, softness, the individual artisan’s skill that goes into creating it) but you help to support fair trade, needed community service projects, and the continuation of a timeless tradition that also creates work in an area that has come upon hard times. Maiti Nepal is one such organization in Nepal that can benefit from weaving work; young woman and girls who are rescued from human trafficking can learn a new craft as they try to begin life anew, free from oppression. Whitney saw this need and strives to fill it wherever she can.
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Overall, Ethos Babywearing is a phenomenal wrap company with values that go far beyond beauty and profit. They have created beautiful wraps, yes, but they are helping to create a more beautiful world through kindness and fairness, and are paving the way for other entrepreneurs in the babywearing world to hold themselves to a higher standard of accountability and affordability for the everyday caregiver.
 ~ Jessica,
** Photos courtesy of Ethos Babywearing website

March 11, 2016

The Basics of Babywearing

The Basics of Babywearing

Many caregivers have, in some way or another, heard of babywearing. They may know someone who does it or have seen someone at the grocery store doing it. Those people rave about it when you ask them and make it look so effortless. They’ll go at lengths to tell you how it’s helped them with a colicky baby, a screaming teething toddler, cuddle a fevered little one, and given them free hands on those days when babies just want to be held. They’ll tell you stories about how easy it was to navigate an airport stroller-free, to bypass the stroller staging spot at Disney World and get right in line, and how grocery shopping became exponentially easier when you can wander away from the cart whenever you need to and not worry about a child toppling out. They will probably recommend you to a local babywearing group (Really? They have groups for this stuff?! Yes!) or spout off the name of their favorite Youtube tutorial.  They will fervently tell you that it is absolutely worth it and insist that you give it a try.

You will probably decide to look into it a little, before you commit to going to a group meeting. You hit the Google Search button and suddenly what seemed so simple is now a minefield of the most confusing information. Plenty of how-tos, dos and don’ts, this versus that. Machine woven. Size 6. Handwoven. 3.2 meters. SSCs. Load bearing straps. Ladder lock buckles. Double Hammock. Rebozo. Stretchy wraps. Homemade. Ring Slings. Middle markers. Hip scoot. Superman!!

 Isn’t it just wrapping a giant table cloth around your body and tying your kid to you?!

It seems that way, in the overwhelming wealth of information that the internet gives you. This may be why that sweet caregiver recommended the local group. Sometimes, it’s simply easier to understand something physical from witnessing a simple demonstration in person. There is a wealth of knowledge out there and local groups that are run by experienced babywearing parents/grandparents with a vested interest in passing along that knowledge, along with the love of wearing your baby. Though, it is possible to be self-taught; there are many great tutorials on Youtube from experienced caregivers who teach you how to wrap and wear one-on-one, in the comfort of your own home.  If you get nervous learning new things in front of others, this may be the path for you!  Wrap You in Love, Wrapping Rachel, Twice Loved & Modern, and Babywearing Faith are just a few of the more well-known names in the how-to Youtube tutorial world.

But before you get to all of that, there are a few terms that are great to know that will inform you better in the onslaught of information:


Carrier Types- there are MANY options in the babywearing world, as far as carriers go. All have varying levels of simplicity and difficulty, and your choice should solely be based on what you feel the most comfortable using. I will name only a few, to stay that overwhelming feeling, and I will list them by ‘Best for Size/Weight’ as they are most known for. Note: almost all carriers can be used for multiple stages of babywearing, this is simply a quick reference guide.

Ø  Stretchy Wraps- You see these in practically every chain store that you walk in to. Moby, K’tan, Happy Baby, Boba, (etc). These are long lengths of fabric that have a lot of stretch to them, like a tshirt when you pull on it with both hands. They can be pre-tied before going out, which can be especially nice when you are first learning and it takes you 30 minutes to get it situated before you leave the house! These types of carriers are generally inexpensive and are great for the beginning stages of babywearing with small infants. Many experienced babywearers have found that once their baby hits about 15lbs that their baby became too heavy for a stretch wrap and they were on the lookout for another carrier. Though many manufacturers state that the wraps can be used upwards of 35lbs, many caregivers find that the stretchy material begins to sag under the weight and it is difficult keeping the knot safely in place.

Ø  Ring Slings- These can be made from either machine woven or hand woven wrap material. The former, because it can be mass produced, will be less expensive [Q1] than their handwoven counterparts. These can be used immediately, just as the stretchy wraps, but unlike the former, they can be used well into the toddler stages. They consist of less fabric and vary in texture, depending on the materials used. They will not, however, have the same stretch that the aforementioned wraps have. They are easy to haul around and comfortable while wearing. You can find these on many Buy/Sell/Trade groups on Facebook or directly from companies and manufacturers, such as Marsupial Mamas, Natibaby, or Tekhni Wovens, to name a few well known places/brands.

Ø  Wraps- here is where things get a little more technical. Wraps come in varying lengths and fabrics. They also come in an array of beautiful colorways, patters, and designs. The first rule with buying a wrap (or anything that you intend to babywear in) is to make sure that it is aesthetically pleasing to you. It sounds trivial, but it is very important. After all, you are not likely to wear things that you think are ugly and getting a great deal on an ugly (to you) wrap is a waste of money if you are not inclined to wear it after the fact. Secondly, sizes. You will need to figure out what kind of wrapping you’d like to do. Will you want to go out for long periods of time in it or just for quick, short trips? If the former, then you will probably be more comfortable in a longer size. If the latter, then a shorter size will work well for you. This is where a local group really comes in handy. They tend to have ‘Libraries’ that have many different sizes of wraps/carriers that you can test out, to see what will suit your needs best. It is a great option when you aren’t looking to put forth a lot of money when you are unsure of what you will like. Also, many of the caregivers in the group are usually more than happy to let you take their wraps for a test drive! Then there are fibers. All cotton blends are the most common and easiest to maintain when it comes to washing instructions. But there are many others- wool or wool blends, tencel blends, repreve blends, linen and linen blends, cotton and cotton blends, etc. The list can go on, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, depending on your criteria (what is easiest to wash? What sells quickly? Would I want to get this wet or muddy? Etc.) Starting out with 100% cotton is usually the best way to go for anyone beginning their wrapping journey and wanting to make sure that wrapping is the right choice for them and their little one.

Ø  Mei Tai- This type of carrier has the adaptability of a wrap but with a panel and hip belt structure like a soft structured carrier (SSC). It tends to lift the child higher on the back, versus the low sitting backpack style of an SSC. It is also a great option for expecting moms, as it can easily be tied off above the belly, taking pressure away from the pelvis. A very simple version can be bought from some stores such as the Infantino brand from Target, or fancier ones such as the Fidella Fly Tai can be purchased off-line or from local boutiques. 

Ø  Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs)- These are probably the most well-known type of carrier on the market today. You can walk into Target, Buy Buy Baby, and Babies R Us and walk out with a ‘clip carrier’. They resemble an odd backpack full of webbing, buckles, and fabric that may seem at once more familiar and comforting than anything else on the list. After all, who didn’t carry a backpack at one point in their lives? All of these come with instruction manuals and very easy to use. Any “store line” brands such as Ergo and Boba are a great value buy and both are sturdy enough to last through multiple children. They do not, however, hold a resale value and you can usually find them on sale for half of their new-in-package price on a Buy/Sale/Trade group, on Craigslist, or at local garage sales. There are other companies that fall into ‘high end’ carriers, such as Tula and Jublii, that are going to cost a little more and can usually sell later for a market value higher than the purchase price! Whichever brand of SSC that you get, they are easy to adjust for anyone in the family to help out wearing your little one.

Ø  “Other” carriers- there are other types of carriers that are not quite as well-known but are equally loved and amazing. Onbus, podaegis, and even a muslin blanket can be used for babywearing! Once you dive in, finding different styles, fabrics, and prints (etc) can become very addicting!!

While this is not an all-inclusive list of ‘whats’ or ‘how-tos’, it is at the very least a starting point for anyone mildly interested in giving babywearing a try. It can be fun and discouraging, highly entertaining and sweat inducing, and at the end of the day you can look back on your adventures with wonder, remembering those little neck hugs from behind and watching that little face snuggled against your chest fast asleep. It is an experience that can be born out of convenience or a suggestion for helping a NICU preemie thrive (known as Kangaroo Care). There are many reasons for why, just as there are many types of carrier and the ways that they can be worn. Whatever your reason and however you choose to carry, the experience will bring you your own stories and you may just find yourself telling another caregiver about it at the grocery store. J


March 4, 2016

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