I recently read something about small businesses. The caption was that when you buy from a small business you're not supporting a CEO to buy their third holiday home. You're supporting a Family. A son to get guitar lessons and a daughter to go to acting school. Our story as Baba Slings is all about family.
It all started with the birth of Sai, my second born. I had an incredible urge to carry my unborn child, I felt so connected to him in the womb and wanted to extend this beautiful mother-child bond. The whole concept of homebirth and attachment parenting really resonated with me. So I designed the first Baba Sling. After launching it at Woodford Folk Festival in 1999 I started selling Baba Slings at Eumundi Markets on the Sunshine Coast. Sai and his baby friends - my friends' children - became the first Baba Sling babies. I did everything with him in the sling! He lived in the Baba Sling. At the markets, he was tucked away breastfeeding as I helped customers fit their babies into the sling, and they didn't even know I was breastfeeding. I'd answer emails, make dinner, feed my horses, garden, go on family outings, all with baby Sai in the sling. Zach my 6 year old would come to the markets and grew up watching his Mama fit babies into slings and was part of regular trips to the seamstresses, who were Grandparents living in Noosa.
As the business grew I started doing trade shows and Sai would be sitting on my hip in the Baba Sling getting on and off flights, I'd breastfeed him on the plane to comfort him. Everything became possible because of the Baba Sling. I couldn't have fathomed having a baby and a young child, as well as running a startup business without the Baba Sling's assistance. Through the continued use of the sling with Sai I was able to perfect the design. Having a friend circle of new parents I was able to look at different body types. That was really important for me as I wanted everyone to be able to use the sling. I'm pretty pleased to say that the Baba Sling can fit anyone!
We were one of the first Australian Baby Wearing businesses, along with Hug-a-Bub, and people responded so well to the design and really loved it. We'd go to Parents Babies and Children's Expos and people would surround our tiny booth trying to get a look in at this new product. There was a real hype! People would come up to me in the street and be amazed that there was a baby in the sling! We played a big part in pioneering babywearing in Australia. In America it was already quite a well known concept, thanks to experts such as Dr William Sears.
Today there are many baby wearing companies, but this simple design, based on ancient tribal practice, has stood the test of time. Now, going on 17 years down the track, I am having an incredibly proud mother moment of welcoming my son Zachariah and his wife Kasia into the family business. After they travelled around Europe for 2 years they are now based in Byron Bay and with their fresh energy they have stepped into the Baba Slings family business. It's funny how history repeats itself. I was 22 when I started the business and now Zach, aged 22, will probably be assisting you in wearing the Baba Sling at the next PBC Expo! He's had plenty of practice carrying all his siblings in the sling over the years. I'll never forget going to get lunch at the markets and leaving Zach to mind the the stall at 10 years of age. When I came back he had a mum all fitted up with her baby in the sling showing her how to breastfeed! So adorable! Another proud mama moment.
We have a massive extended family and what's been so incredible for me over the years has been watching everyone use the Baba Slings and have such beautiful connection with their little ones. This fills my heart with so much joy and happiness. The fact that so many families are benefitting from the use of the Baba Sling, that is the most amazing feeling.
So there you have it folks, that's us in a nutshell!
Director at Baba Slings