It’s time for another wonderful babywearing interview and giveaway!
Have you ever tried a pouch baby sling? They are, by far, the easiest baby carriers to use. Completely fuss-free, they are adjusted easily, without any straps, buckles, bulky fabric, or complicated tying methods. Slinglings pouches are oh-so-beautiful, with tons of fabric choices, ranging from classically cute to hip and sophisticated. Slinglings customer service policy is excellent! Since pouches must be sized for an individual wearer, they will gladly exchange any new-condition pouches for another size, no questions asked. Please enjoy this interview with Sara Gower, founder and owner of Slinglings. Read on for details on how to win your own Slinglings pouch!
On the Slinglings website, Sara has written a wonderful account of how Slinglings got its start. Here is an excerpt:
“When our daughter came along in 2005, she LIVED in my pouches. Having an older son made it necessary to wear Katie on my body while tending to him. My husband coined the nickname “slingling” for her, as in, “one who lives in a sling”. It was on a vacation in July 2005, traveling around the Pacific Northwest, that he decided that I should start a business selling my slings. He was so surprised at the attention that a baby in a sling attracted. People stopped us on the streets to ask where they could buy one. He also hadn’t thought about the fact that if Katie had been in a stroller, we wouldn’t have been able to do half of what we did on that vacation! We went hiking up mountain trails with Katie sleeping in a sling, while we watched other parents with strollers turn around when it got too rough. We waded in the frigid waters off the Washington coast while other parents with babies stayed up by their cars with their babies bundled in car seats. We played miniature golf with our son while Katie watched from the sling. Steve even had Katie in a sling while playing pinball with Nicholas.One week later after arriving back home and settling in, Steve had bought the domain name Slinglings.com and our business was born. Steve is a programmer so he immediately went to work on our website.
Katie was such a happy slingling that I decided ‘Every baby should be a Slingling’. Our goal is to make parenting easier and babies happier.”
And thus, Slinglings was born! Isn’t that a wonderful story?
Now, on to my questions:
Andrea: Slinglings offers so many wonderful fabric choices. Could you tell me a
little bit about your fabric selection process?
Sara: Our most recent batch of fabrics were designed and printed exclusively for us. We started the process in 2007. We put up polls with many different fabrics swatches on our website for customers to vote on for several months. Once the basic designs were picked out, then the colors had to be picked…which may have been harder than picking the designs! We finally decided on 3 designs, 2 of which are available in 2 colorways, for 5 exclusive fabrics total. It was an expensive and long process, but all 5 fabrics have done really well! Two of our best selling fabrics are Apollo and Azul, which my husband designed and we chose the colors for together.
When we first started, we bought any (and I do mean ANY) suitable fabric that we could find at a reasonable price, whether it was at local fabric stores, online fabrics stores, or from fabric wholesalers. We really made some mistakes in our fabric selections in the first year. We still have some mistake fabrics hanging around on our website.
Andrea: Why pouch slings?
Sara: They are easy, quick to put on and take off. Compact to fit in any bag. The hardest part is finding your correct size! It is really common for new sling users to wear a pouch too loose, so half the battle is just teaching people how they should actually fit. Pouches are also lower in cost than many other baby carriers, and they are often referred to as the “gateway baby carrier”, because many parents start with a pouch, and then go on to other more advanced, more expensive, or more supportive carriers.
Andrea: What is the best thing about owning a babywearing company?
Sara: I love meeting with local customers and getting to wear their babies! I am done having babies, my youngest is three-and-a-half, so this gives me a chance to hold and wear tiny babies again. When I can’t meet with customers, I love seeing pictures and hearing about how our slings have helped them. I also love the flexibility that owning my own businesses gives me and my family. Both my husband and I work at home and we can work almost any schedule we like, around our children’s schedules.
Andrea: What is the hardest/most challenging thing?
Sara: For me, the hardest part of owning a babywearing company is trying to teach customers how to use their new carriers by email or phone. I truly wish that I could meet with more customers in person, especially for pouches, because they are much easier to size in person.
It is very hard to work around our two kids sometimes. We have a seven-year-old son, Nicholas, and a three-year-old daughter, Katherine (Katie). They don’t understand that even though their parents are right there with them, we can’t necessarily drop everything and get them a snack or make them chocolate milk right when they want it! It is a struggle to get them to respect the time that we need to accomplish what we need to do in order to support our family. We have recently moved our business out of our home finally, into a warehouse about a mile away. I thought that I would hate having to “go to work”, but it is so much more efficient and relaxing to go there, get what I need to do DONE, and then go home to my family. I still do all of my computer work at home, but almost all other work is done at the warehouse.
Andrea: I actually discovered Slinglings through the No Mother Left Behind
website. Could you tell me a bit about Slinglings’ charitable donations?
Sara: In addition to No Mother Left Behind, we also donate to sling “lending libraries”, La Leche League groups, Attachment Parenting International groups, and other similar groups. All of these groups are non profit organizations that generally promote sensitive, attentive parenting and breastfeeding. Babywearing is a great tool in facilitating attachment between baby and parent, and encourages frequent, extended breastfeeding. We have worked with a few hospitals and county health departments, offering higher than normal discounts on our slings, so that they can provide low income new moms a sling at no cost if they would like one. Instead of the “formula diaper bags” that so many get in the hospital after giving birth, they get items that promote breastfeeding and attachment.
Andrea: What is your best piece of advice for parents who are new to babywearing?
Sara: Have patience when you and your baby are trying out a new carrier. It takes time and practice for both you and the baby to get accustomed to babywearing. New parents often buy a sling, try it once, then return it saying that their baby cried when they put him in. If I could meet with every customer in person, I could show them just how much their baby will love being worn. It’s often the parent’s inexperience and tension that causes the baby to cry; babies can sense it! When I calmly and expertly put their baby in a carrier, the baby is generally so content. I have never met a baby that didn’t like being worn. It’s just a matter of finding the position that the baby likes best (usually upright against the wearer’s chest) and giving the baby time to get used to being in the carrier.
Second piece of advice, wear your baby high and snug! Your back and shoulders will thank you. It is really common for new users to wear any carrier too low and loose. Even Baby Bjorns that I see being worn out in public are usually worn too low. Baby’s bottom should be at your belly button! When the baby is in an upright position, you should be able to easily kiss the top of your baby’s head.
Thanks, Sara, for sharing your advice and the story of your wonderful product.
I would like to congratulate Sara on the purchase of AttachedToBaby.com! Surf on over there to see some more great baby products!
Sara has graciously agreed to sponsor the giveaway of one in-stock Slingling. To enter this giveaway, click over to Slinglings. Then, come back here and leave a comment below, stating which Slingling you like best.
To Obtain Extra Entried for all This week’s Babywearing Giveaways, you can do one or all of the following things:
- Blog about the Babywearing Bonanza
- Grab my Babywearing Bonanza Button (see my sidebar) and place it in your sidebar
- Email five people about the Babywearing Bonanza, and Cc me at: wamcmann(at)telebeep(dot)com
If you choose to earn extra entries, be sure to let me know, so I can give you credit for your hard work!
This giveaway ends on September 10, 2008 at 11:59 p.m. CST.