My market research became obsolete within mere months following the American Made woven baby wrap startup boom. My pricing model turned out to be way off, (to say the least), and what started out as an attempt to make the most of a bad situation turned into a PR backpedaling nightmare. It was not my prettiest moment.
Don't even get me started on pre-orders. By popular demand, I opened up a pre-order for a design called Spangled. Prototypes came out flawless and things seemed to be going well. Then I got the news. There was a delay at the dye house. Weaving couldn't start until they had the yarn dyed. It was close to another 8 weeks. Did you know customers dislike delays almost more than business owners? And they can be quite vocal about it too, (and rightfully so). The wraps were finally woven and sent to our new local finishers.
"I started this business because I wanted mothers and fathers to be able to carry their infants and toddlers ergonomically, comfortably, and in style. Babywearing strengthens the bond between child and caregiver and I am honored to play even a tiny part in that."-Nancy Sunderland
Tread lightly down the startup road my friend. Prepare for the journey of lifetime, and avoid as many potholes as you can.
If you are currently pregnant, trying to become pregnant, adopting, want to be pregnant/adopt in the near future, or have had a child in the last year this event is for you, and we promise you won't want to miss this one!
We held this event once before in November 2014 and it was a huge success. This year 42 City Moms Blog Network sites across the country will be holding Bloom events at the end of April. This means we will be able to bring you amazing products from both National and Local companies in our swag bags and for the raffle.
We are excited to announce that our event will be held on April 30th at ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. The event will consist of amazing vendors who provide services or make products geared specifically to making motherhood, pregnancy and the first year of life easier and better. The morning will consist off brunch, table vendors providing information that you can speak with one-on-one, an expert panel who will answer your questions, a raffle to benefit the new Champ Lane play space for 0-6 years old at ECHO, unbelievable swag bags and more!
As a contributing writer and long time supporter of the Burlington Vermont Moms Blog, Poe founder, Nancy Sunderland is proudly one of the featured exhibitors and raffle donors!
Vermont is an incredible state with so many local companies geared specifically for parenthood and children, that this is going to be a home run all the way.
Tickets will go on Sale, Monday, March 28th at 9 pm.
In our most recent Newsletter, we announced some pretty big changes happening at Poe Wovens, the biggest being that we will no longer be selling woven wraps, and instead will be offering Ring Slings.
All Designs/Colorways will be released on Monday April 11th, 2016 @ 12:00pm EDT (see below for complete list of designs and colorways)
(sneak peaks coming soon!)
"Mom we want to go see Zootopia today!"
I have over 20 orders to ship. The kids are out of school for some unknown reason. They want to go see a matinee. The mailman comes at 1:00pm. How can I make everyone happy?
Let's go pack up some wraps kids! While my teenager busily worked on homework, I proposed a bargain with my younger brood: help mama with packing wraps, and we can go the movies.
We hadn't done a project together in a while, so it was fun. Abigail and Beau were on box duty. Vanessa was my box closer upper and taper. Laila was in charge of matching shipping labels to packing slips. Mom packed wraps and double checked orders. Every packing slip was signed by myself each of the kiddos. #MomWin
7:03am - I woke this morning to a handsome three year old ginger haired boy named Beau grumpily declaring that he had to go pee. Never-mind the fact that he walked down a hallway, flight of stairs and past two bathrooms along the way. Ok babe, knock yourself out. What time is it anyway? (checks cell phone, battery is dead, hopes for the best)
7:42am - Next step, get the tot and myself dressed, make coffee and hop in the car. My eldest daughter is in summer school for driver's ed, of course it's a 24 minute drive with her behind the wheel dutifully doing the speed limit or 3 -5 below.
8:50am - I'm home! Time to get to work, for all of us. I assign a couple simple chores for the kiddos: planting some flowers which had been marked "Free, take some!", at our local CSA farm share pick-up. Hubby drops toddler off at Meme's house.
9:30am - Work, work, work in my little home office off the living room: some fun and exciting tasks like choosing colorways, packing a few orders with daughter, some not so fun items like paying bills, filing paperwork, and placing vendor orders.
11:00am - Grandma arrives to help with the kids, hurrah! Be back soon mom. Pick up teenager from drivers ed, please please please can we drive boyfriend home from his lifeguard job, sure why not. Car needs gas, you're paying. Run a few more errands; drop off fabric to seamstress, bank, post office, corner store..
1:30pm - Quick (and late) lunch then change into farm clothes. Chopping first cut is done and it's time to cover the pile, AKA, throwing yucky nasty sludgey water filled tires over feed bunk tarp before rain comes. All hands on deck, quit you're whining.
4:15pm - Pile is covered, it started to rain, family is filthy. Home to shower and wash clothes.
4:45pm - Dinner with husband and family before he has to go back to barn to milk cows.
5:30pm - Rain cleared. Must cool off in the pool.
The rest is blurry. Somewhere in there I shut down the laptop, closed the office door. We spent time together as a family, got some work done, and likely even burned some calories. Nothing glamorous here on the farm .
9:30pm - "Time for bed kids!!" PJs on, brush teeth, kiss kiss, prayers, lights out. Want to watch a show on Netflix honey? Sure ok. He's snoring after 6 minutes. Typical.
10:40pm - Bedtime for mom & dad.
Two years ago I set out to create a small business producing classically designed, American Made woven baby carriers. As a mother of five children from toddler-hood to high school, and wife of a busy dairy farmer; my journey of entrepreneurship has not always been easy. In fact, it has yet to be as such.
From the early stages of raising capital, product development, supply chain management, PR, customer service and social media --obstacles have crept up at every bend. Valleys have been traversed, lessons learned, humility gained, skin thickened. I am grateful to my military training and experience in the Marine Corps for seasoning me with toughness, to my amazing children for peppering me with patience, to my husband for his strong and silent support, and most of all, to God, for seeing me through each and every struggle.
A year ago it looked like Poe Wovens might not survive another season. I had only one choice, to release the imagined grip of control I had on "the business" over to the man upstairs (in faith), and to trust. Entrepreneurship can lead one to a lonely yet crowded place. Only the tip of the ice burg of the dream has come to fruition, yet it is these little victories which sustain, motivate and inspire.
What is on the horizon for Poe Wovens in the months to come?
Come celebrate with us at the Good Beginnings Baby & Child Expo on Saturday, April 11th, 2015 from 10am-2pm at Berlin Elementary School.
Don't miss Rockin' Ron, the Friendly Pirate, train rides on Roaming Railroad, a maypole celebration, car seat safety checks, singing, games, 35+ fabulous vendors, and delicious food throughout the day.
There really is something for everyone! Wonderful door prizes will be given away all day, with a chance to win 2 grand prizes - a handmade wooden Adirondack chair and golf for four at Northfield Country Club.
*Poe Wovens door prize will be a Herringbone Lake woven scarf & Babywearing Consultation Gift Certificate!*
You are worth it! Share your passion and see it grow: Babywearing training honoring who you are, where you are, and where you want to go. Our course will give you the skills and support you need to help you start your amazing journey.
I had the pleasure of attending this course in January of 2014, it was fabulous experience and I received invaluable training, (and had tons of fun!)
Join us for a Babywearing Consultant Certification Course hosted by Nova Natural Toys and Crafts, and Good Beginnings of Central VT Joanna McNeilly from the Center for Babywearing Studies is coming to Montpelier, VT for a 30-hour babywearing consultant certification course from May 11-14th. The class will be held at Good Beginnings of Central Vermont.
Contact Marissa of Nova Naturals for more information: email@example.com
For doulas, childbirth educators, midwives, lactation professionals, nurses, doctors, massage therapists, yoga instructors, occupational therapists, chiropractors, babywearing enthusiasts....and you!
This course will prepare the participant to be able to:
• move away from seeing the carrier as just another product and focusing on the practice of babywearing.
• understand the history, current application of use, best methods of teaching, the common errors and questions regarding carrier use.
• see how baby carriers can be used to help facilitate Kangaroo care, breastfeeding, secure attachment, as well as the mental and physical development of the baby. • incorporate this new knowledge into their current practice or begin a new practice.
A few nitty gritty details:
• This class has pre-work that will need to be read in advance of the first day.
• This class has home-work scheduled for each night of the training.
• This class has scheduled breaks so you may plan for nursing and child interactions if needed.
• We reserve the right to cancel the class up to 10 days in advance, full refunds if we cancel.
• We understand that things come up and that you may need to cancel. If you cancel 2 weeks in advance of class you will get a full refund minus a $25. processing fee. No cancelations with in 2 weeks of class, but you may transfer your seat to someone else. There will be a $25 processing fee.
• if you need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability, you should contact us to schedule a conversation as soon as possible. During the conversation we can discuss the course format, anticipate your needs and explore potential accommodations.
About the Instructor, Joanna McNeilly
Joanna is mom to two fabulous kids and has been involved in the NY area babywearing scene since 2004. Through her work at Metro Minis (2008-2011) and her personal consultations over the years, Joanna has extensive experience working with new parents. This mass hands-on experience provides Joanna with an in-depth understanding of the true needs of both parents and those consultants who are working with them. She recently returned from the United States Institute of Kangaroo Care’s Annual Conference where she became a Certified Kangaroo Care Specialist.
*This program has been approved by Lamaze International for 23.5 Lamaze contact hour (LIN 13-10). This hour may be applied towards recertification as an LCCE educator under the learning competency of 2, 3, and 4.
Unlike in Aesop’s Fable, no one will be attacked by dogs, and we will not debate which venue is preferable, (city or country). As a rural country-dweller myself, I was excited to feature ways I have found babywearing to be beneficial.
But that only tells half of the story. I was also curious to note ways in which babywearing uniquely assists caregivers in the city, or as Aesop calls it, “the town”. Each has its own challenges, and each has its own majesty.
And so without further ado, I present, “City Mouse, Country Mouse, a Babywearing Tale”:
Living miles and miles from a metropolis presents its own set of roadblocks when it comes to child rearing.
One such dilemma for me are the winding and narrow dirt roads surrounding my home. Many a jogging stroller has tried to traverse these trails, I assure you, but my conclusion is that wearing my baby on my back is highly preferable to the constant jostling hither and to of a stroller. There are only so many potholes one can deftly maneuver around, and there can be only so many stops to adjust and realign wheels before this mama’s patience has run out.
Leaving the stroller home allows me to easily watch the road and wander into the pasture to visit the cows, or to meander into a meadow to pick wild flowers much more easily than with a stroller in tow. As opposed to the very limited view from most strollers, in a high back carry my little one can see all that I see with a simple gaze over mama’s shoulder, (unless of course he has been lulled to sleep by the rhythm and motion of the walk as pictured at right). What child doesn't long to experience the world as their parent?
When I do “go to town” with my brood of five, it’s usually a jam-packed itinerary filled with errands, shopping, stopping and going. Gas is not cheap, and time is money. If I’m going to drive 30-40 minutes to town, I want to accomplish as much as I can in that one trip. After about the third stop of wrestling with a stroller in and out of the trunk of the car or van, I’m about ready to add the thing to my husband’s metal scrap heap back at the farm. Babywearing while running errands allows me to move quickly in and out of the car, of parking lots, etc.
One more benefit of babywearing in the country, hanging clothes to dry. Ah yes, my least-favorite bore-of-a-chore turns into a fresh air escapade with flair in the summer months. My back yard has quite a slope (or grade), to it. Lining the rear of the yard is a cedar post fence with a strand, (or three), of barbed wire separating my lawn from the pasture, and a steep hill leading to a creek in the valley.
When I’m hanging clothes to dry on the line or taking them down, the last thing I want to concern myself with is where my tot is traipsing off to. With his intense love of trucks, tractors and balls, the farm can be all too enticing for an ambling toddler. Babywearing allows me to keep my bundle of joy safe and secure while I go about my chores. A stroller, I’m afraid might tip over or roll down the hill. They don’t call my husband’s farm “Rolling Acres” for nothing you know!
So there you have it, three ways this country mouse has found babywearing to be beneficial for both mama and baby.
New York Post contributor MacKenzie Dawson claims New York City is a terrible place to raise a baby, as a result, mainly of the difficulty in navigating the city with a stroller. On my limited trips to the city with a baby under the age of two, I maneuvered subways, sidewalks and even a statue of liberty ferry, all using woven wraps. I received nothing but complements and sweet looks, on my baby being wrapped, from both men and women alike, and across generations and cultures. (Pictured above is my son Beau and I on our one and only cab ride of the trip. Can you tell he was happy to be off the airplane?)
The subway system is for the most part, underground, hence the name. Therefore, to access the majority of the subway station one must traverse many a staircase and hallway. Elevators are a sparse and infrequent luxury. Our hotel was in the financial district, and all of my meetings were on 34th Street. Cab fare was, for the most part, out of my budget. Having my son wrapped up and secure either on my front or back, left me hands free and confident.
Though this was a business trip, we still did manage to squeeze in some sightseeing. A guided bus tour took us across the city, to the top of 30 Rock, and around the harbor to see the great lady herself. I was unencumbered by a clunky stroller and free to move about effortlessly, (and also to take ALL of the obligatory tourist pictures and selfie shots).
From JFK airport, and back to our little farmhouse, babywearing allowed me not only to go places I might not have gone before with my baby, but to build confidence in my ability as a mother to safely navigate just about any terrain and town, both country and city.
Motherhood does not come easily to us all, and it comes to us through a menagerie of different ways, biological birth, adoption, surrogacy. Many have to struggle with (and through) infertility, miscarriage and infant loss. Though the path may be different, the universal moment of having that baby, (or older child) in your arms brings us together.
A few observations I have made over the years: my tummy is not as firm as it once was. I don't wear make-up more than twice a month. I've gone from bikinis to tankinis. My style has become much more casual since I've become "Mommy", (AKA yoga pants and Hollister t-shirts), but that's ok. The murky waters of insecurity can bog a mama down. It's not easy for everyone to "come into their own" and find confidence in one's own skin.
This series, Babywearing Made Beautiful, seeks to address some of those issues, commonalities, as well as to help shed some light on the many beautiful aspects of babywearing, mothering, (note: Poe knows father's babywear too, though we might change the moniker to "handsome" for dad's!), and how the two have mingled. We will be interviewing women, (if you're a babywearing dad interested in this project, we would love to interview you, please email us!), of various ages from all over the world.
Today's story comes to us from Molly. Her gratitude, can-do attitude and steadfast devotion to family warm my heart and will warm your as well. Keep reading to learn more about the road Molly and her supportive (babywearing) husband took to parenthood.
1. Tell us a little about yourself: (name, where you live, family size, kids, occupation— SAHM is totally an occupation BTW, hobbies, unknown fact or funny story)
"My name is Molly. I live in a very small town in Wisconsin with my husband, Tyler and our son, Parker (3 years old). Right now I am a SAHM who watches children in my home on occasion. In the past I was a nanny. A few facts about me.. My husband and I were high school sweethearts. We got married at the age of 20, we both turn 30 this year. We also battled and won against infertility. It took us almost 4 years to have our son so keeping him close (ie babywearing) is so important to us. When I'm not babywearing or watching kids I love to read and I love to bake. I am also very passionate about breastfeeding."
2. Tell us a little about your mothering journey, have the infant and toddler years been easy or difficult for you, completely blissful or somewhere in the middle? Tell us about a challenge you overcame.
"Motherhood came very natural to me and so far it's been everything I've hoped for. I think the fact that I had to try so hard to have my son really set the tone for our relationship. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel completely blessed to have my son. I think one of my greatest parenting accomplishments to date was letting my son self wean from breastfeeding."
3. Since giving birth, have you struggled with maintaining a positive body and self-image or self-esteem? What has helped? What has hurt? "During pregnancy I really struggled with the changes my body was going through and I wasn't happy with how I looked. Since I've had Parker however I've embraced my new "mom" body. I'm proud of how strong it is and how it was able to feed my son for so long. I know one thing that has really helped me is buying clothes that fit my new body and flatter it. I also try to eat healthy and stay active."
4. How were you originally introduced to babywearing? Were you mentored/assisted by an experienced babywearer, educator or consultant? What were your initial thoughts on the practice then compared to now?
"I knew before I was even pregnant with Parker that babywearing is something I wanted to do. I did a lot of research online and joined a lot of facebook groups, like babywearing 102. There wasn't a local babywearing group when my son was born so I helped to start one. When I started babywearing I did it out of convenience since my son loves to snuggle but now I do it because I love to do it and because he loves it too."
5. What are your thoughts on the babywearing community, both online and locally? Have your experiences been pleasant? Does your area have a local babywearing group?
"I have had such a great experience with the babywearing community both online and off. Some of the girls I've met in our local group are now my close friends."
6. Would you consider yourself into “attachment parenting”? Which aspects of AP to you find fit well with your family and lifestyle? Which do not?
"I consider myself somewhat AP. My family co-sleeps and we breastfed full term. We also did BLW with our son and try to stick to an organic/natural whole foods diet. But we also believe in vaccinations and think they are extremely important for not only our family but everyone elses. We also didn't have the set up to cloth diapers so we used honest company, seventh generation, or pampers disposables."
7. Do you babywear often? During which activities do you most often babywear? How has babywearing affected you as a mother and caretaker of small children?
"Now that my son is turning 3 we don't wear as often as we did. He recently had influenza and I'm not sure if we would have survived without our carriers. More often than not these days my husband is the one to wear since Parker is getting a little heavy for me. We typically babywear while cooking and while shopping. It seems like those are the two times that our son needs a lot of attention and snuggles. I'm not sure that I could do my past nanny job without babywearing, especially when my son was small."
8. Though there is not much, more beautiful to a mother than the site of her newborn baby, which aspects of mothering do you find most beautiful? Rocking a baby sleep, reading books, kissing away boo boos? (It’s ok to choose more than one!)
"I love so much about parenthood. I love reading to my child, he likes to stoke my hair and sit on my lap while doing so. I love watching him sleep, he looks so peaceful. I love watching him grow and learn new things."
9. When you wear your baby, (in your carrier of choice), how does it make you feel? How does it make your child feel? Have others in your family joined in the babywearing fun?
"When I wear my son I feel like I can do anything. I love how close I feel to him and I know he loves it too since he requests uppies still. My entire family loves to babywear. I typically purchase wraps and carriers I know my husband will like."
10. And finally, what has babywearing meant to you? Does babywearing make you feel beautiful?
"Babywearing has meant so much to me. I love keeping my son close and babywearing makes that possible. I do feel beautiful when I babywear."
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Molly! That's so awesome that you helped to start a local babywearing group in your area, a resource for parents in your community for years to come! ~Nancy