Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rexburg Porter Park Celebrate Youth

What a fun time.  Nothing like bringing all the kids down for a fun FREE day in the park!

Marie and James in the Boba:

Jentri and Kylan in their Ergo (I think they live in that thing and she is the queen of tricking it out!)

Our awesome booth:

We're working on a banner, but in the mean time, a Wrapsody works just fine.

A couple mei tais in the breeze (pink Kozy and black Baby So Smart)

FYI, our co-president, Angela, is due any day now.  She looks so great!  And sporting an Angel Pack!

This totally made my day.  A little monkey-wearing.  And TWIN monkeys no less!

And some cowboy wearing, too!  We love cowboys! 

That mei tai is made by Sweet Slings and it's really quite fabulous!

Proof that we were there and having a great time in our Ellevill!

What fun spreading the babywearing love!  Come see us at a meeting soon!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beware of fake carriers!

Recently BCIA (Baby Carrier Industry Alliance) released a warning against fake carriers.  One of the contributers to the warning was Hamilton Radcliffe of TogetherBe.  He and his wife Melissa came and visited us at a meeting in Rigby recently and we love them and their products.  But apparently they are awesome enough and original enough that someone, most likely out of China, has copied their design and is making an inferior product and is selling it to unsuspecting parents.

Unfortunately, TogetherBe is not the only company that is having trouble with the fake copies of their designs.  Ergo, Hotsling and Moby are also dealing with it. 

There are several issues here.  First, it's illegal.  These fake companies are not only stealing the design, they are stealing the logo, the photos and packaging design.  And they are selling many of these fakes under the real brand name.  Others, like TogetherBe, they have re-branded and claimed it's being made by another company.

The products they are making are inferior.  Ergo, Hotsling, Moby and TogetherBe all make a great product that have great reputations.  These copies are not safety tested and the fact that the people making them are making fakes in the first place should be an indication of how much they don't care for your baby's safety.

At the Rexburg meeting this month a mother brought in her fake Ergo. It came from the site  Compare that site to, the real Ergo Baby site.  Yes, the images are they same, but it's pretty easy to steal images.

So here's how the carriers compare.  On the left is the Galaxy Gray Ergo from our lending library.  On the right is the fake Ergo--that claims to be an organic, but I highly doubt it's anywhere near organic.

And the flip side.

One of the most obvious differences is the labels on the flip side.  Here is the real label:

Pretty standard label.  It meets all the labeling standards, I'm sure. It's even in a couple different languages.  Also notice the address . . .

And the fake label:

Notice the typo.  "Never nubuckle . . . "  HUGE red flag!  Ergo has been doing this for long enough now that they aren't going to let something like that get past them.  And the fake label has no address or contact information.  Another HUGE red flag!  Labeling standards require an address. 

There is also a slight difference on the woven label.  Here is a real Ergo Organic label:

And the fake:

These are all very minor difference in comparison to the quality difference between the two carriers.  The fake Ergo was inferior in quality to the point that it was not even close to the same carrier as the real Ergo.  The fabric was different, the webbing was different, the buckles were different and the stitching was sloppy.  There have been reports of straps ripping and buckles breaking on the counterfeit carriers.  In fact, Hamilton Radcliffe of TogetherBe easily ripped a strap of the fake FreeHand mei tai he bought to test.

You cannot tell from the photos on the website if the carriers are fake or not. The website photos are the same photos as the real site because that's where they were stolen from. Even the packaging is copied. 

Bottom line is that if you are looking for a great baby carrier, you are most likely looking for a good deal as well.  However, price should be a huge red flag for you.  Ergo, like many reputable companies out there, has very strict pricing policies and they rarely go on sale.  So if you do find a brand new Ergo for $78, it's most likely a fake.  Ebay is not the best place to buy them, either.  The best thing to do is go to the manufacturer's website and find the retailers through there.  Do your research.  Ask around.  Call the real company.  Talk to us about where to get your carrier.  Don't get a fake and let the criminals take your money in exchange for a questionable product just to save a few bucks.  The real thing is worth the extra money and then some.

If  you are like me, you are super picky when it comes to who you trust with your children.  The same should be true of who we trust when we carry our children. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Policies Explained

Recently Idaho Babywearers became an official BWI chapter and changed their name to BWI of Southern Idaho.  With that exciting change, we also launched our new policies.  What appears to be lots of changes really isn't.  It's lots of what we already have been doing in a neat little written out package.  And since we decided to focus on our policies at our August meetings, we also thought we'd explain them some here, too.

We strive to maintain a lending library of carriers that are current models, affordable and from reputable manufactures.   Nothing may be more irritating than falling in love with a product and find that it is no longer available or super hard to find or $500--or all three.  We also have some industry experience and know many of those in the business.  Therefore we do try to support the folks we know are good folks.  

Meeting attendance is free. Trying out a carrier at a meeting is free. Checking out a carrier to take home and try for a month is free.  As an advocacy group, we think this is important.  We do fundraisers instead of charging for our services.  We encourage you to support us in those efforts!

Our library is meant as a "try before you buy" resource. It is NOT meant as a "borrow instead of buy" resource.  As a group we strive to maintain the library to the standards stated above.  One of the ways we do that is by supporting babywearing businesses, and they support us in a way.  So, we encourage you to support those businesses by purchasing their awesome products because in all honesty, we only have awesome carriers in our library.

To keep the carriers available to people who want to try them, you can only check out a specific carrier model once every six months. Example: you cannot check out a Red Moby one month and the Twilight Moby the next month. However, you CAN check out a red Moby one month and a Wrapsody stretch the next.  We have people who come to meetings in order to check out specific carriers.  But if someone checked out that carrier for the fourth month in a row (or hasn't returned it and it's overdue), they can't even try it at the meeting.  This kind of defeats the purpose of our group and we need our carriers available to the next prospective parent or caregiver. 

You are only allowed to check out one carrier at a time. Not one carrier per meeting.  One carrier at a time.  If you go to one meeting and check out a carrier and two weeks later go to another meeting and return that carrier, you may check out another carrier.  If you think you need two carriers, bring your husband.  We love having guys at our meetings and are thrilled when they want to check out carriers!

You must attend a meeting in order to check out a carrier. While we love what we do and we love babywearing, we are also volunteers.  Every month we carve time out of our busy schedules to run meetings and we ask the same of you.  We are happy to help, but these are our personal boundaries and they keep us happy with our decision to volunteer our time.

As an official chapter of Babywearing International (BWI) we are required to encourage BWI membership. To do that, after your first two check-outs you must join BWI and pay the membership fee in order to check out a third carrier. Membership is good for a year. You are still able and encouraged to attend meetings and try carriers at meetings without joining BWI.  In our experience, it is quite rare that a person coming to a meeting and looking for a carrier does not find one they love within two check-outs.  If after two checkouts they cannot find what they want and cannot afford the membership fee, they can still try carriers for free at meetings.  By joining BWI you are supporting babywearing advocacy both on a local level and on an international level.  It's a win/win situation for everyone.  And quite affordable.

Our leaders are subject to these same policies. We pay the fees and are limited to one carrier at a time and we are also on the hook for replacement if we lose or ruin it. 

If a carrier is lost or stolen or damaged while in your possession, you are responsible for the full replacement value.  Quality baby carriers like the ones in our library are not inexpensive.  And they are worth every penny.  But as a group we work hard to be able to put them in your hands.  We aren't asking you to treat them as if they are gold.  We are asking you to be respectful of them.  Please think twice before taking them camping or giving your child a red sucker while they are in the carrier or even throwing it on the floor of your car.  We know that you have a life, but we also know that some of our carriers have been damaged because of misuse and abuse.  In fact, at a recent leaders meeting we examined several carriers that had been stained or otherwise damaged. 

Here is Frances, a Wrapsody stretch that now has a hole in it the size of a quarter. 

The hole started as a small puncture, but then a finger went through it.  This particular carrier is valued at $75.  Here's a picture of it in comparison to the width of the wrap.

Frances is no longer a carrier that we can lend out because of safety issues.  Another carrier we examined was the Sequoia Waves Didy Tai.  This particular carrier is valued at nearly $200. 

One of the loops on the shoulder strap that works as part of the hood was ripped half way off.

While this isn't a safety issue, the main issue is that there was damage.  If you have an issue with your carrier, whether it is staining or other damage, please call us as soon as possible so we can try to help you not have to pay for the damaged carrier.  We cannot stress this enough.

Also, we re-vamped our check-out forms.  There is a place on the form to note any damage you or your leader find in the initial inspection when you check the carrier out and when you return the carrier.  Both inspections are super important and they are in place for your protections. 

If a carrier is not returned by the due date, you may be charged for the full replacement value.  You can return the carrier at a meeting or you can mail it to the address on your check-out reminder form.  If something happens, like you go in to labor and are giving birth during the meeting, we do ask that you communicate with us as soon as possible and get the carrier back to us as soon as possible.  Communication, communication, communication.  But we do understand that life happens. 

If you cannot make it to the next local meeting and your carrier is due, you may mail the carrier to the address on your check out form or make arrangements to return the carrier to Babywearing International of Southern Idaho on or by the due date stated above.  Again, communication, communication, communication.  It makes the world go 'round and keeps all the BWI of Southern Idaho leaders from asking you for money.  We don't want your money.  We just think everyone should wear their babies.

If a carrier is not returned on time, you risk losing your check-out privileges and may be charged for the full replacement value. We can't stress it enough. Communication, communication, communication.  We want to loan you carriers, but if we don't get them back on time, we can't send them off to the next family.  That makes us kind of cranky.  Please get on our email list, follow us on facebook, get on our blog.  Call us.  Get those carriers back to us on time or we can't let you take them home with you any more.

Babywearing International of Southern Idaho reserves the right to request a check for the replacement value of the carrier when you check it out. They will only cash the check if the carrier is not returned in a timely manner and in good condition.  We really don't want your money.  We just want our carriers back.  Pretty please.

Babywearing International of Southern Idaho knows that babies are messy. If the carrier is soiled in my care, we ask that you spot clean it, but not wash it as washing it may damage the carrier.  Some carriers don't get along with wash machines very well.  And we would rather we ruin our carriers by washing them than you ruin them.  Then you don't have to pay for them.  But do try to get the stain out.  And call us if it isn't coming out like you want it to.  Communication is so very important!

By checking out a carrier to you, Babywearing International of Southern Idaho agrees to show you how to use the carrier safely. And by checking out a carrier, you agree to use caution and common sense while using it with a child. It is your responsibility to use the carrier responsibly.  We cannot be everywhere all the time.  And we are not telepathic or omniscient or any of those things that require super natural powers.  So, we need you to be smart and cautious.  If you are really struggling, we have several meetings a month and you are welcome to come to another one or you can call a leader and we are happy to help you.

Babywearing International of Southern Idaho cannot be held liable for any injury that may occur to you or a child while using this carrier.  This is the last thing we want to happen.  Please be careful with your baby and the carrier.  Better safe than sorry.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Babywearing Fashion Show!

In place of our traditional Idaho Falls Saturday meeting, we're kicking off August with a Babywearing Fashion Show at the Jefferson County Fair (Rigby)! We're excited to show off many of our new carriers and share the babywearing love with the audience of the fair's Cutest Baby Contest. The contest begins at 10am at the fairground's main stage, and our BWing fashion show will be featured as entertainment while judges deliberate from 10:45-11:00am.  As we sport our most fashionable accessories (our babies, of course!), we'll bring new meaning to the question, "Who are you wearing?" Come join the fun!! (And the lending library will be available for carrier checkout directly after the show.) Join us this Saturday, August 6th for all the fun!!

Check out our new Catbird mei tais!

Literally!  You can check these Catbird mei tais out at a meeting this month!

Top to bottom: Astrid, Spring BE mei tai, and Chocolate Lollipop!

I (Heidi) am a big fan of these carriers.  They are solid and versatile, and the company is a great company.  The fabric is a brushed, sturdy canvas, which is what makes the carrier soft and supportive.  Catbird's new Babywearing Essentials line is a solid colored, less expensive collection that still gives you all the comforts of the regular line in a simple package, including head support and the elastic loop for gathering the base so it fits tiny babies who want their legs out.

Here's me with my Mr. Chunk 11 month old in the BE mei tai.  So pretty and supportive!

Come check them out this month!

And coming soon--Catbird's soft structure Pikkolo!