Can you tell us a little bit about you and why you started the beautiful brand Smallhausen?
I run Smallhausen alongside my husband Matt and the concept for the brand started back in 2016 when our daughter was born. Our little boy was just over 2 at the time and I was feeling quite worried about how I would be able to give him my attention as well as care for a newborn. A friend loaned me her stretchy wrap and I fell in love with babywearing - as did Matt. We loved being able to be hands free to play with our little boy and still feel like we were really present for our daughter at the same time. We did however struggle to find colours that we both liked and both wanted to wear and decided that we would like to start our own brand with a focus on stylish, unisex design. My background for the last 20 years has been as a Womenswear Buyer for some lovely High Street brands so I was lucky enough to have some great contacts that could help us design and manufacture a small range. Matt is invaluable on the technical side of things and together we're learning day by day how to run a small business. We eventually launched at the end of 2018 and have loved every minute so far!
What's been your biggest achievement for Smallhausen so far?
It has to be the feedback we receive from customers. It makes me so happy to read the lovely reviews, DM's and emails people are kind enough to leave for us. Its so wonderful to read how babywearing in one of our wraps has really made a difference to a parent's life,whether thats being able to interact with older siblings or just being able to get on with day to day jobs using two hands! This is definitely, for us, the best and most rewarding part of owning Smallhausen.
How do you find juggling a small business and motherhood?
In all honesty I do find it tough to juggle everything but at the same time I love being busy. We try to make it work around our day to day family life and also Smallhausen is our second job - Matt and I both still have day jobs (which we're lucky enough to also love). I'm able to dedicate one full day a week to Smallhausen while the children are at school but apart from that we mainly work on things in the evening once the kids are in bed. I'm constantly thinking of ways we can improve our brand forward and move it foward, it's just finding the time to actually do it that's the tough part.
Your baby carrier designs are beautiful and stylish, where do you get your inspiration from?
Thank you, it makes me so happy you like them. I have so many sources of inspiration but mainly Pinterest, Instagram, Magazines, Interiors, and I also just love wandering around the shops and feeling genuinely excited and inspired - I've definitely missed doing this in 2020.
Your baby carriers are made from super soft organic cotton or organic cotton/ Lenzing Modal, what are the benefits to using this type of natural material?
I think the main benefit of using sustainable fabrics and dyes is the peace of mind we can give to our customers that they are carrying their babies in fabric that doesn't contain anything harmful. As a parent with a fresh, beautiful newborn you only want to put the cleanest fabrics and dye stuffs close to their skin. We're also passionate about trying to make our small business as kind to the environment as possible, something we're continually learning about and we're making small changes all the time to try and achieve this. Using GOTS and Lenzing fabrics means that we're conscious about using sustainable materials and leaving the smallest environmental footprint we can.
What's your advice for new parents thinking about babywearing?
I would definitely start by researching the different types of carriers on the market and thinking about the ones that will suit the needs of both you and your baby and your lifestyle together. Sling Libraries are a great resource to allow you to try different brands and types of carriers before you commit to buying something.
What are the top 3 things to remember when babywearing?
Can I cheat and have 5? We always refer to the TICKS rules for Babywearing which is a great safety checklist every time you wear your baby in a carrier:
T - TIGHT. When your baby is in the wrap it should feel like they are being held in a tight hug. There should not be any excess fabric that will make the wrap feel loose and cause your baby to slump down in the carrier as this could hinder their breathing.
I - IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES. You should always be able to see your baby's face simply by glancing down. The fabric of the wrap should not close around them so that you have to open it to check on them.
C - CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS. Your baby's head should be as close to your chin as is comfortable. By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the top of their head.
K - KEEP CHIN OFF CHEST. Your baby should never be curled so their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict breathing. Ensure there is always a space of at least a fingers width under your baby's chin.
S - SUPPORTED BACK. Your baby should be held comfortably close to you so their back is supported in its natural position and their tummy and chest are against you. If your wrap is too loose they can slump which can partially close their airway. You can test this by placing a hand on your baby's back and pressing gently - they should not uncurl or move closer to you.
Where can parents go to find out more information on babywearing?
I think the best source of information on babywearing is your local Sling Library. They are run by Babywearing Consultants who have a wealth of knowledge and experience with all types of carriers. In these challenging times its obviously hard to visit in person but so many of them are offering virtual appointments at the moment to help you to try and trouble shoot any issues you may have.
What is your dream adventure (whether that's travel or just doing something new)?
So many dream adventures! As a family we'd love to travel more and two places Matt and I would love to take the kids are Japan and Canada, they're both on the list for some day. We also have a dream of building our own house and love to talk about how it would work - I love visualisation, if you do it enough its sure to come true!
Do you have any adventures planned when we come out of lockdown?
Yes! We're planning a driving holiday around Scotland and also a bit of a road trip around Cornwall. But to be honest, just going to the park feels like an adventure for all of us right now.