Sarah is the clever mind behind Elki Baby. She came up with the idea of making bamboo carriers just over a year ago, immediately after having her daughter, and set straight to work. Elki Baby wraps are now extremely well known, have a solid reputation as being one of the best bamboo carriers on the market and they are ethically made right here in Australia. All four of us TMJ mamas used Elki wraps, and fell in love with the bonding experience they provide. Carrying our newborn meant we were still able to care for our older children, while bonding with our new little babe. I asked Sarah how she manages the balance between running her own business and motherhood, and what’s next for Elki Baby.
What made you start up Elki Baby?
As a self-confessed workaholic pre-motherhood I always assumed I would return to work but as soon as I had my baby girl I knew I wanted something different. Elki Baby was born from two reasons; firstly the desire to be my own boss while staying home with Elki and also the necessity to make something for Australian parents that I was passionate about and was not readily available. I knew baby wraps were going to be my thing after only two months with Elki. As a first time Mum, I instantly fell in love with wrap carriers but I couldn’t find anything in Australia that fitted my ideal of the perfect wrap. They were too thick, long, stiff and the colour palette just wasn’t my style. I worked so hard, with little newborn Elki by my side to source the best fabric, design our own pattern and branding and when we launched in 2014, we were the only bamboo baby wrap of our kind made in Australia. I am passionate about educating parents about the benefits of safe and comfy babywearing and I’ve had the most rewarding and challenging year. It’s everything I dreamed plus more!
How do you balance work and motherhood?
It is HARD and to be honest some days I really don’t do it well. Things were a lot easier when Elki was younger but now she’s a toddler she sleeps less and craves more interaction which means less work gets done for me in the daylight hours. Some days the struggle seems way to stressful but then I remember why I started this business and how it allows me to spend every day with my little love by my side and it all becomes worthwhile. Even during those late afternoon post runs chasing after a grubby toddler, lugging a bag of parcels over my arm. It is worth it.
What is your favourite fabric in the collection?
I would have to say the Original Stripe is my favourite, not just because it is beautiful and simple but it was the first wrap I made myself so it holds a special place. In saying that I am a little in love with a new colour we have launching very soon … think Chambray!
What do you like most about baby wearing?
There is so much to LOVE for all different reasons, but I would have to say there is nothing I love more than being so close and that magnetic bonding. Having a sleeping babe cuddled up on your chest, nuzzling into you and hearing and feeling that soft, sweet breath on you. Nothing cements the bond more (especially for Dads) than having that time together and even now our little one will often only find comfort being held in that same position.
What do you find is a common myth about babywearing?
“Carrying your baby too much will spoil them” When will people realise that this is just not true, you cannot spoil a baby. I come from a Health science background so I love research and it has shown that the physical and psychological benefits of babywearing encourage children to feel secure and content – actually encouraging independence. It allows your child to be AT the centre of attention rather than being THE centre of attention, which is an environment proven to stimulate-self esteem. Not to mention keeping them close allows you to be come in tune with their needs. So what we are saying is, wear your baby as often as you can and reap the rewards!
What does a day in the life of Sarah look like?
Like all Mums every day is different, that’s the fun right?! Most days though I try and get up before Elki. Thank goodness I am an early morning person and she has started sleeping in past 4.30am! I use this time to have a coffee and sit in the sunshine of my dining table at my laptop or sneaking in some early morning cutting or sewing. On the days I do not get this time, I do feel a little unorganised. Once Elki wakes we have breakfast together and the mornings are where we go out either to the park, beach, swimming lessons or running errands so we can get back home for the midday nap where I get back to work again. Afternoons are always a little manic as I am rushing about packing orders and racing for the post office. I am always that crazy lady rushing to beat the clock – heaving a bag of parcels onto the counter right before close. Let’s just say I am probably not their favourite customer. Evenings are Dad-time for Elki and I love watching them be together and because of this Elki has a later bedtime than most children her age. I am fine with this because otherwise she would miss out on that special time. Once she’s in bed I usually sit on the couch with my hubby and my laptop or retreat to my studio for a night of sewing. It can be a bit of a juggle sometimes and I look forward to the weekends, when the post office is closed – but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What’s next for Elki Baby?
We’ve got some exciting things coming this year including some amazing collaborations and our very own Blog, as well as keeping things fresh with some beautiful new and exclusive fabric designs. We cannot wait to share the journey!
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