By Nicole Fuge, MD® Managing Editor
At first, my bebe LOVED her pram as a newborn, then all of a sudden it’s like it was molten lava and she would scream every time I put her in there. This made our daily walks a bit of a handful (literally) and I needed to find a solution.
A few of my mama friends had baby carriers, which they loaned to me to try, and I quickly fell in love with the BabyDink. Made with lush organic fabric, the BabyDink puts on like a T-Shirt, so there are no tricky clips, buckles and confusing wrapping to master. Yasss!
The gorge soul behind this genius design is Jennie McAlpine, who is a mama and step-mama to Ryan (23), Eloise (22), Finn (19) and Liv (10). Which means BabyDink has been almost 20 years in the making!
“It was waaay back in the ‘90s when as a new mama, I found myself endlessly frustrated by baby carriers on the market. All the wrapping and buckley bits just seemed all too fussy to me. I recall all those years ago just thinking, FFS there must be a simpler option. That idea just followed me around… I couldn’t stop spotting mamas and their beautiful bubbas being carried in various slings, wraps and carriers and analysing the sh*t out of those carriers – I became obsessed with improving the support for both bubba and mama,” she says.
“I noticed a couple of things, there was no specific carrier available that could be used from birth on the market, and every option that was available had clips or buckles, inserts and wraps or some serious origami video tutorials that made my head spin.”
As time passed, the idea for a fuss-free carrier just kept popping up and Jen knew she had to explore it. “Over time the process of refining my design began. I hit every road block, creatively, financially and emotionally – quite the parallel to parenting in many ways.”
Being a mum, Jen knew her product had to be perfect; it had to be safe for the bebe and comfy for the wearer. So she sat on it for a couple of decades while she grew her family, and in 2018 she noticed there was still a gap in the market. Plus, now she had the time to put all of her love and soul into it.
With the product mostly designed, she was stuck on how to create the back panel of her newborn carrier. “It had been a long process to nail the fabric for the front panels and I was really running out of puff to finalise the design,” she says. “I literally woke up from a delicious afternoon snooze in the Noosa sunshine, while on holidays with the fam, and knew exactly what I needed to do design-wise, fabric-wise, the whole bit. It felt like a real turning point.”
Made in Melbourne, this increds Australian small business is a fav among mamas AND papas of all shapes and sizes (it is the first all-in-one carrier catering for sizes 4-22 AU). “Often when I think of our target market I focus on the person wearing the baby carrier – new mothers. However as parenting roles evolve, the new daddios are a huge focus for BabyDink too,” Jen says.
“We are a product but we are ultimately an experience. It is my vision that through using a BabyDink carrier, new parents and new Earth-side wee bubbas are able to deeply connect at the heartspace level in that most important post-partum period and beyond. We aim to play a humble but vital part in regulating a new babe’s nervous system with that of their folks. It’s all about heartbeat rhythm and skin-on-skin connection – keeping that precious new baby close enough to kiss. While also honouring that modern parents often need to have the flexibility of being hands-free.”
While Jen’s own babes have all grown up, being a mum is a gig for life, and her secret to managing the #bossmama juggle is dog walks, meditation and coffee – and a solid belly laugh on the daily, of course! “To find balance within the many roles required to be Mum just takes a real conscious effort to make sure you manage work commitments in a way that is in balance with your own needs and that of your family,” she says.
“Just like so many other mothers who embark on the wild ride of entrepreneurship, I genuinely have to arm-wrestle that compulsion to do it faster and stronger and strive to meet that non tangible finish line. It takes a lot from me to reel it in and remember that my time will always be my time. The urgency is almost ego and if you can let it float away the joy of the journey returns and ultimately you will take your idea where it needs to go. That’s a huge learning and a daily practice really. It’s lovely that slower is celebrated more and more. It doesn’t mean I change the business goals. But it does give space for their achievement as I attempt to make peace with things taking time for a reason.”
And it’s an approach that is clearly working for Jen. Sales have been soaring over the last 12 months here in Australia, and after spending the past two years finalising the design and receiving all of the industry accreditation for safe baby wearing, she’s ready to send BabyDink international! Whoop! Watch this space.