Thursday, February 25, 2010

Artisan chocolate, Hepplewhite, and Baby Wraps

When I say chocolate, what comes to mind?  Is it bar of chocolate from the convenience store, or do you think of that little shop on the corner where artisan chocolatiers craft unimaginable delights in house?

 If your tastes run more to the latter rather than the former, do not fear—you will be able to drape yourself (and your progeny) in the kind of luxury to which you have become accustomed.  Just as Prada gives you an alternative to those dreary Rockports, there are babywearing companies that provide their customers with wraps woven by wood sprites during the vernal equinox using the finest of unicorn hair on looms of moonlight…

…well, maybe not quite, but rest assured- there are baby carriers to suit every possible occasion, even the ones we invent for ourselves.

Just as it is possible to babywear on a budget, you can find a carrier that does the exact same thing for twenty times the cost!  Seriously!  You didn’t think Maserati had that market cornered, did you?  Most companies have regular line carriers, where you can buy the color and size you desire at any time.  Where’s the challenge in that?  Do you really want to just be able to go to a vendor, tell them what model, size, and color you want and have it shipped to your door in 3-5 business days?  Come on!  The real fun is in the limited editions, or LEs.  These are carriers that are made in limited quantities and once they run out, they’re gone.  It’s an absolute gamble whether the carrier will be popular or fall by the wayside, and this will mean the difference between being able to find a resale for retail or below, or a highly inflated market value.  Fun, fun, FUN!!!
I’m more of a wrap girl myself, so that’s going to be my major focus simply because I have only a tangential knowledge of the other carriers.  I can tell you that I have a $40 linen ringsling that I adore (and bought brand new) and that there is a particular silk ringsling that retails for $1200.  I have a few Mei Teis (Asian style baby carrier) that were around $100, and I’ve seen others go for upwards of $800.  But let’s move on to my wheelhouse, wraps.

There’s a Czech company, Vatanai, that makes a particular wrap (Pamir) that is handwoven by one elderly woman (every one ever created was woven by this one artist) on one very old loom.  Because this is the only way these particular wraps come to be, they are very, very limited, and the runs are not regular because if she is unable to weave for any amount of time (injury, illness, etc), production stops (Pamir is currently out of production).  There is quite a bit of buzz about the magical wrapping qualities of Pamir in the babywearing community, and therefore these wraps are understandably a bit hard to come by and the prices are rather higher than retail.  There is only one vendor in the United States that carries Vatanai.  The retail price for Pamir is around $200, though they can regularly be seen resale for around $800 on the babywearing forums or ebay.

One of the Fall 2008 wool wrap releases from Didymos, a German manufacturer of wraps (or Tragetuecher), has become very popular and sought after for both the purported wrapping qualities and the color combination.  It is now fetching 2-4 times the retail price- convenient if you have one and want some quick cash, not so much if you want one.  Didymos also wove a few 50% silk blend wraps.  Their 50% silk indio was much more limited than their 30% silk indio (both LEs) and while the 30% blend regularly brings about $200 in resale, one of the 50% blends was just sold at auction and got $2,000!  If you’re really looking to get crazy, it gets much more complicated than that, because Didy released their 30% silk indios and then re-released them, and the first release silk indios are alleges to be far superior to their counterparts and are much more HTF (hard to find) than the second release.  Are you still with me?

There are a number of wraps that could even be considered collector’s items.  Didymos in particular has been weaving wraps since the 1970s, and a number of their vintage wraps are very, very expensive, if you’re even able to find them.  Amusingly, some European wearers have been shocked to find a wrap that would be a collectors piece being used as curtains or tablecloths in their aunt's home.  Reminds you of the people who arrive at Antique's Roadshow with an authentic Hepplewhite and claim they use it when cleaning fish.

It is absolutely true that babywearing is possible on any budget, and it is a wonderful, viable option for any parent seeking a special bond with their child that is uniquely the providence of babywearing.  One can find a perfectly suitable, comfortable, functional carrier at almost any price point, but if you want your baby wrapped in cashmere or silk, or you want to engage in the challenge of hunting hard to find carriers, well that’s an option too!

Posted by Heather

Carriers shown in order: 
Didymos Rosenholz Indio 
Didymos Kobalt-Zimt Indio
Didymos Spring Green Nino
Vatanai Pamir
Didymos Petrol/Honey Fishe
Didymos Silk Nino


  1. Heather, great post. While I can understand the appeal, how does one go about scoring something HTF? My vision of how this happens is probably very far from the reality.

  2. From what I can tell, there are 2 options... stalking the Didy/Vat/Kleinsmekker/etc site and buying the new LEs and hoping they turn out to be a winner OR putting out an ISO and waiting for someone to decide to sell it to you.

  3. Great post, but actually, Pamir is woven on a 100+ year old loom, but the woman herself is not elderly. She is middle-aged. ;)

    It seems the best way to acquire HTF items is to either watch a FSOT forum or put out an ISO for the item you're desiring.

    Pamir for example, shows up on FSOT at TBW about once a month if not more often. (at market value of course)

  4. Pamirs are ACTUALLY woven from moonbeams and rainbows by faeries. They are only woven in the dark of the moon in midsummer. Unicorns don't actually have anything to do with it ;-) Unicorn hair is far too coarse for that!