Tuesday, 21 January 2014

3 Beco Gemini's & A Boba Wrap

by Tami Grosset

by Elly Vic
When we celebrated the OBG's first birthday we started planning a local lending library. We spread the word throughout our community and before we knew it we had our first few carriers; 3 Beco Geminis (donated to us by Milkface, a local nursing and babywearing boutique) and a boba wrap (no longer needed by myself and donated to the collection). Now, almost a year later we have three large storage boxes full of a huge variety of carriers. Some were donated by members, some were donated by local or online stores, some donated by manufacturers. Others were bought either new, at the best discounted price we could find or used, but in excellent condition. Recently I've been contacted by a few other babywearing groups, asking how we went about setting up the library. I figured I may as well blog about it!

by Kim Brooks
 Putting Together The Rules:
Whilst the lending library is a free resource it was important to us to create a set of rules and a contract to which borrowers would have to agree. This was to protect the library from any liability and also to protect the collection from any damage or loss. We are very lucky in the OBG, in that one of our admins works in the legal profession and as such was able to help us draft our proposed rules. Once they were drafted we presented the rules and contract to our membership, asking for their feedback, by way of a consultation. By the time the library went live the rules and contract were agreed upon.

Beco Gem from Milkface
Acquiring The Carriers:
Once we'd presented the rules and contract to the community the word was out..... Ottawa was getting a sling library! Many of our generous members offered carriers they were no longer using and the collection started to swell.
One of the reasons we wanted to create the library was to discourage our members from showrooming at our local babywearing boutiques. Milkface recognised this and donated the Beco Gemini's as mentioned above.

Natibaby donated by WYB
There are many manufacturers and stores that run competitions online and on Facebook where individuals and groups can win carriers for their lending libraries. We entered a competition with Wrap Your Baby and whilst we didn't win we did exceptionally well; well enough for Diana at WYB to gift us our first woven wrap!
Many of the larger manufacturers will gift carriers to lending libraries, especially if a review is promised. We sent out begging letters to many of the manufacturers. Boba sent us a 3G very quickly and without any additional requests. Having the blog here was, I think a useful way of proving our online and IRL existance outside of the realm of Facebook.
Both Wrap Your Baby and Pax offer a sort of 'kick back' service to babywearing groups and their members. When a member makes a purchase with either of these companies they need to mention the group, and then make a note of it in the appropriate file in our group. For every purchase Pax or WYB give us a credit towards a new carrier for the library. Recently Pax sent us a new WCRS by way of a thanks to our members for buying carriers with them.
With the funds we raised over the past summer (see below for details) we purchased some used carriers from our local FSOT page from mamas we knew. This was great as we did not need to pay shipping and we knew that the wrap was in great condition since we'd seen and played with it at local meet ups!
We also bought some carriers at fantastic discounted prices. In the January/Boxing Day sales we picked up a Manduca for 30% off from Belly Laughs in Kanata. Belly Laughs were happy to help us with this and also donated a Chimparoo wrap that they were clearing from their inventory. Milkface were also holding some awesome sales this new year and we were able to acquire a Chimparoo RS and a Kozy carrier MT for just $20 each!
Sewfunky, a Canadian RS manufacturer and converter sent us a RS. All the businesses that donated carriers have links to their websites and/or FB pages listed next to their donated carriers, on the library page. This, I think, has offered an extra incentive to businesses who wished to donate.

Salsapalooza baby!

Raising The Funds:
Clearly getting a library off the ground requires more than just creating some connections with babywearing businesses and developing goodwill amongst members to encourage donations. Cash is most definitely needed!

Our community picnic and silent auction

We held two fund raisers over the summer of 2013 which gave us enough cash to really get things started. The first was a dance event, Salsapalooza, and the second an auction, which was part of our community picnic. We are currently planning further fund raising events. In February we are holding a Babywearing Ballet class, on the same lines as Salsapalooza. None of these events would have worked without the generous  donation of talents and time by some key members of the group.

Going Forward:
Now our collection is pretty much complete, with just a handful of items yet to be sourced, we are looking at using our remaining funds for new projects, whilst keeping some funds for library upkeep and maintenance. We are planning a project whereby we will gift a carrier to a family in special circumstances and we'd also like to create a babywearing promotional pack to send out to appropriate local healthcare professionals. The funds we raise in the future will go towards this trinity of projects.

by Jenna Sparks Bradbury

Whilst this is not a blue print to creating a sling library I do hope its of some use to you. Please share with us the stories and successes of the libraries you have created. OBG would love to share your experiences!

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.