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Melissa is the owner and founder of Heirloom Carrier, a Canadian ring sling brand, and a full-time content manager. She resides in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and two daughters, aged two and five. She is a memory keeper, always writing poetry and holding her children close, which was the inspiration behind her baby carriers. Here, she shares insight into her entrepreneurial journey and the story behind her beautiful and luxurious brand, Heirloom Carrier.
1. First of all, can you tell us what the back to school looks like for your family in Canada during the strangest time?
This year is such a unique year for our family. Not only are we all experiencing the world anew since COVID-19, but our eldest daughter just started kindergarten last week! It’s a new school, new teacher, and a whole new experience for all of us. The thing I’m struggling with the most is the fact that I’ve never met her teacher in person or seen the inside of her classroom. It’s an emotional time for any mother, when your first baby starts kindergarten, but these unknowns make it a little extra for me. We are putting our faith in her school that they’re taking every precaution to keep her safe while still maintaining some normalcy.
2. You have a full-time job and are running a business on the side while raising two children. It sounds insane! Any tips on staying focused, organized, and “sane”?
Some days I can’t believe I do it, honestly. I’m not going to lie, I’m tired, but I’m also passionate, I know that’s what keeps me going. I love my family, my day job, and running my own business, so I just make the conscious choice to give myself wholeheartedly to all three. My only tip is to stay focused on the task at hand - if you try to do everything at once, you won’t be able to finish anything at all.
3. What made you decide to create Heirloom Carrier?
I was on maternity leave with my youngest daughter and was on the search for a baby carrier that was made with intention. I wanted something local and ethical, and struggled to find that combination so I decided to create it myself! I’m very sentimental and chose the name “Heirloom Carrier” as a reminder that there are so many memories attached to babywearing and mothering, and that it’s important to hold on to them and pass them down.
4. We were thrilled to see that you use luxurious and sustainable fabrics for your ring slings, something we strive for as well. Can you tell more about the benefits of those materials for babywearing?
Choosing fabrics has been such a fun process for me, and very educational. Right away, I knew I wanted to use naturalfibers, so I started researching their properties. I settled on linen and silk for my first collection for many reasons: they’re both cooling in the summer and warming in the winter, they are hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, and they have little to no stretch and offer incredible support—which is ideal for babywearing. Plus they both have such beautiful texture and soften with use. I’ve since expanded to a few more fabrics for more recent collections, but I’ve always stayed within the family of naturalfibers.
5. How are Heirloom Carrier slings different from other brands?
Heirloom Carrier ring slings are unique because they are made with luxurious, sustainable fabrics, ethically, and right in my hometown. I am so proud of them, and get such a thrill when I see other caregivers using them for their growing families!
6. What are the benefits ofbabywearing?
Babywearing is the most amazing thing, and provides so much closeness with your child—it never ceases to amaze me. It’s hard to list all of its benefits in one paragraph, but here are a few key points: it reduces crying, normalizes baby’s body temperature, increases skin-to-skin time, and keeps youhands-free. There are so many benefits to add to this list, but myfavorite is that it allows you to build a beautiful relationship and make happy memories with your most precious gift.
7. Can you tell us a bit about your breastfeeding journey? Were you able to breastfeed in Heirloom Carrier with your babies?
I struggled immensely when breastfeeding my first daughter. I don’t know how, but I persevered through cracked and bleeding nipples for almost six weeks before we got the hang of it. It was so painful and I winced and cried for a long time. Again, I don’t know how I did it, but I’m so glad I stuck it out, as it was the greatest gift of my life. With my second, I struggled much less because I learned so much from my first experience. And yes, I definitely breastfed while babywearing, but I didn’t create Heirloom Carrier until I had my second child, so I only fed her in my ring slings, not her older sister. Some of myfavorite photos and memories are breastfeeding in the slings I created and am so proud of.
8. Did your fashion style change after becoming a mother? (if yes, how so?)
Yes, most definitely. When breastfeeding, I was always looking for shirts and dresses that were easy to nurse in, and my style changed post-breastfeeding simply because my body changed. I’ve tried to learn what cuts,colors, and fabrics I like most and that I find the most flattering, and have worked hard to add them cohesively to my closet. In no way do I have a capsule wardrobe, but it is something I’m working towards and strive for. I certainly strive for quality over quantity and love supporting other small businesses.