Sunday, March 16, 2008

Behind the Business - Calin Bleu

Calin Bleu is a family-run business based in Scotland, manufacturing wraparound baby carriers. Anne Dhir is the brains and creative energy that has driven Calin Bleu from small eBay-based beginnings to one of the top UK sling manufacturers in less than 4 years.

Anne started Calin Bleu after the birth of her first child. She wanted to carry her child in a wraparound sling and started making her own wraps; positive comments from friends and family encouraged her to make her slings to sell. She has now refined her range to a lightwight yet supportive gauze and a super-comfortable microfleece, available in a range of fashionable colours. Anne is particularly attached to the microfleece wrap ' They are so expensive to make that we hardly make any money on them. But I HAD to have one for our little boy who was born last August. In order to have one I had to order hundreds so here we go! They are so soft and snug and light. On a more practical level, I also love them because they are easy to use and can help parents discover the joy of wrapping.'

Although business has grown since launching her website in 2005, Anne has still managed to launch Sling Meet in conjunction with Stephanie French, Zolowear's UK sales rep. Sling Meet is a unique forum for parents to join up with sling users in their neighbourhood. The site now has many groups who meet regularly throughout the UK and Ireland, and as Anne says 'I feel a bit of a sling matchmaker, helping parents find other parents who use slings in their area. They can try a sling before they buy, get some help to find a more comfortable fit with their carrier, get some tips on carrying baby on their back... Meet new friends and share a nice cup of tea with other mums who have a shared interest.' Sling Meet has been of great benefit to the sling-wearing community and this is mainly thanks to Anne's efforts!

Anne's passion for helping parents be attached to their babies is clear when you ask her what the best bit of her business is: 'The most precious moments of running a sling business is helping a mum use her baby carrier, you can see her face light up, it's so comfortable, I can't feel her weight, dancing around, look I've got my hands free! I wish I had one of those for my first child. I'll have to tell my friend about it. And this morning, I was stopped by a mum when I dropped off my daughter at pre-school, her friend had a Calin Bleu wrap sling and loved it. It made my day!'

Anne's top sling tips:

Take your time. You didn't learn to bike in one-go, it's the same thing with slings.
High and Tight. Most parents who find their sling uncomfortable are wearing it way too loose. Remember, baby is at kiss level (bend your head to kiss their forehead) and wear it tight. If it sags after a while, it's because you haven't tighten your sling enough.

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