When I welcomed my first son into the world, I was gifted with a vast selection of baby blankets. In every colour, in every boy-inspired print ... While the sentiment was lovely and oh-so-appreciated, let's just say, they didn't quite fit in with the aesthetic of my home.
Fast forward five years, and thanks to Mumma Etc., not only can my baby’s blankets match my regular decor, my baby carriers can align with my outfits. Made of the most deliciously soft linen, in beautiful natural colourways, this range is one addition to the baby paraphernalia that you’ll happily welcome. We caught up with the co-founder of Mumma Etc., GRACE Collective Business Member Lauren Modi, to find out all about babywearing, the Mumma Etc. brand, and how she maintains a slow-living approach to life with two young boys. We’re taking note.
Tell us a little about Mumma Etc.
Mumma Etc. is a brand that focuses on three main philosophies, Nurture in Style, Slow & Mindful and Minimalist parenting. Here at Mumma Etc. we aim to make mummas feel stylish and beautiful whilst loving and nurturing their baby – a carrier should add to a mum’s outfit rather than ruin it. Our brand explores minimalist parenting, questioning the need for all the bulky baby gadgets. We are all about slowing down and enjoying moments with your bub. We feel these philosophies are becoming important to the modern mumma and the release of our foundation product, the 100% handwoven linen sling carrier is paramount to embracing these ideas. Aside from allowing you to be hands-free, babywearing brings a lot of benefits for both mum and bub. The modern mumma is becoming aware of these benefits and choosing to wear their babies more and more.
What inspired the inception of the brand?
I actually started the brand as a blog with the intention to start writing and creating. I was in between businesses had recently sold my first start-up and so was looking to do something creative to keep my sense of self whilst being a mum. I was definitely a bit of an attachment parent and felt a lot of passion for helping mums relax and go with the flow without worrying about picking up their baby too much and ‘spoiling’ them. I wore Ariton, my older boy for the first three months and just loved it. I had a beautiful stretchy wrap that did the trick but it was quite complicated to use and he grew out of it very quickly. After trying structured carriers – too hot, too stiff, too ugly I gave up carrying him. It wasn’t until I fell pregnant with my second and started looking for a new carrier that I came across the Ring Sling and Mumma Etc.’s the first product was incepted. I couldn’t find a ring sling that was stylish. They were all rainbow coloured! I started heading out to spotlight to buy linen and make my own. Weeks later I teamed up with my business partner who was my best friend from high school, Danielle. She had recently left behind a career in banking and was very excited about working together to build Mumma Etc.
What did your career involve before Mumma Etc?
I have a background in Interior Design with a focus on hospitality design. After five or so years I left Interior Design and my first partnership, The Borrowed Nursery was created. This was a boutique nursery concept in which we hired, styled and sold beautiful plants and pots. The business was very physically demanding and after having Ariton I moved on. It was important to me to be there for my boys and so grew the desire to start a business that allowed me to be at home as much as possible, whilst still fulfilling my goals and creative needs!
Did you baby wear? What benefits did you see as a result?
I am still wearing Ashwin who is now 12 months old and has recently taken his first steps so I guess I’ll soon be toddler wearing! For me, babywearing is the reason Mumma Etc. is here and not just because we sell linen Slings and Ashwin makes a great model, but wearing Ashwin has enabled me to get things done including build the business. It has also allowed me to care for Ariton, my three-year-old and give him the attention he needs, whilst keeping Ashwin content. In the words of many Mumma Etc. customers – It’s a lifesaver. My husband, Sunny and I like to be out and about. We have a big dog who we love to take to the beach and we love to take our tribe to cafes for breakfast on the weekend. Babywearing has enabled us to do all these things easily as bub is always content and happy to sleep on the go. In addition to this, I have started to embrace a more minimal way of parenting and living. There are a lot of gadgets that people tell you that you need when having a baby. You also get given a lot of things. You actually don’t need much at all – especially in those first few months. You don’t even really need a pram. Both Ashwin and I were happy when he was in the sling. It just made sense.
Why have you chosen to use linen in your slings and blankets?
Linen is a natural fabric that is breathable and cool, making it perfect for the hot Australian climate. From a babywearing point of view, it is the strongest natural fabric available, which also makes it extremely supportive. When searching for the perfect fabric we came across a village in India that was hand looming the linen – as a result, it was so much softer than machine-made linen. Softness was important to us because we wanted mummas to be able to wear there sling straight away and not have to break it in to make it wearable. We work very closely with our weavers and can specify the linen weight and weave to achieve the perfect fabric.
What are some of the benefits of using linen with our babies?
Aside from being a cooling natural fiber, it also softens and improves with use. We had a lot of customers asking if we could make blankets out of the same material because their babies because attached to the buttery soft texture. We recently released out matching range of linen blankets. They are mode from the same handwoven linen as our slings with a lighter gsm, making them perfect for swaddling bub.
How do you select the colours you’ll use for your collections?
Our colours are chosen with our ethos in mind. We love colours that are natural, calming and have a simplicity about them. Motherhood can be a stressful time so we wanted all our colours to sing, take-a-relaxing-stroll-along-the-beach or take-the-kids-for-a-play-amongst-nature. We also wanted to be on trend. We want our mummas to feel fashionable and see the sling as an accessory for themselves as much as a useful parenting item.
As the mum of two boys, how do you manage to maintain the beautiful, natural and simple aesthetic of Mumma Etc in your own home and wardrobes?
I am on a journey myself to embrace minimalism, learning to edit my home and wardrobe. We are culling items, recycling and donating where we can and letting go of unnecessary clutter. I have always been into slow interiors, shopping second hand, looking for quality pieces that will stand the test of time and won’t easily date. I am also moving towards slow fashion within my wardrobe by applying the same principles. As for the two boys… What a mess! I have only just started, after almost four years into mumma-hood, to get on top of the mess that comes with children. I find that organisation is key. Everything should have a spot. We use a lot of baskets, which helps to make your mess look attractive. Also, routine is important, making tidying up a habit rather than a chore. Another little trick is collecting beautiful wooden toys. Aside from the sensory advantages, they are more aesthetically pleasing than plastic toys – beautiful mess!
How do you incorporate slow living into your everyday life?
We are introducing slow living into our everyday lives by simply trying to do less. We are trying to reduce stress in our lives and find more time for family. The Gold Coast has beautiful beaches to explore and that is where we spend a lot of our time. We are reducing the amount of time we spend on our phones by sometimes leaving our phones at home or putting them away. I try to teach the kids mindfulness by noticing the little things like blooming flowers, changing trees and looking at weather patterns. We also do a lovely program called Wholebeings which is full of great ideas for practising slow living with kids.
What tips do you have for mothers who would like to launch their own business?
When starting a business it’s important to find your niche in the market, ensuring there is a demand for your product or service. Make sure you do your numbers, considering all costs including marketing spend. Be very organised with your time, setting aside time for being a mum and time for focusing on work. This is something I’m still learning to do. Trying to do both at once can be very stressful on you and your family.