Way back at the end of June 2011 I was sat in my sitting room, in our house near Eastbourne. Our eldest had been very unwell since the February, with extended Hospital stays, treatments and regular trips to Great Ormond Street Hospital for much of the year. Our youngest had been born in the March.
I’m not entirely sure quite why I made the decision to set up a Sling Library – a distraction from Hospital or just a need to help others? – but, through chatting with a few other people in the babywearing community on the wonderful parenting forum, Natural Mamas, I decided to open Eastbourne Sling Library and the rest, as they say, is history!
11th July 2011 is the date I consider as the official start date. I emailed literally 100’s of manufacturers and retailers that day – asking for donations or discounts on carriers to start my Library – plus contacted HMRC to register as self-employed
I started my Sling Library with just my own, five carriers, which were quickly added to by generous donations from companies including Ergobaby, Girasol, Moby and Slumber Roo
Over the years I trained as a Babywearing Consultant; adding Consultations, Workshops and Peer Supporter Training to the services I could offer. I also started retailing, as well as hiring out carriers, introducing a ‘try-before-you-buy’ scheme that has now become popular across many Sling Libraries and Retailers
I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work alongside some of the biggest names in baby products; making videos and writing blog posts for various baby carrier brands as well as helping with the development of new products. I’ve also been invited to write guest blog posts for national online baby magazines and social media providers.
I’ve worked at National Baby Shows all over the UK, including being an ‘expert speaker’ at a number of them
My YouTube Channel continually amazes me with how many views it gets every single day – with videos being watched 1000’s of times by people all over the world. I love that I’m able to help people to carry their babies safely, comfortably and confidently wherever they may be based
TIMELINE OF MY JOURNEY OVER THE PAST 8 YEARS
The timeline below shows the evolution from the initial five carriers of Eastbourne Sling Library to the South East Slings & Roamy Hunt Consultancy you see now. I love looking back and seeing just how much it’s grown over the 8 years!
July 2011: EASTBOURNE SLING LIBRARY founded with one Sling Library session each month at a Cafe in Eastbourne
August 2012: Babywearing Consultancy training with ‘School of Babywearing’, enabling me to offer one-to-one Consultations as well as Sling Library sessions
Sling Library sessions gradually increased to fortnightly, at multiple locations in Eastbourne and additional locations including Lewes, Bexhill and Hastings. I even ran a few Sling Library sessions over in Chichester
Demand for Consultations rapidly increased – covering from Eastbourne to Tunbridge Wells and from Rye to Chichester
January 2015: Babywearing Consultancy training with Slingababy, giving further depth of knowledge and understanding of babywearing and the physiological aspects of this
July 2015: Renamed EAST SUSSEX SLINGS, to better represent the area being covered and services offered
June 2016: Renamed SOUTH EAST SLINGS when we relocated to Hampshire. Prior to leaving Eastbourne I was running 2-3 Sling Library sessions every week during term time
September 2016: My family and I relocated to the lovely Petersfield in Hampshire and I started to set up Sling Library sessions in my new area, with fortnightly sessions in Petersfield and – shortly afterwards – in Hindhead, Bedhampton and, more recently, Liphook and Eastney
September 2017: A gorgeous new website was created for South East Slings by Lucy Woodman Web Design Co, with a revamped image and logo
January 2019: After overwhelming feedback that people all wanted to see the ‘face’ behind South East Slings (so many thought it was a huge company!) I split into SOUTH EAST SLINGS for Retail and Hires and ROAMY HUNT CONSULTANCY for Consultations, Training, Speaking and Workshops
What has remained a constant, throughout the past 8 years, has been my dedication to empowering parents to carry their babies safely, comfortably and confidently
SOME RANDOM TRIVIA FROM THE PAST 8 YEARS
- I was one of the first Sling Libraries in the UK (you can see my timeline showing when various Sling Libraries started here)
- I was the first Sling Library in the UK to offer postal hires via a website
- The very first carrier donated to Eastbourne Sling Library was a Girasol Woven Wrap
- The first brands I started to retail were the Manduca, Boba 4G, Beco Gemini and Hana Baby wrap
- I provided the voice-over for all the original Hana Baby wrap videos
- My most viewed video on YouTube is for the Boba 4G/4GS with over 21.5k views (as at 11th July 2019)
- My fastest growing (i.e. most views in the shortest space of time) video on YouTube is for the BabyBjörn Mini, with 17.8k views in 53 weeks (as at 11th July 2019)
- I’ve helped 6 sets of parents of triplets, as well as many parents of twins
- Over the past 8 years, the most continually popular carrier I’ve had in the Sling Library/for Retail has been the Beco Gemini
- My retail carriers have been purchased by people as far away as Australia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Hong Kong
- My hire carriers have travelled to Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, South America, Singapore and all over Europe
- The most purchased item on my website is the Connecta Accessory strap!
I wonder what the next 8 years will bring….?