In celebration of our brand new Caboo carriers from Close, we're going behind the scenes with a 'hot off the press' interview with Hester MacAnara, Business Development Director. Scroll down for an #NBSexclusive to discover how Close was first launched and how it's become one of today's baby wearing essentials for many mums and dads...
When was the Close Caboo first launched?
As with almost all great designs there is a wonderful story behind how Caboo was born. Like many of the best nursery products on the market today, Caboo was born from the imagination of parents looking for a better way! Two mums with a shared passion for carrying and business got their heads together and set about revolutionising the carrier market! Caboo started life as the Close Baby Carrier in late 2006 and after being catapulted into the UK market on a Channel 4 parenting programme it has been one big hug ever since. The brand has gone from strength to strength over the past 11 years to now be one of the most loved and trusted, soft carriers for newborns not only here but around the globe!
Where do you begin when designing a carrier and what is the process?
Whether designing a carrier or something else, the starting point is always the same at Close HQ; what is it parent and baby need...? Holding true to the core value of our brand strap line- Good ideas for great parents - we are only interested in making useful products that we know parents won't want to be without and which make parenting life a little bit easier. First and foremost, it is about creating a product that allows parents to carry their little ones comfortably in the correct physiological way supporting them at every developmental stage. We try to always keep the users and their experience fully in mind when designing anything. Patterns are made and the design is prototyped, once the design is proven and parent tested we look more closely at the aesthetics; materials, accessories, colour and branding on product. Taking care of all the smallest details are all an important part of what makes the Caboo experience so enjoyable and unique.
How has the design evolved?
Caboo is the original sling re-invented; the first formalised product on the high-street to give parents all the benefits of wrapping but without the fuss of tying. Instead, we use some clever stitching and our one-way ring system to give parents a multi-sized carrier that adjusts to fit you and your little one exactly within a few seconds Our clever rings are synonymous with the brand and still thread through the entire range at the heart of every Caboo we produce today. Lines and aesthetics may have been updated over time but intrinsic features like the soft wide straps that spread the weight evenly and envelope baby offering support from the top of the head to the back of baby's knee remain. Now the shape has been refined to provide fabric and support exactly where it is needed most making the whole Caboo experience lighter. We have also stayed true to our soft knitted jersey heritage and this year, using our 11 year experience of knitted jersey we have re-engineered new fabrics across the entire range with more distinction than ever for our customers in both look and feel.
What design features are most important for parent and baby?
In our experience today's parents are extremely well informed, they understand the importance of safety and positioning better than ever and these are top considerations. They want carriers that comply by design with the T.I.C.K.S guidelines for safe babywearing and are recognised as a "hip-healthy" brand.
Practically at a time when they have more to do than ever and less time to do anything, having a carrier that is quick and easy to use by themselves is essential, especially in those first formative months when closeness and carrying makes so much sense. Parents want something that can be used at home and out and about that truly gives them the confidence for hands free freedom wherever and whenever they use it.
What materials are used in your carriers and why were these chosen?
Caboo is classified as a hybrid stretchy, synonymous with soft touchable knits that naturally support holding baby tight whilst respecting their natural curves. The original and hero fabric for us was organic cotton. This is where the brand started and it is still a popular choice today. This year we are introducing our first all over striped version in the + organic collection too.
In 2018 we have gone further than ever to create more distinction across our range; from the modern intricate camo print jacquard panel on our all new Caboo Lite, to the strong breathable pique jersey fabric of our new + Cotton blend, each one has been carefully considered for wearability and support, engineered specifically to our requirements. Overall the range feels lighter, so perfect for this hot summer we have been promised!
How important are the prints and style?
The consumer appetite for print is bigger and more far-reaching than it used to be, extending way beyond the realms of purely clothing now. Across our hero categories we have noticed the appeal and desire for more print led designs increasing, which is one of the reasons we introduced printed designs into our Caboo range for the first-time last year.
What sets Close apart?
It's all in the detail...our carriers don't only look and feel great, every little detail is carefully considered. We are passionate about babywearing and obsessed with the detail and I hope it shows!
We are constantly innovating, whether it be refining designs, creating on trend print libraries or engineering new and better materials. We strive to provide parents with design led products that not only look good but work. Our broader Caboo range caters for the differing needs and desires of parents with something for everyone. So parents can choose a carrier that fits their lifestyle, needs and pocket without compromising on positioning, comfort or style.
What are the benefits of baby wearing?
There are so many benefits of babywearing for both the baby and the wearer, carrying your newborn from day one is a very natural extension of kangaroo care or 'skin to skin' and shares many of the emotional and developmental benefits. Routine carrying in the 365 days can also help with social and physical development and strengthen parental bonds with both parents.
I think most new parents would agree there is almost nothing more natural or enjoyable than cuddle time with your tiny newborn, but practically sitting or carrying their baby in arms in those early days of parenthood isn't often feasible. Having baby in a good upright soft carrier is like a hands-free hug, baby can recognize the parent's voice and is soothed by the the familiar sound of their heartbeat and well as the vertical the motion. The closeness coupled with movement has shown to be most effective in reducing fussing and inducing calmness in little ones even during peak times overnight.
Reflux is extremely common in the first three to six months and can be extremely stressful for parents, 30-40 minutes upright in a good carrier after a feed can help to ease the discomfort of this.
Mums who routinely use a baby carrier may be more likely to successfully breastfeed; the closeness can help promote oxytocin production and allows them to easily pick up on feeding cues plus many carriers including Caboo offer a discrete breastfeeding position for feeding when out and about.
Using a carrier gives you back your hands! A baby carrier can be a practical solution to help new parents regain control over their day and enable them to get out of the house to be social and stay active, whilst naturally meeting the needs of their little one.
What's not to love!!!
If you would like to find out a little more about the benefits of babywearing, Rosie Knowles is a GP and babywearing advocate who has written a great book called Carrying Matters which includes many reasons for carrying and closeness with your little one.
Why do you love the Close Caboo carrier?
Caboo has been a part of our lives for nearly 12 years and we are as passionate about it now as we were back in those early days. There is still nothing to rival its pure simplicity. We have bagged our fair share of shiny accolades for Caboo over the past 11 years but for me, nothing beats reading a compelling review from a parent whose early parenting days have literally been revolutionised by discovering babywearing in a Caboo.