Contrary to popular beliefs, babywearing is actually not a new thing. In fact, it has been around for centuries.
China has the 4-strapped Meh Dai, Japan has the piggyback-inspired Onbuhimo, Korea has the Podaegi that resembles a swath of blanket and Borneo has the traditional Ba that is made out of wicker instead. Not so long ago, it was a common sight to see women in India’s tea plantations working the fields with their babies tied to themselves.
In actual fact, the baby stroller or pram was invented in 1733 for the British upper-class families. It was seen as a status symbol and it gradually spread throughout societies.
After years of having the baby stroller monopolise the industry, it is wonderful to see babywearing make a comeback!
We speak to Rynette Tan, founder of 13thirteen and a certified babywearing consultant to find out more. A feisty mother of three energetic boys, she tells us more about babywearing and how her business makes the perfect equation for a happy family.
A Happy Baby Makes For A Happy Mummy
Initially, she and her husband did not think that a baby carrier was necessary. However, her firstborn did not take to the stroller well and would cry constantly every time he is put down. She ended up constantly carrying him to prevent him from crying and over time, she developed tendinitis in her wrists.
“To invest in a decent carrier for the sake of my arms and my sanity has been my smartest parenting decision so far”, Rynette says.
The advantages of babywearing are plenty.
It is crucial in shaping the bond between parent and child, it may help avoid spinal and cranial deformities from sitting in prams for too long, babies are more able to regulate their own physiological functions, and most importantly, the parent can be more aware of the baby’s needs when held close.
However, she sums out the biggest advantage with “Convenience! The fact that I can go anywhere and do almost anything with my baby. It’s empowering and liberating.”
The Mumpreneur Journey Is All About Family
Rynette’s business was founded in 2014. It started with them designing their own diaper backpack because they were really struggling to find a good backpack in the market that could cater to their needs.
She explains,” Once that took off, I decided to product diversify, and my passion and love for babywearing led me to expand my business to baby carriers. It also resulted in the search for other useful and innovative products that truly meet the needs of modern parents in Singapore.”
“In essence, I wanted to help parents find joy in being liberated and on-the-go with their baby through functional yet quality products.”
With three boys, a family to care for and a burgeoning business, it has to be tough for this zealous mumpreneur to split her time effectively.
Rynette attests to this and elaborates, “That is always a tough choice. Every time I am at work, I have mom guilt. I feel like I am missing out on milestones and on their childhood. But, at the same time I also feel that there is so much to do with my business and that I am not spending enough time growing it.”
It is indeed a dilemma. At the end of the day, she always asks herself why she started this business in the first place and the answer is always the same.
“I started this business so that I have more flexibility and control to be with my kids, so that I can spend more time with them,” she affirms.
Of course, there are some days when she is called away more than others, especially if parents want to engage her for a babywearing consultation. She usually tries her best to take on these sessions because she knows how much parents appreciate getting a baby carrier, or help with finding a suitable carrier.
Not surprisingly, Rynette’s husband is also her greatest supporter. “Without his encouragement and affirmation for what I am doing, I would not be where I am today,” she exclaims.
Her positivity is encouraging and vital for any mumpreneur.
She shares, “Every business has their fair share of setbacks. I do not dwell on the past because I believe it is how you overcome them that matters.”
“When the going gets tough I always remind myself that I am doing this so I have more time for the kids. Sometimes, a day out in the sun or a dip in the pool with the kids is all I need to feel better and recharge!”
Leading The Business Take-off With Patience and Wisdom
Running a business as a mumpreneur is just like any normal business. From administrative work to marketing strategies, there is plenty on the plate to handle.
Besides advocating about babywearing and educating other parents on the physical and psychological benefits through talks and bazaars, Rynette also participates in exhibitions and organises babywearing dance classes for other mummies.
In spite of her bursting schedule, Rynette also found time to add on to her abundance of expertise through upgrading herself. Just this May 2018, she became the youngest Certified Babywearing Consultant in Singapore, certified by Die Trageschule (Dresden, Germany).
Rynette getting certified (3rd from Right). Source: https://www.facebook.com/13thirteenSG
For starting mumpreneurs with not much capital, we know that it may be a daunting journey. Starting a business is just the start of the battle, sustaining it requires a lot of determination, business acumen and financial wisdom.
Rynette’s cost-saving advice for marketing her business is to utilise social media.
“Get your friends to help you spread the word about your business. Also, pro-actively ask your clients to recommend you. Word-of-mouth can be very powerful.”
Adding on, she tells us that, “Through this entrepreneurial journey, the only constant is change.”
“There will be good times and bad times, more often bad times than good. But, as long as you put your heart into what you do, do things ethically and with a conscience – you’ll always come out strong.”
Spoken like a true business person who has gone through the tribulations and experienced the joy of being a mumpreneur, she leaves us inspired with this final piece of advice.
“There will always be people who will try to bring you down. Just keep doing what you love, with a clear conscience and with a heart. You will eventually succeed. And, always help others when you can, especially fellow mumpreneurs. Because succeeding together is better than failing alone.”
To understand more about babywearing or to engage Rynette for a consultation, click here to find out more.