Making a product - especially one for babies and their parents - is a huge responsibility. These are humans in the most delicate stage of their life. Not only that, but their caregivers are susceptible to so much advertising for unneeded or bad quality products. When I was creating Beluga Baby, I wanted to do something different. Better.
Little did I know what I was getting myself into.
What we put on (and around) our baby matters
When I started Beluga Baby, I had a newborn of my own. I was frustrated with the baby carrier options available to me: they were too bulky, the fabric was too heavy and not breathable, or they only stretched in one direction. Also when I found one that fit me, it wouldn’t also fit my husband or grandparent if they wanted to take my daughter out for a walk, or just share the load at home.
I knew finding better fabric was key, and I looked ata lot of options. During my search I came to realize something every parent does.What I put on and around my baby matters.
When I looked into my daughter’s beautiful blue eyes I realized that, not only was I concerned for her health and well-being, but that something else was becoming more important than ever to me: the future of our planet.
Sustainability is a priority
I wanted my daughter, her children, and their children, to live on a healthy planet, one with forests and mountains and lakes to play in, unafraid of pollution or toxic chemicals in the environment. During my research, I not only realized how toxic the process of fabric manufacturing could be on the planet, but that those toxins could potentially be nuzzling my baby’s precious skin. I wanted to use the best fabric and processing I could find, not only to ensure a future for my daughter, but also so I could be confident that what was touching her skin had the least toxins possible.
It quickly became apparent that it was going to be a tough balancing act: creating something sustainable, healthy, and still being able to grow a business. I knew I needed to consider my options very carefully.
Our fabric is made from 66% rayon from bamboo, 28% cotton, and 6% spandex. We use a local fabric supplier who takes care of things like importing and quality control, and ensures our fabric is sustainably made in excellent working conditions.
Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 Certified vs Organic
Our fabric is Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 Certified. This certification ensures that production is free from harmful substances, and that things like dyes and water runoff are environmentally friendly. Click here for more information on what this certification means.
Certified organic bamboo is almost impossible to find, and we are planning the move into organic cotton (see more below), but with bamboo in particular the Oeko-tex certification is even more important because of how bamboo is processed into Rayon. While certified organic is something I think we should all aspire to use, it only covers the growth cycle. Oeko-tex certification ensures that the dyes, and processing of fabric (normally the most toxic part), and the water run off from the processing is as clean as it can be.
Not all bamboo is created equal
Let me be clear.No fabric is entirely, 100% environmentally friendly. Whether it’s the way it’s grown, harvested, or processed, there is some impact on the environment. I ultimately chose this fabric because bamboo:
- Is grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides
- Requites no irrigation
- Grows rapidly and is renewable in as little as three years
- Produces 35% more oxygen than trees
- Has amazing properties as a fabric: it Is incredibly soft and breathable, is naturally anti microbial, and thermally regulating which keeps you and your baby from overheating.
Bamboo is a hugely sustainable plant crop that uses so little water compared to trees or cotton.However, the processing of bamboo into a fabric leaves something to be desired. We balance that by ensuring we use bamboo that’s Oeko-Tex® Certified, but I’d still like to see the industry improve their processing and will continue to advocate for it.
Organic Cotton coming soon!
Let’s talk organic cotton, and organic fabric in general. 28% of the fibres used in our fabric are cotton. While these fibres still adhere to the same certifications as the rest of the fabric, they are not currently organic. As Beluga Baby gets bigger, my daughter gets older, and I find more time to work on the business, this will change. It’s my goal to have the cotton in our fabric come from organic sources in the next six months. Watch this space for an announcement on that change!
Spandex is a necessary evil...for now
The spandex in our fabric is a necessary evil. It’s a synthetic fabric and provides the unique four-way stretch our wraps are known for. I would love a more environmentally-friendly component, but at 6% of our fabric content I can make peace with it for now.
In the end, each fabric has its pros and cons. I believe I’ve selected the best possible fabric for you and your babies, but I’m always trying to improve.
Manufacturing right at home: as fair trade as it gets!
Here’s where we shine babes. As difficult and complicated as fabric sourcing is, manufacturing was a no-brainer for me. We hand-make each item right here in Vancouver, BC, Canada. My seamstress’s name is Cece, and she’s the absolute brightest star. Her attention to detail is the reason your wraps stand up to use each and every day.
I wanted to keep manufacturing in Canada for a few reasons. First, I believe in creating jobs where you live. Our local communities are improved by makers and artisans, and I’m proud to contribute to this. Second, from an environmental standpoint, it means less shipping of product back and forth. It’s my opinion that we, collectively, as business owners need to make decisions that have theleast impact on the environment, and also mitigate that impact through environmental initiatives.
I’m definitely proud of our little studio in Vancouver, and the way we create Beluga Wraps + our other products for you. I hope you’re just as proud to be part of the Beluga fam.