Monday, July 02, 2007

ABC News: Baby Gear Boom

ABC News has a story today about the Baby Gear Boom. The gist is that baby gear has become high-fashion at a high price, affordable to today's parents because they are waiting to have kids until they are older.

Things have definitely changed since I was expecting my first baby in late 1999/early 2000. I could only find one plain, black, purse-like diaper bag (by Kate Spade), and there were no "adult" looking prints. Most of the diaper bags available had baby prints like duckies or ABC.

When I went shopping for a sling at the local high-end maternity boutique, the only print available was Noah's Ark. There was one solid, chambray, so I bought that and wore it every day until I started making my own slings.

Seven years later, there are hundreds of options in both fashionable diaper bags and baby slings. The variety grows daily, as new parents are inspired and want to bring their own unique angle to fashionable baby gear.

The article asks who this is for, suggesting that there is something wrong with buying a high-end baby product for the parent. Yet that is exactly the hole that I found when I went shopping for my first baby gear. I carry the bag. I wear the sling. Those items are about me, because I wear them. Just because I had a baby didn't mean I suddenly want to wear Noah's Ark or duckies. Yes, my life was completely and forever changed, but that did not mean I suddenly stopped caring what I looked like.

Which diaper bag did I get, back in 1999? I chose a black backpack diaper bag from Land's End. Seven years later, that solidly-constructed backpack is still used occasionally. One thing I've learned is that I didn't really need a diaper bag at all. A plain backpack or large tote would have worked just fine.

Many of the high-end items available now only last a short time. So parents who are style-conscious on a budget have to decide where to save and where to spend.

A quality baby carrier is absolutely worth the cost. Slings are often worn every day for two to four years. (One person I know wore her petite child for FIVE years.) Many of our customers send photos of themselves wearing prints we haven't sold in years. Those slings are still in use with second or third children. Secondhand slings are passed on to friends or resold via consignment or online for a good portion of the original cost.

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