There’s lots of positives associated with 'babywearing', from forming a closer bond with your child to keeping them calm. Freerider’s baby slings are also having a positive effect on the environment by using organic materials in its products and packaging. Scarlett Williams, Co-Founder, talks us through how they’re keeping sustainability at the heart of everything they do.
Freerider Leopard Sling
Tell us about Freerider.
Freerider is a brand focusing on design-led, high quality, sustainable maternity essentials. We’re best known for our slings; sustainably produced baby carriers in on-trend designs and prints which you might have seen on the likes of Chessie King and Joe Wicks. We’re focused on building a brand that combines style with daily necessity, that inspires parents and gets them excited about their journey ahead.
What inspired you to start your own range of clothing and baby slings?
When my cousin fell pregnant in 2017, she couldn’t find a brand that made her feel herself, as beautiful and confident as she is. It changed the whole way she viewed her pregnancy and her body. With a background in product development, I felt I could change this. In a time where your body is experiencing so much change, feeling empowered by how you accessorise and what you wear is more important than ever.
I guess from there, then the question would be ‘why slings’?
Slings were always a product that I loved. For me having your hands free, being able to get out of the house and having your baby comforted and close to you is the biggest gift you can give a parent. So naturally, it was the gift I had wanted for my cousin when it came to buying her and her partner something.
The initial shopping experience I had was so poor - there were no sustainable fabric options, the majority of materials were cotton, which I feel personally isn’t a breathable wearing solution. The final part that really made me decide on slings were the colour options. The choices were mostly greys and browns with no print variety.
It was a really uninspiring experience, one I wouldn’t be excited about doing again. It made me reflect on all the other mums and dads that may have had the same experience as me and my cousin.
My background is in product development, so I knew it was possible to have beautiful colours and prints in sustainable, lightweight fabric solutions. I got to work on that and here we are today.
Freerider Woodrose Sling
What’s Freerider’s mission?
We work every day to make a brand parents can get inspired by, one that excites them, has them counting the days for its arrival at their door. One they can be proud to wear as part of our community but most of all so they can feel confident and empowered, more like themselves.
How old must babies be to be sling-carried?
With carriers, most wearing recommendations are based on size and therefore are weight dependent. Our slings have a recommended use from 8lbs.
What are the benefits of babywearing?
There are so many benefits of babywearing that could probably make up a whole article on their own. Beyond the obvious ability to have your hands free to get more done in your life as a new parent, babywearing has some other amazing benefits for both parent and baby.
Babywearing can reduce infant crying (by up to 43% according to studies). It also encourages bonding by promoting the release of the ‘cuddle hormone’, Oxytocin. It reduces reflux by keeping baby in an upright position and even promotes improved physical and mental development as baby is calmed by the reassurance of their parents’ body heat and heartbeat, allowing them to focus on the world around them.
How environmentally aware are you as a brand?
This is something that is so important to us! We like to say that we’re designed to support all parents – including Mother Nature. We want to make sure we’re not negatively impacting the world for the future generations that we’re bringing into it.
We try to put sustainability at the forefront of everything we do, it’s no longer just an added bonus to be a sustainable brand, it’s a responsibility that we all have.
We start with our fabric selection where we use only the most sustainable fabric choice available for our products. Our slings are made from 100% Tencel which is formed from the pulp of Austrian Beechwood tress from sustainably managed tree forests. It uses a ‘closed loop’ production process where 99% of the water used for its production is recycled and reused. It also turns out that Tencel is exceptionally soft and lightweight, making it the perfect material for our slings.
Our packaging is also 100% recyclable, including the packaging our products are shipped in which is something that is really important to us. With the number of online deliveries we’re all receiving these days, you really start to see how much packaging is being used every day. We do our best to make sure everything we use is as sustainable as possible.
As a small team, we know we still have a long way to go, but we’re always working hard on new initiatives to improve our environmental impact even further.