Today’s Meet the Maker interview is all about one of my absolute favorite baby topics: babywearing. If you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning or follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably heard me talk about why babywearing has been so important in our lives. As a mom who desperately wanted to nurse her baby but was unable to, babywearing gave this exclusive pumping-momma an incredible way to bond with her baby. Babywearing was an unexpected anchor for me as a new mom who had to set aside many expectations I had about birth and having a baby and I can’t recommend it enough. In fact, a wrap or a sling is a favorite gift of mine to give at baby showers. So on to today’s interview. Today you’ll be meeting Brea Albulov, owner of Hope Carried, which is based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Hope Carried has been open just a little over a year and makes and sells – you guessed it – gorgeous baby wraps and ring slings. I’m obsessed. I wish Hope Carried had been around when Liam was born because I love how modern the prints and colors are. Make sure you enter our giveaway at the bottom of the interview to win some shop credit towards getting a sling or wrap for yourself. Brea has generously given me a discount code to share with all of you as well!
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got here. Where did you get the idea to start Hope Carried?
I had always been in love with babywearing and being able to leave the stroller behind on walks or comfort a fussy child. After my second child was born, our daughter Josephine, I REALLY relied on babywearing. I had a very active 21 month old and a daughter who took nursing on demand VERY seriously. I tried quite a few different carriers but none of them really felt comfortable for long wears. My daughter only napped if I wore her until she was almost a year old. I wanted my carrier to not only be comfortable, but also in line with my own style. I saw ring slings and tried on a few from our local babywearing group. They were beautiful; however, they came with a very large price tag and still missed the mark a little on comfort. I had been learning to sew with my mom and grandma and thought “let me try.” I made many prototypes and got closer to my dream sling each time. Perfecting the shoulder was the final step. The distance between the rings and the seam allows for a much more comfortable placement. The shoulder pad hugs your upper arm and shoulder perfectly without the need to constantly make adjustments, which was an issue I faced with many other slings. I never intended for this to be a business, but that was the natural course it took. I made slings for some friends by request and only charged them for the cost of the materials. Word spread from that point and the demand grew. My husband once got a request for me to make a sling at a local drive through coffee shop!
How did you come up with the name for Hope Carried?
Our original name was JoHo Baby, which was derived from the first two letters of my children’s names. It certainly has
sentimental value, but did not reflect the community component that I wanted to incorporate in my brand. As a mother myself, I wanted to empower women, families, and children and have always been inspired by Rebecca of Better Life Bags. She grew her business with a mission to not only be profitable but intentional about empowering those in her community. She encouraged me to look for ways to get involved in my area. I reached out to local nonprofit agencies and realized there was so much room for me to make an impact. My mission became clear and sparked the new name, Hope Carried.
What is your favorite thing about baby wearing?
I love that it provides instant comfort for our children. When my daughter began crawling, she would drag my ring sling or wrap from the diaper bag, bring it to me and ask for a cuddle. As an added bonus, it also allows me to meet my needs to be active, mobile, and accomplish task.
Who inspires you the most?
I am inspired by the women who sew our slings. I really gain so much joy when I see their smiles at having a job. It makes me want to grow as a business so that I can provide more jobs to more women.
What are the best and hardest things about being your own boss?
Choosing how to prioritize my time is both the best and hardest thing about being my own boss.. I have two helpers, my 2 and 3 year old, with me all the time. I tend to feel really guilty working when I could be playing with them instead.
What advice would you like to share with other women entrepreneurs?
Go for it. It’s terrifying and overwhelming, but so much fun.
What’s your favorite item from your shop?
My favorite item in our shop is our New Baby Bundle, which includes a wrap and sling. This combines the best of both worlds because each item is suited for different ages and certain occasions. Purchasing them as a bundle offers a savings of $15 and I’ve gotten such a positive response from it.
What is the Hope Carried nomination form on your website all about?
I want to do more for the parents/caregivers who are raising tiny humans in both our community and worldwide. I believe that parenting is the hardest job ever and the one that has the biggest impact. However, it often feels like you are alone on an island with no life raft, no life jackets and a screaming baby. Babywearing is the lifeline that gave me hope to keep going during the hard times, sleepless nights and constant nursing sessions. I want to pass on that hope. I want to reach out to my
fellow caregivers to provide reassurance that their hard work will pay off even if they can’t see how at this moment. I want to give the gift of babywearing to the foster parent whose baby has attachment issues and wants to be held constantly. There are so many foster parents, single moms, single dads, special needs parents or just a parent who does a lot for others and could use a little love and hope themselves. They deserve an outreach program to share their stories and I want to provide that for them as well as give them a gift from our line of baby carriers.
Dream big. What’s next for Hope Carried?
When I lay in bed and envision the future of Hope Carried, I see women coming together from all backgrounds who are joyfully employed, earning a fair wage, and loving what they are doing. I see on site childcare where all kids can learn, develop, and play. I imagine employing veterans to lead our shipping and logistics. I see my own kids feeling proud and taking ownership over the success of our business — maybe sweeping the floors and applying all the shipping labels (my 3 year old’s favorite thing).
What show(s) are you watching right now?
I’m obsessed with the Good Wife and Fixer Upper – I need Chip and Joanna to renovate my dream home.
Thanks, Brea, for sitting down with me this week and not only sharing about your business but also a little bit about your heart for community and supporting other women. Want to learn more about Brea and Hope Carried? You can find them online at www.hopecarried.com, on Facebook and on Instagram at @hopecarried.
The Meet the Maker series is where I get to introduce you to some of the makers, creators and artists behind some amazing companies and brands out there. Not only are these women doing some incredible things and finding success doing something they’re passionate about, but they’re also inspiring others to embark on their own creative journeys as well. If you are interested in being interview for a Meet the Maker post, please send me a message. I’d love to hear from you!
Ready for another GIVEAWAY? Brea and I are giving away a $25 shop credit to Hope Carried to one lucky reader! How cool is that? Entering is really easy. Just head over to the giveaway image on my Instagram page at @LITTLEFIREBRIGADE and follow the steps to enter. For an extra entry, leave a comment on this post (please include your IG name).
If you don’t want to wait until the end of the giveaway to order your sling or wrap, or if you’re like me and rarely win anything cool, you can use the code “littlefirebrigade” to get 15% off your purchase at Hope Carried!
The giveaway will run until Friday, March 11th at midnight EST. A winner will be chosen randomly using random.org and announced both here and on Instagram within 48 hours of the giveaway end. The winner has 24 hours to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen. Open worldwide.
(Photos provided by Hope Carried and are (c) Captured by Jes Photography and Design).