Shwabs Kwofi founded Amawrap after feeling low and housebound with a newborn. In this exclusive interview, she explains more about Amawrap’s history, the myriad ways babywearing can help new parents – and why retailers should stock the British-made baby sling.
What prompted you to set up Amawrap in the first place?
As a first-time mother with a newborn baby, I’d had a complicated pregnancy and a traumatic birth followed by an inability to breastfeed. I spiralled into postnatal depression – I felt that I had failed my baby and that my body couldn’t do what was “normal”. A few months in I made a conscious effort to leave my apartment block, but with no lift to get me to the bottom floor – and a healing caesarean wound – I struggled to get the baby, bags and pram down the stairs.
And then it hit me. For centuries, both mine and my husband’s ancestors, being of South Asian and African descent, would use wraps to tie their babies to them and carry them around. That would certainly solve the problem of getting out of the house!
I didn’t realise it at the time but the act of keeping my daughter on my chest and the subsequent skin to skin contact, was slowly pulling me out of my “fog”. But what I also didn’t realise was that I was getting attention locally for my handmade wrap. So much so, that before long I started getting orders from other new mothers. And once the orders piled in, and I had started researching the scientific benefits of skin-to-skin contact not only for baby but for mum too, Amawrap was born!
Shortly after that, I found a local UK manufacturer to produce my wraps and I still use them to this day.
What sets Amawrap apart from its competitors?
Our business comes from an authentic understanding of babywearing, from founders who come from traditional babywearing cultures. We know and love babywearing, and it’s something that we have both grown up with – you could say it’s in our blood! This is not a new phenomenon – it’s our family and our heritage. My mother-in-law used to carry my husband when he was a baby back in Africa, and I’m sure she was also carried as a baby!
Today’s parents are more discerning than ever – how do you keep your brand in line with current trends?
You’re right, and its great! Parents are more clued up than ever, and much more likely to research before buying. We absolutely welcome this, as we are so confident that once parents have done their research they will find their way to us via our customer reviews and our expert advice on all things babywearing.
We also work with a wonderful designer who gets super excited about new colours and prints, and we are currently starting work to expand our maternity and nursing range.
How would you convince first time parents, who have never used a baby sling, to choose Amawrap?
Our job isn’t to convince, as much as to educate parents as to the benefits of skin-to-skin contact, how it can help babies’ health, help parents to manage baby blues and lactation, and how to help them to get the positioning perfect. They usually find us because they have a need to keep their hands free, for the convenience. We tell them that there are so many other hidden, beautiful benefits!
Parents have usually found us through friends, referrals, other mums who have used the Amawrap and have raved about it. By the time they get to us they’re usually on board and ready to buy, bar a question or two which needs answering.
How have you managed to engage with both retailers and customers given we’re missing the all-important ‘touch and feel’ factor while stores are closed?
Gosh, lots and lots of Insta Lives! They’ve been monumental in allowing me to communicate with my audience and customers, for them to ask lots of questions and have them answered in real time.
How else have you had to adapt the way you operate during the pandemic?
I have had to continue to work while homeschooling my young children. That means handing much of my work over to agencies who can help me to keep the business going while I try and keep my family going. The great thing is that there are now more people than ever behind Amawrap, and amazing people at that!
Why should a retailer stock Amawrap?
Because we know babywearing intimately. Our customers fiercely believe in us due to our well-known customer service, as do our existing retailers. Our wraps are 100% Natural Cotton, we also do beautiful prints alongside our core colours and have an Organic Cotton offering too! We pride ourselves on being Made in the UK, which also means that we can get merchandise out to you very, very quickly, and our pricing and margins are competitive.
Can you share any specific plans or developments for Amawrap for the year ahead?
We have lots of plans for this year that we are so excited about! We will be expanding our current ranges that up until now we have been testing the waters with, and going into other new ones.
Fore more information on Amawrap, visit their website or get in touch with Shabs Kwofi directly via email.