Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Sleepy Nico: Meet the Boss!

Don't you just love it when you stumble across a company that makes a product you think is the bees knees?  I do.  And when they're really flippin' charming on top of that it just makes makes my day.  With that in mind I'd like to introduce you all to the very lovely Angeline Braidwood who, on top of being a Mummy, owns Sleepy Nico, the company that made my much loved baby carrier.  Angeline was kind enough to let me ask her a few questions about herself and about Sleepy Nico so we could find out a little about the lady behind the business. Here goes....

Tell us about yourself? Your background? Your family? What interests you? What are your hobbies?
I was the eternal wanderer up until 10 years ago, I couldn't stay in a job, or in a flatshare, I spent lots of time travelling and worked for a while at Lonely Planet which didn't help with the inability to stick at anything! So I've done a bit of this and that, marketing, publishing, PR, communications, a brief stint in a garden centre. Then I met my husband and we went travelling and for the first time ever I was homesick and I realised I was ready to settle down. He proposed in Antarctica and when we got home were married 6 weeks later. I was delighted to give up work and spend time raising our lovely girls and I thought that was it...

Tell us a little about the history of Sleepy Nico?
Sleepy Nico was not my idea. I met a lovely woman and her son at a playgroup over five years ago, I had walked there with my first baby in a 'high street carrier' and had an aching neck and back on arrival. Maria came in with her baby tucked into quite the most beautiful sling I had ever seen and I went straight over to her and struck up a conversation. It turns out she and her friend Maria and their two sons Nico and Nico (!!) were making and selling beautiful baby carriers - I ordered mine as soon as I got home and it is the carrier I still use with my youngest. We stayed in touch over the years and I offered feedback, constructive criticism and support, I was always being stopped in the street and asked where I got my carrier from. Then I made a call last spring to Maria as I had noticed the website said they were all out of stock and I was interested in getting one for my sister-in-law. It turns out that she and Maria had moved onto other things (more children as well) and were looking for a like minded mother to take on the business. It felt like the right thing for me.

So how did you first become interested in baby carrying?
I think my interest stemmed from practicality, living in London I found a pram was a nightmare on the bus and I once slipped down an escalator at the tube station with the push chair. I loved the freedom that a baby carrier gave me and my first little one. It also proved an excellent means of getting her to sleep and I still rock my littlest to sleep in it now. It felt rather vain at the time but I chose a carrier that matched my clothes, it was wonderful to accessorise my favourite colours with my child.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get a baby carrier for the first time? 
Go to a sling library and try lots on, different styles and types suit different people. I fell in love with Sleepy Nico because the buckles and straps made me feel secure and I loved the way I could put the girls on my back for outings and on my front for sleep. Everyone has their own different requirements so try them out and see which you like best before you buy.

What does the future hold for Sleepy Nico?
Sleepy Nico is part of the family now and the first priority for our future is to get my toddler carrier tested and out there. My littlest is too big for the baby carrier now and it's fine for a five minute rock to sleep but she needs something bigger and more supportive so we can get out and about and enjoy the Suffolk countryside. So, a new size carrier, lots more pretty designs and to get our name out there in the world. I'm trying to make Sleepy Nico my last baby and give her plenty of care and nurturing and we'll see what happens, as with children you can never be sure.

Anything else to add?  
I didn't say anything at all about being a WAHM (work at home mum), which I suddenly have become and how hard it is because the little people demand your attention all the time and then all of a sudden your business does too. If you had told me back in the days of 9-5, with an hour for lunch drifting around the shops and a lot of time in between emailing and chatting to colleagues, followed by a large glass of wine, that I would work as I hard as I do now I would not have believed it and would have been very fearful. But it is lovely to mix it all up and the children do play running their own businesses a lot which is very sweet to see, I hope I'm instilling something useful in them for their future.

Angeline and her little girl, aren't they just gorgeous?

See? What did I tell you?  Flippin' fabulous! And the thought of a toddler carrier in the pipeline?  Hide my bank cards!

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