First some music : Enjoy the mridangam .
Soul Slings is a family-run baby carrier company from Bangalore, India. Founder Chinmayie, her partner Ravindra, and their daughter and son, are a homeschooling, breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, attachment-parenting, co-sleeping, and of course,babywearing family of four.
But what is babywearing ? Chinmayie describes it as a term for keeping your baby physically close to you using a carrier. This physical closeness keeps babies (and their parents) calmer and happier; in turn, this is believed to promote the babies’ physical growth and mental well-being. Soul believes in nourishing this bond through comfortable carriers made in all natural fibre fabrics, comfortably cut, affordable and safety-tested to international standards.
“Chinmayie dreamt of Soul when she had her first child and experienced for herself the difference that babywearing can make to a parent’s journey. By the time her second child was born Soul was already starting to take shape. The food blogger and photographer behind www.lovefoodeat.com, a vegetarian food blog that advocates sustainability, organic food and supports everything local, Chinmayie always knew that her vision of Soul had to match these lifestyle choices. Today, her own design and art background strongly influence her choice of designs and fabrics. Alongside, attachment-parenting two children ensures that Soul carriers are always practical and pocket-friendly!”
Some excerpts from our conversation with Chinmayie :
PITR : Tell us more about Soul Slings, why this name?
Chinmayie : In 2014 Soul introduced ring slings to India. Today we are India’s biggest baby carrier manufacturer by a wide margin. We make carriers and coordinating lifestyle products such as baby blankets, sun hats, soft shoes and doll carriers, and adult shawls, scarves and bags, all available through our website www.soulslings.com
PITR : What is the philosophy behind the brand?
Chinmayie : Soul believes that keeping babies close is a way of life, a philosophy rather than just the practice of carrying or ‘wearing’ a child in a carrier. It creates independent, healthy, secure, loving and sensitive people, who then go on to spread these virtues to the next generation. With this deep belief, Soul was born as the first Indian company to produce international quality (and internationally safety-tested) ring slings, wraps, mei tais, buckle carriers and onbuhimos in India.
PITR : What did you want to do when you were a child?
Chinmayie : I was always interested in art. After my schooling I joined an art school like I always wanted to. I went on to lean towards design from there but my interests were always in the creative field. Today I enjoy the challenge of creating products that are functional, affordable and also very stylish.
PITR : What was the best piece of advice you were given when you were starting out?
Chinmayie : Work hard and believe in yourself. Nothing is impossible when you dream big.
PITR : What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in starting or running your business?
Chinmayie : I don’t think I have made any sacrifices. I do what I do, because I love it and when you love your work, each day is great and nothing ever feels like a sacrifice.
PITR : What does success mean to you?
Chinamyie : I am not really sure what success means to be honest. I rarely think about it as my mind it always on growth and learning more.
PITR : Name a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night.
Chinmayie : There are lots of challenges we deal with as entrepreneurs and work itself keeps me up at night I do not fear anything professionally though.
PITR : Name the biggest overall lesson you’ve learned in running business.
Chinmayie : That there is no substitute to hard work and there is always more to learn. I have also accepted that work is never ‘done’ so it’s important to learn to see joy in it.
PITR : In moments of self-doubt or adversity , how do you build yourself back up?
Chinmayie : Not all days are good. There are times when work is frustrating and exhausting. I am very thankful for my family and friends and my team members. They always help me in pulling myself back up when I feel overwhelmed.
PITR : Knowing what you know now , what would you have done differently, when you were first starting out?
Chinmayie : Nothing actually. I think we did our best at every point and we are here today because of the way we did things. I am happy to say that I wouldn’t want to do anything differently.
PITR : What is you personal or professional motto?
Chinmayie : To enjoy what you do every single day. My motto is to strive to be happy as that’s the most important thing in life. If something doesn’t make me happy, I will not do it.
PITR : Tell us more about the Soul Team :
- Winner of‘Best Babywearing Outreach Program’ by Babywearing International (International Babywearing Week October 2016) for their carrier donation programme Soul Gives Back
- Nomination: WEAR ‘Community Appreciation Award’ for “manufacturers who are making a difference in the world of babywearing education.” (April 2016)~ Education
- Soul organised India’s first ever certified babywearing educator course in November 2016.
- Through donations (monetary or otherwise), media mentions and other methods we have always supported and continue to support educators, carrier libraries and of course babywearing conferences such as Wear All The Babies in Australia and The Big Latch On in New York last month. They also work with doctors and birth practitioners in India to help families understand how baby carriers can fulfil their pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting goals