Freerider: The Sustainable Baby Wrap

Today is World Environment Day, so it feels like an extra special day to be launching sustainable baby brand Freerider at Wear My Baby! Their super lightweight, award-winning stretchy wraps are wonderful for newborns and made from plant-based Tencel fabric. I’ve been getting to know Freerider’s woman-behind-the-slings, Scarlett, and asking her what it really means for a baby carrier brand to be sustainable and eco-conscious.

What was the inspiration for creating Freerider?

Ahh, this is such an interesting one. I guess most people who come across our brand don’t know this, but I actually don’t have children myself. The whole idea behind Freerider actually came when my cousin fell pregnant. I say cousin, but she’s practically a sister to me. We grew up next door to each other so we’re super close. I wanted to get her a gift to help her keep some of her ‘self’ as she became a Mum. She’s super independent and I know she really wanted to still be able to do all the things that she did before her little one arrived. I came across slings and thought they were such an amazing way of empowering new parents, but as much as I looked around, I just couldn’t find the perfect sling.

Everything I could find was either made of quite a thick cotton which I worried would be too warm for her to be comfortable in all day, especially as she’s fairly active. I couldn’t find one option that offered a sustainable solution in its fabric selection which in these times seemed crazy to me and it really was such an important factor in my decision-making process. The other problem was that they all seemed to come in really basic colours which I knew she wouldn’t be keen on. Her style is a part of her identity and I didn’t see any reason that she should have to compromise on that as a Mum. 

So, as I had a background in product development (I actually worked at a sports brand before I started Freerider Co.) I felt like I could create a sustainable solution that parents, including my cousin, would really want and I really wanted to be able to help support and empower all of these amazing parents going through such a change in their lives. 
So I set to work and put all my savings into creating the first run of Freerider Co. slings and nearly five years later, here we are! 

What makes Freerider wraps different?

For us, it really comes down to two things; the sustainable fabric selection and the design. We use 100% Tencel fibers to create our slings which are produced from the pulp of Austrian Beechwood trees from sustainably managed tree forests. As well as being the most sustainable fabric available in babywearing right now, it also has so many other properties that make it amazing for baby slings.

Tencel is supersoft – it actually feels like silk when you touch it – which is perfect for something that you’re going to have against yours and your newborn’s skin. It’s also exceptionally lightweight and breathable, and anyone who has carried a baby on a warm day knows exactly how important this can be. Cotton slings hold a lot of heat in, our fabric allows for amazing auto-regulation of your baby’s body temperature (and stops you getting hot and sweaty because nobody needs that). The feel of fabric is the main thing that parents commented on when they voted Freerider Co. the winners of “Best Baby Carrier” at the Mother & Baby Awards in 2019 & 2020.

When I founded Freerider Co., the options for baby slings seemed to pretty much consist of black or grey, with a few exceptions. Since the beginning, we’ve worked with top print designers to create designs that allow parents to show their unique style while wearing their babies. We’re constantly working on bringing new prints to market as well as keeping our range of block colours fresh and on-trend. I believe what we wear is such an amazing way that we’re able to express ourselves as individuals and I wanted parents who choose Freerider Co. slings to still be able to do that. 

I honestly make it my personal mission every day for Freerider Co. slings to be the highest quality and most sustainable carriers we can possibly produce. (Oh, and we also think our packaging is really pretty!)

What does ‘sustainability’ mean to you as a brand?

This is such an important question. I think as a brand in today’s world, we have a real responsibility to ensure that we’re creating products and doing business in a way that doesn’t negatively impact the planet for our future generations. I think the modern consumer is so much more aware of the impact that their buying decisions have on the earth, but the sustainability push has to be driven by brands.

Ultimately, we have to get to a point where the sustainable choice is also the only choice. Most parents aren’t going to choose a brand just because they call themselves sustainable, if they’re not making the best products on the market, so that’s what we’re trying to do at Freerider Co. We believe we have the best product out there and it is sustainably made. 

We’re constantly analysing every part of our brand and asking ourselves what we can do better. From the selection of our fabrics to our recyclable packaging, we’re committed as a business to asking the difficult questions, making the hard decisions that are rarely the least expensive and fully committing to sustainable practice so we can be proud of our contribution as a company. 

What are your top tips for parents who want to shop in a sustainable, eco-conscious way?

Honestly, I’d say just doing a small amount of research makes such a difference. The move to a completely sustainable culture won’t happen overnight, but as consumers, we have to show companies that sustainability is important enough to impact what we buy. That way we can encourage more and more companies to see sustainability as a priority. So make sure you’re checking what fabrics your clothes are made of before you buy them, and feel free to reach out to companies and question them on how their products are made. We’re always happy when a customer takes an interest in this kind of thing and asks us questions about our processes. It is something we spend an incredible amount of time on and we are proud to explain all the steps we take, any other company putting this kind of attention to detail into their sustainable practices will be the same. 

One last thing: we know everyone needs to return things they buy online every now and then, but try to use paper packaging (or better yet, re-use the packaging your products arrive to you in) for your returns, and when it comes to tape, less is definitely more, this makes it way easier for packaging to be recycled afterwards.

Freerider Slings are now in stock at the Wear My Baby Boutique (London SW17) and online, from £50.

Hannah Wallace
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