Babywearing All-star Feature: Charlotte Kaufman’s Inspired Life
Meet Charlotte Kaufman, founder and owner of Red Charlotte, a popular baby carrier accessory shop on Etsy, and a Boba Babywearing All-star. Charlotte designs and produces all sorts of things to make life while babywearing even easier and more enjoyable for mom, dad and baby, like sucking pads and stuff sacks (she helped Boba in the early development of ours), and even recently released her own child-sized baby carrier for dolls.
But beyond the promotion that she and her shop do for the ease and joy of babywearing, she is a living example of enjoying life to the fullest and striking out on adventure with the whole family (in this case, her toddler girl, husband, and she).
I caught up with Charlotte recently to talk babywearing, business and living life outside of the box. She shared with us how beneficial it was to be hands-free by using a wrap and then a soft-structured carrier with Cora, her now 22-month-old daughter, especially for life on a boat.Â Charlotte and her family live on their boatÂ Rebel HeartÂ year-round and the joys and challenges that presents make for some creative problem solving!
On our second date my husband told me he wanted to sail around the world. This intrigued me. I love to travel and the idea of bringing my â€śhomeâ€ť with me was enticing. 10 months after our first date we bought our sailboat together. Living on a boat has truly been the foundation of our relationship so when we decided to have children there was never any doubt about having them on the boat with us. Cora is a boat baby through and through!
I became hooked on SSCs and started researching others as well. No one in my immediate family had ever worn their babies and I was the first of my local friends to have babies so I had no one to talk to or ask questions. I turned to the internet and found local babywearing mamas who were speaking my language! It is so helpful to have a support group of fellow babywearers.
Charlotte was a high school teacher and took a semester off to be home with her baby girl, but after the semester was over she didn’t want to leave her baby to go back to work full-time. It was her direct experience of babywearing and life aboard a sailboat that led her to sew her own now popular sucking pads (to keep her SSC in good condition) and stuff sacks (to keep her SSC wrangled up when not in use). After getting lots of positive feedback from friends, she turned to the idea of opening an Etsy store to share her creations at Red Charlotte was born.
There a lot of things I love about working on Etsy. They give you so many tools to help you succeed. There are a tremendous amount of tutorials and ongoing shop seminars. I also love that so many Etsy sellers are fellow work at home moms. I am blown away and inspired every day by the creativity I see on Etsy. I try to support fellow Etsy sellers as much as possible with my own purchases.
I never knew how hard it was to be a mother until I became one myself. Now I think my own mother is a SAINT! Being a working mom has its own unique challenges too but Iâ€™m so grateful that I have a platform like my Etsy shop because it gives me a lot of flexibility with my schedule. I can still take Cora on play dates or to swim lessons because I do a lot of my work in the evenings or during her naps.
Charlotte also co-authors a blog with fellow creative and photographer Ella Sherman called FinchFound. CoveringÂ motherhood, conscious consumption and design, the blog explores topics like babywearing and often features other work at home mothers and Etsy shops. Life on Rebel Heart has given Charlotte a keener sense of consumerism, and the blog often reflects ways to keep the “stuff” of life at a minimum while enjoying life to the maximum.
FinchFound gives me a space to show people why I love what I do.Â Living on a sailboat has forced to me truly think about everything I buy and whether I need it or not. I try to reflect this attitude in FinchFound. Many of my posts showcase items that are both beautiful AND useful and preferably sustainable or handmade.
We think her life on board a sailboat and conscious outlook in regards to consumerism and function are especially inspiring. There are a lot of families making “alternative” choices about raising their families, be it by simply reducing rampant baby bling, living in unusual locations or traveling with children long-term, and the parents of these “out of the box” families often express huge benefits that outweigh challenges associated with their lifestyle choices. As per living on a boat, Charlotte echos this notion; that a life chosen out of passion and inspiration leads to creativity and joy, and is easier than you think.
The benefits are many to raising a baby on a boat. We live very close to each other, and both my husband and I can quickly respond to her needs. Cora loves the wildlife that lives right outside our boat. She is always on the water either swimming, dinghy sailing, or paddle boarding with us and she gets lots of fresh air and sunshine.
The challenges are few. Laundry was difficult when she was a newborn just because there was so much of it. Bathing her also has been interesting. We donâ€™t have hot or running water on the boat (we manually pump water via a foot pump). So we heat water on the stove to bathe her.Â She has far less toys than most of her peers and that suits us just fine. There is plenty to do outside anyway!
When I asked Charlotte about herÂ personal Babywearing All-stars, she had this to say:
I have to say the most important all-star in my life is my own mother. She didnâ€™t know about babywearing and she had SEVEN children. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time like Marty McFly in Back to the Future and meet my mom and introduce her to babywearing. I think it would have helped her a lot. She is absolutely my biggest cheerleader. She has embraced the idea of babywearing wholeheartedly and tells all of her friends about it as well.
I am also inspired by my fellow babywearing boat mamas. We are a very close-knit (and small) community and we share tips and tricks for living our unique lifestyle. Lastly, my own local babywearing group, Babywearing San Diego has amazing leaders and members. I have to give a shout out to the entire group for their wealth of knowledge and support of my own San Diego business.
Thank you Charlotte, for all you do and for being a strong role model for babywearing mothers and adventurers the world over!
Know a Babywearing All-star you’d like to see featured on the Boba Blog? Send me an email or tweet me to nominate a person or business and we’ll check them out! (Note: I’ll be on maternity leave after June 30, 2012, so if you have a recommendation to make after that date, email [email protected], thanks!)