Ethos is a Greek word used to describe the nature or disposition of a person to another person. It is an ‘ethical appeal’ which someone uses to persuade someone else about positive aspects of their character, usually shown in a charitable way. It is also the perfect name for a business that not only makes it easy to afford great quality work, it is also a perfect name for one that creates a product that benefits multiple charitable organizations.
Ethos Babywearing is a Northern Utah based company, created in 2014 by Whitney, a first time mom and savvy business lady. Being fortunate to have friends who wore their babies, she was already introduced to the babywearing world before her son arrived. However, she very quickly noticed that babywearing was not always an entirely accessible nor affordable endeavor, though it was a much needed one. So she decided to journey into the world of creating a line of wraps that would meet both of these criteria for all babywearers; her goal was not to have a million dollar company but to spread the benefits of babywearing around her locally, statewide, continentally and globally. Hoping to make a difference in the world of babywearing, Whitney decided to create affordable, accessible wraps that would someday become a household name.
Their all cotton and cotton/BreatheBlend™ machine woven lines are great all around wraps that can take the workhorse load of daily wearing, yet at the end of the day have simple wash routines that make them easy to care for and maintain (BreatheBlend™ is the company’s own blend, one that will vary slightly depending on the wrap; the BreatheBlend™ used in Cascade Coral is a cotton/polyester blend, for example). This is a line that I would wrap with in the parking lot, being unafraid of dragging the tippy tails through the mud because I know that I can just toss it in the washer later that evening. These wraps are all incredibly thin in hand, yet surprisingly very comfortable on the shoulders, not digging in as you would expect from first feel of such a thin wrap. They are great for both quick ups around the house or long walks through the neighborhood. Both single layer and multiple layer passes work well and they can carry newborn to toddler. It’s no wonder that these wraps are ideal for donating- they can work for everybody!
As for charities, Whitney says that she knew from the birth of the company that they would give back. “We didn’t see a lot of wrap companies doing it at the time, and we wanted to be different. We chose the charities after each wrap was designed, seeing what spoke to us about the design or something that happened during the design phase that inspired the release.” Each and every wrap of Ethos Babywearing benefits a charitable organization (with the exception of ‘Lost in Translation’, which the company does not profit from in any way, but they do donate to local babywearing group Lending Libraries). Every single one. I know of no other wrap company off-hand where every wrap benefits part of a community. Many donate some and some donate many, but no other donates with ALL.
Their first wrap, Dusky Argyle, is 100% cotton and has benefited the Carrying On Project. The Carrying On Project is a non-profit organization that matches donated carriers of many types to military families who otherwise are unable to get a carrier on their own. The goal of this organization is to help create secure attachments through babywearing when deployments (and injuries) would otherwise make life very difficult on the service members and the families left behind. For the caregivers who remain stateside during a deployment, it can be tough playing the role of mom & dad (whether by the other parent, grandparent, guardian, etc.) and children can feel easily ‘abandoned’ by the parent(s) who have had to go. Being able to carry them close helps both caregiver and child feel attached and safe. Babywearing can become the eye of the storm that disrupts their daily lives.
Manhattan Sundown and Manhattan Skyward are also 100% mercerized cotton and both benefit a homeless shelter for women and children in the Bronx, called Siena House. Created in 1990, Siena House is a temporary residence for homeless single mothers trying to find work and affordable living. The House works to empower these women through independence and showing them their self-worth. Babywearing not only holds a key to the physical aspects of emotional attachment, but it provides these mothers with the practicality of being hands free to deal with daily life. It allows them to be self-reliant at a point where they may not quite feel like they can be, relying on others. Ethos wraps will continue to go a long way towards continuing to empower these mothers as they move forward in their lives.
Solace Vesper is both endearing and heartbreaking all at once. After hearing of the multiple losses of 2 dear friends, Whitney was inspired to name her newest wrap in honor of the memory of those lost and for the perseverance of those left behind. “Solace, which we named the wrap’s pattern, means comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness. Vesper, which we named the wrap’s colorway, means evening prayer: a representation of the feverish nighttime pleas into the darkness. This wrap is dedicated specially to the mothers who have lost a baby, but there are so many losses that deprive us of someone to hold. This wrap is for the fathers of those babies, too. It is for the grandbabies who have lost grandparents, and the grandparents who have lost grandbabies. Solace for the parent who has lost his or her partner. Solace for the mother who grieves the loss of the dreamed-of birth. Solace for the parent who has lost a parent. For the loss of a self that existed before a new chapter began. For the grievance of the loss of a relationship that ended. For the parents who grieve a brother or sister: an aunt or an uncle their babies won’t know.” Solace Vesper benefits Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a non-profit organization that provides remembrance photography services to families who have experienced the loss of a baby.
Cascade, the newest line at Ethos, is an innovative wrap where the benefits will go to an organization that is more widespread than mothers and children. One that hits close to home for the founder, The Mastocytosis Society is a nonprofit organization that promotes the education, research, and advocacy of a rare, debilitating, and almost completely invisible disease. This disease is multi-symptomatic, with side effects ranging from bone pain and widespread inflammation to sleeplessness and exhaustion. Whitney states that cascade means “a process whereby something, typically information and knowledge, is passed on”, and by advocating this worthy cause through the promotion of this new wrap, she and Ethos Babywearing are continuing to do just that. Cascade. “A process whereby something, typically information or knowledge, is passed on.”
Ethos’ handwoven line is cotton and banana silk, all handspun in Nepal. As with all handwovens, they going to cost more out of pocket than their budget line. However, as with all their other wraps, the cause is a good one. “Our handwovens benefit our artisans’ guild in Nepal, which has a charitable mission following the two major earthquakes that rocked the country in early 2015. They have built community toilets and sanitary facilities, community kitchens, temporary and permanent housing, schools, and delivered countless quantities of food and water to stricken areas.” By buying an Ethos handwoven, you not only get the benefits that come with it (cush, softness, the individual artisan’s skill that goes into creating it) but you help to support fair trade, needed community service projects, and the continuation of a timeless tradition that also creates work in an area that has come upon hard times. Maiti Nepal is one such organization in Nepal that can benefit from weaving work; young woman and girls who are rescued from human trafficking can learn a new craft as they try to begin life anew, free from oppression. Whitney saw this need and strives to fill it wherever she can.
|Overall, Ethos Babywearing is a phenomenal wrap company with values that go far beyond beauty and profit. They have created beautiful wraps, yes, but they are helping to create a more beautiful world through kindness and fairness, and are paving the way for other entrepreneurs in the babywearing world to hold themselves to a higher standard of accountability and affordability for the everyday caregiver.
*** Pictures courtesy of Ethos Babywearing website