If you are familiar with the baby wearing community you will recognize that hashtag. If you type it into Twitter or Instagram up pops photo after photo of proud moms and sometimes dads carrying their babies is a wide range of baby carriers. I stumbled upon this target audience while researching a baby carrier I was looking to purchase. Like anything to do with parenting there are divided camps, the woven wrap users vs. stretch wrap users vs. the Soft Structured carriers vs. the slings. Explained quite well I think in this blog entry: http://www.wrappedlife.ca/2015/03/what-your-baby-carrier-says-about-you.html?m=1.
All are united in the idea that babies should be snuggled close as much as possible. Who could argue with that?
The baby wearing community primarily seems to be made up of mothers of child bearing age. They have an active social media presence, primarily on Facebook but many groups also have regular in person meet ups.
One of the things I found most interesting when I started looking at this community is the cost of entry, the baby carriers featured on baby carrier blogs and Facebook groups are an expensive purchase and many of these women seem to own more than one. There are strong online communities selling previously loved carriers but even a used carrier is easily over $100.
What drives women to spend this amount of money and want to be part of this community? Well, speaking as a mom, part of it is selfish, by wearing your baby your hands are free for other activities, and strollers are cumbersome in crowded areas. So why not just buy an expensive carrier from Wal-Mart and call it a day. This is where the target audience comes in.
Baby carrier manufacturers are selling a lifestyle, marketing their carriers as a healthy, comfortable and safe parenting choice. They tout research that inexpensive carriers are uncomfortable and cause harm to growing babies. Different brands are hotly debated online, new patterns cause excitement and everyone seems to have their favourite. It gives mothers a sense of belonging, they can debate the merits of their favourite carrier online, or in person at organized meetings or while browsing at a local baby store. There is also a skill aspect, particularly among those that use woven wraps and they master new ways to tie their wraps.
Manufacturers know word of mouth is their best advertisement and you regularly see parenting blogs featuring sponsored posts reviewing different carriers.
In this day in age when many of us live far from family or may not have friends with children, baby wearing groups, either in person or online give a sense of community and the feeling of common values.