In the Media….courtesy of the Guelph Mercury August 2008
August 18, 2008
“I love sewing, I love fabric and I love babies,” Tanja MacKenzie says.
We sit at a picnic table at Sunnyacres Park in Guelph watching the youngest of MacKenzie’s four children, four-year-old Maiya, and my five-year-old daughter collect leaves that have drifted into the wading pool.
Her eight-year-old son Jakob stops by the table and when he sees she’s taken out one of her handmade baby slings to show me, he points to it and says, “I help.”
It’s true. Occasionally, he helps his mom add the soft padding to her chic collection of pouch slings.
You see, in addition to keeping a watchful eye over her large family, MacKenzie is the owner, designer, seamstress and marketing director for her clothing and baby-wear label, Sewfunky.
This is a woman who knows something about time crunches.
She also knows her way around a sewing machine. So when she couldn’t find a comfortable baby carrier after the birth of her son Ben six years ago, she made one herself.
While out in Guelph with Ben snuggled into his handmade sling, she found herself answering one question with surprising regularity, “Where did you get that funky sling?”
And so Sewfunky was born.
MacKenzie offers her customers four types of slings which allow them, quite literally, to wear their babies while they get on with other tasks. These are not your generic baby carriers made from sturdy, serviceable material with plastic buckles and seatbelt straps. No, they are apparel, made for comfort and style. To accommodate the varied lifestyles of today’s parents and caregivers, MacKenzie’s slings are available in organic fabrics, stretchable cotton, cool linen, bamboo, sports mesh and even silk.
“Parents really need their hands and babies really want to be held. It’s about getting your hands and your life back,” MacKenzie says. “I just want parents to know that there’s an easier way.”
MacKenzie notes that slings give parents, grandparents and caregivers an easy opportunity to bond with babies and toddlers and to quickly calm a fussy child. The sling can also be put on prior to leaving the house. When you arrive at the grocery store or mall there is no need to struggle with straps and buckles. Simply transfer your little one from car seat or stroller to sling and be on your way.
As we chat, MacKenzie occasionally points out one of her slings, worn by a parent wandering past or through the park. Kasia Anderson is kind enough to stop by with 15-month-old son Avyn to show me how she uses her sling. She picks up a struggling Avyn, who until now has been happily toddling along on two feet. As soon as he is placed into the soft folds of the sling, he settles and begins to nurse. Another satisfied customer.
Christie Zimmer lives in Guelph. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.