Baby carriers are an investment, to say the least. There are some to be found for less than $50, but a majority of them are near $100, or more! Isn’t it just a piece of cloth? What’s the deal with the price?
The materials to make a woven wrap may not be much more than $60 or so, but one has to have a loom and know how to use it well. They also need to cut out lengths of thread to the width of a wrap. That could be upwards of 1,200 pieces of thread that need to be measured out and cut. Then those threads must be threaded onto the loom correctly. I recently read an older forum post about a woman who wove her own woven wrap. The supplies cost her $57 and the totally time it took her to complete the wrap was 58.5 hours. If she “paid” herself $9 an hour to make that wrap, it would cost $526.50 for it!
Mei Tai Carriers:
Bottom weight fabrics and heavy gauge thread and a sturdy sewing machine with heavy duty needles. Plus the time needed to cut it all out, piece it together and sew it. Additionally, if the maker is just starting out, there should be a testing period to make certain the carrier will hold up.
Slingrings, fabric, sewing machine, good quality thread and time to cut and sew. In general ring slings can be pretty inexpensive to make materials wise, but one must consider the person’s time and wear and tear on their sewing machine if they are producing many carriers.
Material, thread, sewing machine, plus the time to cut out and sew. Prices are near the same as ring slings as materials are nearly the same.
Soft Structured Carriers:
Materials-wise these baby carriers have the most cost with fabrics, buckles, webbing, plus other accessories. The time spent can add up as well with the placement of everything and making certain the weight bearing areas are super strong.
Baby carrier makers also advertise, and have back end costs such as paper for invoices and wearing instructions. There are also insurance costs to protect them in case the unthinkable happens and one of their carriers malfunctions. You see a baby carrier that seems like a simple fabric hammock for carrying your baby, but there are so many things that go into making that carrier, not all of them readily apparent. So, while no one likes to pay over $100 for a baby carrier, that money is probably helping at least one mama put food on her table for her family!
Disclamier: This is in no way a comprehensive list of everything that goes into making any sort of baby carrier. For a fabulously detailed explanation from someone who makes slings, check out this article by Jan at Sleeping Baby Productions.