Oscha is a family-run sling business, set up by father-daughter duo, Mike and Zoe Masters. Based in Scotland, the company’s goal is to make babywearing common practice in the U.K. and worldwide.
By creating beautiful and ethically-made baby carriers and accessories, Oscha gets people excited about attachment parenting. Their products feature a range of unique patterns, colors and luxury yarn blends — all inspired by art, nature, and the beautiful Scottish landscape.
Oscha co-founder, Zoe Masters, says: “Supporting the local economy and working ethically are really important to us. We have an exclusive relationship with our mill in Lancashire, England. They weave our fabrics from ethically sourced and organic yarns, and all the dye work and finishing are also carried out locally to the mill.”
I had a chance to speak to Zoe Masters about Oscha’s products, values, and the importance of babywearing. Here’s what she has to say:
Q1: What inspired you to create Oscha?
A: When my daughter was 16 months I gave birth to premature twin boys, and slings became a life-saver. I felt that baby carrying was quite niche and wished to promote the amazing & plentiful benefits.
At the same time, most of the available options were quite dull or with patterns geared towards the child. I wanted to make design-led slings that parents would feel good using, and develop fabric blends and styles that would excite customers.
Q2: How do you choose the patterns and designs of your wraps, ring slings and carriers?
A: We do most of the design work in-house, focusing on strong, elegant line-work and timeless art, as well as inspiration from the natural world and the Scottish landscape. We sometimes use traditional motifs and are often inspired by artistic movements, such as Art Nouveau.
Occasionally customers get in touch and ask for their designs to be woven, so we may work with talented individuals to develop their work.
Q3: What makes Oscha wraps and rings slings different than anything else on the market?
A: The range of unique patterns, beautiful colorways and exclusive, luxury yarn blends. We have developed a number of unique products, for instance, our soft structured carriers: the Oscha Cairis & Coorie, Highland pleat ring sling and light weight ‘Ceò’ scarves. We also have an exclusive relationship with Middle Earth Enterprises to make patterns inspired by Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings & the Hobbit.
Related: Babywearing Saves the Day
Combined with our local production and ethical focus, you won’t find this anywhere else!
Q4: For people who have never used an Oscha wrap: How can they learn to use it?
Every sling comes with a detailed instruction booklet. We also have a ‘how to use’ section on our site where you can view a number of videos. There are some dedicated YouTubers out there who have some great tutorials. Check out Wrap You in Love.
Another great option is to find your local sling library or consultant – not only is it nice to meet some like-minded parents, nothing beats seeing someone use a sling in real life to pick up the techniques.
Q5: Can you tell us a little bit about your carriers? What makes them so unique?
A: We wanted to develop a carrier that gave people speedy options, and also to make something elegant that offered the comfort of a woven wrap. I had found that the carriers on the market dug in at my waist, and there was a lot of black webbing and buckles, so I wanted to eliminate those issues and make something beautiful.
Both the waist styles on our Cairis and Coorie are stylish and comfortable, and provide broad cushioning to prevent digging. The Cairis is your lightweight, simply stylish option, we have it in a range of patterns on the site.
The Coorie, which takes a day to make, is your tailored option. It was developed from our popular Highland pleat ring sling style and is for sale through custom slots where you can purchase it in a unique pattern/colorway combination with a maximum of four made. Alternatively there are two standard styles readily available on the site.
Q6: There are so many babywearing options out there: Do you have any advice on how parents can decide whether to go for a carrier, ring sling, or wrap?
A: My top tip is to go to a consultant or library to check out the options first and get advice. Also watch some YouTube videos and get an idea of how each one works.
Ultimately, though, you might be surprised at what will work for you! We do in-house sling training for the staff, and many of them thought they would opt for something that seems easy to use – like the Cairis carrier or a ring sling. However, when they tried a wrap, they absolutely loved it! They found it to be the most comfortable, and it creates a true sense of embrace and snuggliness! They were also surprised at how simple it can be to use.
There is more of a learning curve, but we encourage everyone to slow down, take your time, and enjoy those moments. It’s so worth it.
Q7: You guys have a very big social media presence. What role does the social media community play in your business?
A: It would be impossible to understate it really! I was part of a thriving online community for natural parenting and babywearing, called Natural Mamas, and connected with a lot of people who ultimately became our customers and advocates of the business. Later, many moved to Facebook as it’s a hub for babywearers, who are really quite disparate, to connect and geek out, as well as find support and friendship.
We recently started up our own fan group – Clan Oscha. It’s amazing for us to be able to constantly get this direct feedback & we really enjoy chatting with our customers.
Another thing the lively Facebook community has spawned is pre-order groups – where those who want to see certain patterns/colorways/fabric blends come to life group together and we work with them to weave the items they want.
Oscha mostly sells directly through their site: www.oschaslings.com and also through some selected boutique stores throughout the world – you can find a list here.
About Zoe Masters
Zoe studied for a degree in social anthropology, pursued a career in fine art, and trained as a shiatsu practitioner before becoming a mother of three children. While all three were under two years of age, she found using slings an invaluable support. In 2010, she was inspired to collaborate with her father, and set up Oscha Slings when her twins were only 12 months old. They were the first to set up a jacquard woven sling business in the United Kingdom, and have since been employing a team of skilled crafts people to help make their business a success.