Oscha was founded by Zoe Masters and her father, Mike Masters, in 2010 in Scotland. The company is a Contributing Sponsor for The Wrap Show 2017. In the following interview, Zoe shares more about Oscha.
How did Oscha come to be?
I had three children under 16 months (twin boys and a little girl), and the boys were premature. Using slings was essential for daily life, and having something pretty and tactile was so lovely when things are quite difficult and there’s little room for thinking of yourself.
I felt that there was a large gap in the market for design-led, parent-centred slings. I had previously worked as an artist and my Dad also worked as a fine artist and graphic designer, so we felt well placed to begin a new company.
What drew you to the world of wraps initially?
My great-grandmother used a Welsh nursing shawl and my Nana talked about that when I was a child. My parents also used slings. Later, the benefits were confirmed as I saw parents and babies around me benefiting from this closeness. I first used stretchy, hybrid carriers, then full buckles. It wasn’t until I had the boys that I figured out wrapping and came to understand why you would bother to learn it!
What inspires you in your work?
Design – and how the woven fabric enhances our artwork through different weave techniques. Finding colours that bring it all to life and experimenting with yarns. Then seeing how these combinations result in slings that people love to use and that they feel enhance their experience of carrying their children.
Why do you think wraps are so important for parents and children?
We all know the myriad benefits of carrying your child, so any carrier is great. The benefit of a wrap, emotionally, is that it enhances the experience of carrying – wraps are a progression of the feeling of embracing your child – the infinite adjustability, the flow of the fabric; it all goes into that feeling of extending the hug.
What is your favourite part about using woven wraps personally?
Support, adjustability – once I understood how to use them, nothing else was as comfortable. I love how elegant they are and the statement they make. I love the art of wrapping and the room for continuing to learn it – the infinite possibilities from each length of sling.
How do you encourage new parents who are interested but hesitant to try wrapping?
It seems like a steeper learning curve than other carriers, but once you have one carry pinned down, it’s actually very quick and usually incredibly comfortable. They are newborn to toddler and usually one size fits all (depending on the carry you want to do!), which is a big plus if your budget is an issue. We always recommend that hesitant new parents visit a local sling consultant, library or workshop in order to try in the company of more experienced wrappers. Sometimes that’s all you need to gain confidence.
What’s most exciting or satisfying about working in this industry?
The room for developing new ideas and being creative. Working collaboratively with customers and seeing their excitement about our products.
Where do you see Oscha in five years? Ten years?
Our main goal is to lead in normalising babywearing through creating beautiful designs and colour combinations. We’d like to build on demonstrating the many benefits of babywearing in order to achieve our overall aim too.
We’d like to think that we will be, as we are now, continually developing innovative and design-led products that people love to use and feel good wearing.
What experience do you hope for Oscha customers? In other words, what do you hope to accomplish or inspire through your work?
We hope to aid their connection with their children and make their lives easier through creating wraps that they love to use, are comfortable and make them feel good in every sense of the word!
Is there anything new about Oscha or its products that you’d like to share?
We have some lovely new Middle Earth wraps coming in some fresh designs plus Middle Earth Ceo scarves in some new blends. We’ve been working with the first cotton spinners in the British Isles for a generation, so we are excited about bringing out more options with their lovely yarns. We have also discovered a new finishing process for us, which has produced the most floppy, buttery soft wraps straight out of the bag – to be released soon! Oh and our full buckle carrier is in the final stages of development!