What town/city are you based in?
Number of generations
Manufacturer and retailer of babywearing products
Number of employees
Tell us about your family business (What you do, how you started, who’s involved etc)
Lifft Slings is our 3 generation family business, designing and making stretchy wraps and pouch slings in Yorkshire. The stretchy wraps are used to carry babies from birth and our pouches are great for carrying older babies and toddlers up to 3 years.
From our base in Sheffield, Michael heads up the accounts, business development, IT and operations areas, whilst Alex manages Marketing, Advertising, Events, Customer Service and is a Babywearing Consultant. Our stretchy wraps and pouch slings are made by Michael’s mother who is an experienced seamstress. Our 2-year-old daughter is involved in the business using our products on a daily basis whether it’s a rainy dog walk or a trip to the supermarket, helping demo at sling meets and working as a Demo Baby/Toddler on our stands at baby shows.
Initially, we made our comfortable and compact Lifft Pouch Slings. These have been shown to improve the posture of the wearer, compared to carrying a one-year-old on your hip in your arms. They are quick and simple to use, comfortable and compact so great for everyday use with your baby or toddler.
After months of product development and safety testing, we launched our Lifft Stretchy Wraps in 2016 which have been incredibly popular with babywearing consultants, members of the public and specially selected retailers.
We predominantly retail our slings via our website, but love meeting customers face to face whether at sling library sessions or baby shows and events. We are always incredibly busy demonstrating our slings at events and showing parents how to safely carry their little ones.
What’s your proudest moment/biggest achievement as a family business?
We have had many proud moments in different aspects of our business.
At our most recent exhibition, The Baby and Toddler Show in Manchester we taught with a weighted doll then helped a family wrap their 9-day old baby in a stretchy wrap. It was the first time they had used any sling to carry their baby. The proud grin on their faces is worth so much more than the limited profits we make on our products.
One of our greatest achievements as a business includes receiving amazing feedback from sling libraries and babywearing consultants for the new Lifft Stretchy Wraps after months of hard work in the development and testing stages. Many libraries bought a sling within the first week of them being launched which indicates the faith they have in our business. They have also been incredibly well received by parents.
Seeing our slings featured in Juno Magazine, Close Enough to Kiss Magazine, Mother and Baby magazine and shortlisted for the Mummii Awards are also great highlights and increase the awareness of our brand in a very competitive market dominated by huge companies with vast marketing budgets.
As parents, we are very proud to see our daughter choosing to carry her dolls around in her own custom made Lifft pouch and stretchy wrap, made by her Nana (our seamstress). She gently pats their back, checks their airways are good and even adjusts their positioning to ensure her dolls are comfortable.
What do you love about being a family business?
By running our own family business, we have the flexibility to work around the needs of our daughter, and the opportunity to provide amazing Yorkshire made products and customer service to other families to enable them to carry their children.
As a business, we aim to look after our customers from the initial contact via email/ twitter or conversation in the park, through to purchasing the sling and aftercare. We offer the personal touches only a small family business can deliver such as remembering repeat customers at 6 monthly Baby and Toddler Shows, offering email support about correct positioning or signposting to their local sling library. We work incredibly hard, mainly during antisocial hours around the needs of our daughter and understand the busy family lives our customers are likely to have.
We are proud to support UK manufacturing and employ our seamstress Heather to make our slings near Hull when most of our competitors are making their slings overseas where the labour costs are lower. We actively support other UK businesses by using them to supply our business wherever possible. We believe in our products and use our pouches most days to carry our daughter, thus meeting her needs and potentially inspiring others to carry their babies and toddlers.