Questions for Michal Chesal, President of Baby K'tan Baby Carrier
Q: The first thing we really want to know is why wearing your baby is so popular these days?
Well simply put all the research done by medical experts clearly tells us that wearing your baby improves your baby's mental, physical & emotional development. An added plus is that it helps with the bonding process while giving the adult some freedom.
Q: It seems like there are already so many baby carriers out there! Why did you feel a new one was necessary?
We basically created the Baby K'tan out of necessity, desiring a baby carrier that was comfortable for us and our children, easy to use, and offered various carrying positions allowing us to carry our children longer. While other baby slings & carriers are often thrown in the back of a closet after a while due to discomfort, complicated to use, limited positions or weight limit, the Baby K'tan is the energizer bunny, outlasting the others. Children will benefit from being carried longer in it.
Q: Can you explain what you meant by "necessity" being the reason behind Baby K'tan?
The Baby K'tan was invented out of sheer necessity by four of us: two couples, each with a special needs baby in our family. My husband and I started tinkering with existing carriers because our son, Coby, was born with Down syndrome. His hypotonia (low muscle tone) meant that the standard, forward-facing structured carriers were adversely affecting his muscular development. A physical therapist insisted we stop using them. We were bummed because we wanted Coby to be able to see the world!
Q: So why not use a sling?
Actually, we did try a sling for a little while, but it put too much pressure on my shoulder, had no back support, and I felt like I always had a bunch of fabric hanging off me. Plus, I never felt like he was secure. I always had one arm wrapped around him, which defeated the whole purpose.
Q: How is the Baby K'tan different from other carriers?
What sets it apart is our patent-pending design. It's remarkably easy to use, while also being more secure than most. The figure 8 shape has a sliding back support band, making us different than the common slings on the market, as it rests on both your shoulders and supports your back.
Q: And why is it easier to use?
No wrapping, no rings, no snaps, no buckles, no nothing. Put it on and go. This makes it very popular with dads, in particular.
Q: Is the Baby K'tan only for special needs kids?
Not at all! While it's great for them -- and for preemies -- it's perfect for every kid. You can carry a child comfortably until he's three to four years old. It's great for nursing, for traveling, for --
Q: What was your first step in creating the Baby K'tan?
We received a gift from someone overseas and it was sort of like having two slings. We thought, "this is better," but it still wasn't amazing. So we had a seamstress make two slings out of a softer cotton and then connect them. It was great! Suddenly, we had this makeshift carrier and Coby could sit facing forward, pouch-like, but secure. He was in it all the time: on the street, at home. I was a day trader at the time, and I'd be at the computer with him in the carrier. I can't tell you how many comments we got from people on the street. Everyone, I mean everyone we passed wanted to know where we'd gotten this amazing carrier.
Q: Is that when you started thinking about a business?
No. What happened was, our good friends - she's an attorney, he was a biology researcher - had a son born with a serious heart defect. He had surgery before he was four weeks old, and that left him fragile and very sensitive to pain. So we insisted they try our homespun carrier. They loved it, and they had the same experience we had - they couldn't make it down the street without constantly being asked where they'd gotten it. They came back to us and said, we really ought to improve upon this concept and sell it.
Q: Who among you had small business experience?
Not a single one of us.
Q: How's the friendship faring?
Just fine! At least one night a week for the past few years, we've held Baby K'tan meetings at one of our houses. The six kids play while we deal with patents, trademarking, testing, and everything else that comes with launching a new product. We received our first shipment in March 2007, and launched in April. Baby K'tan's instant popularity has been staggering, but absolutely wonderful.
Q: Any famous folks sporting the Baby K'tan?
Sarah Gilbert is a satisfied customer! And now the Dempsey & Cross twins have their own monogrammed K'tans!
Q: What does Baby K'tan mean, anyway?
K'tan is a play on words meaning "little" in Hebrew, so, taken together, the whole name means "little baby."
Q: Is the fearsome Florida foursome cooking up any other products?
Yep. You'll have to check back in a few months...
Check us out at www.babyktan.com, call 866-YES-KTAN, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
One baby carrier...all the answers!