Monthly Archives

September 2014

Catbird Seat Blog Project Contest/Giveaway Mei Tais Pikkolo

Watch our new video!

September 25, 2014
by Beth Leistensnider, founder/president of Catbird Baby


So back in February Karyn Thurston of the blog Girl of Cardigan wrote this awesome post that knocked our socks off. With poetic grace, Karyn brought “the catbird seat” (the phrase our company is named after) to life. And this project was born.


Karyn smiles for the camera, while Liz, our director, makes sure that Clark doesn’t fall down while perched on the stair railing.

Since Karyn is based in Portland, OR, we decided to shoot there. Karyn hooked us up with her friend, filmmaker Liz Vice (who sings beautifully in addition to making amazing films) and we got to work. Making a video was a new endeavor for us. We learned so much along the way. At first we were nervous about taking on this kind of project, but by the end, we knew we had created something special.


Public transit + babywearing=winning!

And today, we are so excited to be sharing this video with you. We hope you agree that it shows both moms, dads and babies in the place of best advantage—the catbird seat. From convenience, to connection, to mobility; from comfort, to security, to freedom—there’s no better place to be.


Getting adjusted before the shot.

The Catbird Seat from Catbird Baby on Vimeo.

To celebrate our video’s public premier, we are giving away the 4 carriers shown in the video: Sunset mei tei, Annika mei tei, Zephyr pikkolo, and Georgia pikkolo. Tell us which carrier or scene is your favorite;  comment (here or on Facebook), share, and then fill complete the Rafflecopter entry form for a chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Filming a family selfie. So meta.



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Baby Carrier Industry Alliance Behind the Scenes

After the Ice Bucket

September 23, 2014
by Beth Leistensnider, founder and president of Catbird Baby

left, Vesta Garcia, right, Joanna McNeilly (BCIA board member and founder of Center for Babywearing Studies)

This summer, in the midst of the incredibly successful viral fundraising campaign #ALSIceBucketChallenge (sponsored by ALSA, the ALA Association), I was utterly shocked to learn that someone I know had just been diagnosed with ALS. The reason that I’m sharing it here on our business blog is because this person is Vesta Garcia. While this name may not ring a bell with everyone reading, if babywearing has meant something in your life, either personally or professionally, you owe Vesta a debt of gratitude.

Vesta has helped shape the modern grassroots movement that brought so many traditional (and traditionally-inspired modern) baby carriers to the widespread use and popularity they enjoy today. In 2002 Vesta started, selling a wide variety of traditional baby carriers, from traditional mei tais imported from China to rebozos from Mexico and more. When she couldn’t find sources for some of the traditional carrier types she wanted to offer, she went on to found Ellaroo, designing and manufacturing her own mei tais (and the mei hip carrier), wraps, and ring slings.

In 2007, Vesta was prescient enough to realize that a safety standard that understood modern slings and wraps was sorely needed–and she approached ASTM (the independent body that works to create safety standards that are then often adopted by the CPSC, or Consumer Products Safety Commission) and asked for a standard to be written. Little did she know that she had just volunteered herself to write the standard; but Vesta jumped in headfirst (along with fellow manufacturers Kristen DeRocha, founder of Hotslings, Darien Wilson, founder of Zolowear, and Susan Gmeiner, founder and president of Maya Wrap) and took on the task with aplomb.

Vesta then became the first Executive Director of the BCIA (Baby Carrier Industry Alliance), and used her considerable skills of logic, diplomacy, and charm to advocate for an industry sorely in need of a strong and confident voice. Vesta worked tirelessly, far more hours than she was ever paid for. In 2012, Vesta left to pursue other goals, while maintaining her volunteer role as an ASTM chair and then technical committee member, while also consulting in the babywearing industry and going on to found, with DeRocha, Little Day Dresses.

I met Vesta first “virtually” through the online forum The Babywearer in the “Vendor’s Lounge.” And through these online business discussions about our unique corner of the entrepreneurial world, and eventually meeting in person and serving together on the executive committee of the BCIA (where I am a founding and current board member), I have come to count Vesta as not only a mentor, but a dear friend. That is why I want to share this fundraiser with you:  if your life has been touched by babywearing in any way, I ask that you consider offering even the smallest token of gratitude to Vesta and her family.

At the bottom of this linked page on the BCIA website, there is a button to donate directly to Vesta’s family. Vesta has always given 110% of herself, to her work, her family, her friends, and I hope that we can thank her by helping to make it possible for her to live her best life while facing the challenges that ALS will bring.


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Catbird Seat Blog Project Parenting

Around the World in the Catbird Seat

September 22, 2014

by Chaviva Gordon-Bennett
Back in January, when Ash was just a wee bean, I wrote about the deliciously awesome Catbird Baby carrier I’d been sent for review. With our dip into babywearing, we were exploring Moby-style wraps, Mei Teis, and Baby Bjorn-style carriers. In case you need a refresher on why “catbird” is the perfect terminology for any schlepped-about baby:

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded usage occurred in a 1942 humorous short story by James Thurber titled “The Catbird Seat,” which features a character, Mrs. Barrows, who likes to use the phrase. Another character, Joey Hart, explains that Mrs. Barrows must have picked up the expression from Red Barber, a baseball broadcaster, and that to Barber “sitting in the catbird seat” meant “‘sitting pretty,’ like a batter with three balls and no strikes on him.”

It was Catbird’s mei tei that I initially fell in love with when Ash was small, but as time went on and we became more mobile, the pikkolo became (and still is) my go-to carrier.

Here’s Ash at four months after our trip
to the U.S. and before our move to
the U.S.He is loving his carrier because
he can see everything and every one!

When we first visited the U.S. back in February before we made the decision to move, we struggled to pack lightly when it came to baby carriers. Mr. T was fond of the Moby-style wrap we’d concocted, while I was using a ring sling. While in the U.S., we even picked up an additional ring sling to replace the one I’d been borrowing, but Mr. T stuck to the stretchy wrap that I just couldn’t master.

Almost the moment we got back to Israel, I feel like Ash wasn’t perceptive to the ring sling, so I needed an alternative. I finally got to give the pikkolo from Catbird a try, and I haven’t looked back.

When we made the move to the U.S. in April, it made life a breeze in the airport when we packed the stroller full of our carry-ons. With no space for Ash in the overflowing stroller, he rode in the Catbird seat! It’s amazing how comfortable he was in it and how easy it is to get on and adjust when I’m by myself.

The most surprising thing I’ve found about having the Catbird pikkolo as a consistency is that Ash knows the carrier. If he’s kvetching and whining in the car and losing it when we park and I get out, he calms down and gets excited the moment he sees me putting on the carrier. When he was very little, I used to call it his “special Asher chair,” and he now knows that it’s his special spot to see everything going on and he brightens up and calms down immediately. Talk about a baby making a positive association!

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