It is midday on Sunday and there are 50 women on a Facebook page all bidding for the chance to have a custom made handwoven baby wrap.
The bidding is fierce. It starts at $200 and 30 minutes later closes at $1210. All the mums that missed out are quick to congratulate the winner and let her know they can’t wait to see her creation.
This is the fascinating world of high end handwoven wraps. A world where mums are shunning prams in favour of wrapping their babies as they bid, trade, buy, sell and search for highly sought after wraps from around the world. It is a practice which is often described as going down the rabbit hole.
The demand for certain weaver’s wraps outstrips their ability to create them, making them highly prized and weavers such as Mad Hatter Warped and Woven can command huge prices of around $4,000.
Down the rabbit hole I quickly found myself after searching for the perfect carrier for my baby. I remembered I had used a piece of fabric to wrap my first child 10 years earlier and then a friend offered me the use of her machine woven wrap.
Then I remembered meeting a woman in a park while I was pregnant who had her baby wrapped in the most divine, baby soft, handwoven fabric I had ever seen. Quickly I jumped online and discovered a new world of handwoven wraps.
When I began my search, I was having heart palpitations at spending $270 on a wrap, however within a short period I was addicted. I would get up each morning and scour the Facebook groups to see what new wraps had been put up for sale and then spend large chunks of the day swapping pictures of ones I admired with my newfound Facebook wrap friend.
I certainly didn’t feel this way about my Ergo or the piece of calico I got to carry my first child. When I wear my wrap I feel like I glow, even on my most tired days and I love the feeling of having my baby snuggled against me in a blanket as soft as cotton wool; whatever I am doing she is right there learning about life with me.
Part of the thrill of these wraps is buying one that lots of other mums are ogling too, or getting one from a weaver whose designs I have drooled over and finally being able to own one for myself.
I now own three wraps and my most recent purchase, which is on its way from a mum in America, was more than double my initial purchase at $650. But further down the rabbit hole I go as I long to get my hands on an elusive Mad Hatter.
Perhaps I will post on one of the Desperately In Search Of files on the Facebook groups and perhaps a lovely mum will offer me a payment plan.
Wearing my wraps feels wonderful; the colours, feel of the fabric and comfort it brings to my baby uplifts me. Even in the night when I can’t feed my baby to sleep I will wrap her up and she will snuggle into my chest, cocooned against me.
Australian weaver Louise Randell, whose label is called Luna Cocoon Handwovens, agrees it really is addictive.
“Some mums have a stash of up to 50 wraps and most start out thinking they will just buy one, but few stop at the one,” she said.
“I understand how initially people might find the prices quite confronting, but ... handwoven wraps have an energy that is unmistakable.
“It is a piece of wearable art that lifts and enhances women’s life and it comes with soul and love which flows on to the child."
One Tasmanian mum said she gets a thrill out of being able to try different fabrics and designs and currently owns three wraps and has two custom wraps being made. Her most expensive cost $1700.
Louise’s advice for anyone wanting to try a handwoven wrap is to join a local baby wearing group or Facebook group to get advice before buying. Once you decide which weavers you like there are Facebook chat groups for each weaver where second-hand wraps are advertised for sale.