Carnival costume designer ‘unleashes’ baby carrier collection

Stephanie Lyew

December 13, 2021

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Soca may have been the driving force for Bonnie Lee’s foray into fashion design at a commercial level, but the carnival costumier will tell you that motherhood has given her a new sense of creativity and superpowers to create an entirely new product. For her latest business venture, she is marching into the baby carrier market with Unleashed Cub Collection.

“I always get cold feet before I do anything. The first thing any entrepreneur is concerned about is what the target consumer will think, but anyone who knows me will know once I put my mind to something, I will get it done. The goal was to create a brand of baby carriers for fashionable and forward-thinking parents,” she told Flair.

The ‘Unleashed’ tribe (from left) Thomas Coverson II, their son Abbas and designer-mom Bonnie, show how happy a baby can be in a piece from the newly introduced infant carrier collection. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Mother of a nine-month-old boy, Lee found that several carriers she had bought and received as gifts did not work for her. The bulkier designs hurt her son’s groin at the earlier stages, and then the wrap or sling types were too difficult for one person alone to put on. After in-depth market research, the designer identified where established brands were lacking, what was missing from the industry, and how she could change people’s opinions of carriers and make an impact with a new design that could compete with what was already out there.

“My son would not allow me to put him down. He needed to feel my skin or the warmth of my body, and I relied on having a carrier. One day while I was home alone, the thought of how I could make one that was suited to our needs started to whirl around in my head. Being the person I am, I used what I had, created a carrier by draping some fabric in an ‘X’ at the back, and to my surprise, I was able to wash his bottles, clean, cook, and get everything done all while he was sleeping in it,” Lee said.

She added: “Then I wore it to run some errands on the road. That was when a lot of women started asking where they could get one. This is similar to how my designing carnival costumes started — by wearing a piece made by me, for me — and it attracted others.”

The infant carrier can be adjusted for different stages. A band may even be used to support the head until the baby is stronger. 

The carrier Lee created stepped away from the typical fabric other brands used. It also has mesh on the inside to make it breathable, making it suitable to be worn in warm temperatures. It can be put on like a T-shirt, and the amount of fabric does not burden the parent. There are no hard-to-reach buckles in [the] back. Instead, there are rings at the side that make it easy to adjust and it “grows with parent and baby”, allowing parents to use the carrier throughout different stages of the baby’s growth.

The designer explained that the Unleashed Cub Collection was created for comfort and ease of use for both parents but then came “the nerve-racking part”: to engineer a convenient design and adhere to federal and children’s product safety standards. Having secured approval from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and with the necessary Children’s Product Certificate (CPC), Lee cleared that hurdle, and the infant carrier is now available on Amazon.

“I constantly wondered if it was good enough. Dealing with children, you want to make sure everything is safe. When I got the response of the CPSC and CPC, I could breathe. The good thing about our carriers is that you can move freely, work, relax, or dance with baby if you wish and not only feel, but know they are secure,” Lee said proudly.

A true bacchanalist, Lee said she can picture parents participating in carnival while wearing a carrier from the Unleashed Cub Collection because “soca does give powers”, but most importantly, the design allows for weight to be distributed evenly from the shoulder harness to the back, but she does not want anybody “to forget that their child is being worn in front of them and go wine up on each other”.

“An infant carrier promotes bonding between child and parent, and I say parent because it is not just made for moms, but dads, too. Mothers are 100 per cent inspiration for the business, but also, Unleashed encourages parents to share the responsibility, and I have had male customers that say it helps them to bond while doing tasks they would usually not be able to, while holding their baby. I love to see what other brands have done, but I believe I made a product I have not seen, one I thought was needed, and I feel it is essential for mothers, fathers, and, of course, the babies because at the end of the day, it is for them. I want every consumer to be content going about their day in an Unleashed Cub Collection baby carrier,” Lee continued.

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com

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Stephanie Lyew

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