Lorette is a storyteller and being the owner of Slingababy is just one of her many adventures that make up this beautiful story. It turns out that our conversation is less about running a training company and more about how to live!
Lorette came to the UK for a work placement some years ago as part of her studies at Chemistry School in France. She had been enjoying student life a little too much and had just started to apply herself so that she could have a career. Then whilst on her placement she fell in love, so rather than going back to France she took a job offer and decided to make her home here. She was also working several ‘mini jobs’, all sociable and customer focussed – running a bar on a Friday night and waitressing for an events company. What Lorette really wanted though was to start a family.
The next part of her story also starts with love, this time a romance with a talented musician, the man who was to became the father of her children. It wasn’t long before she was expecting their son and that was when Lorette found her way to babywearing. It was a facebook photo a friend posted with her baby snuggled up in a wrap that jogged a memory from way back. In her teens Lorette spent a couple of months living in the 18th Arrondissment of Paris and admired all the black mums with their babies on their backs. This was the spark and what followed was a lot of research until she had found exactly what she was looking for. She called her parents and told them she was coming home so she could attend a Je Mon Porte Bebe class. And so Lorette’s lifelong love and relationship with slings began. When her son was just a few weeks old she made a similar visit in order to attend their back carrying workshop. More courses followed and then consultancy training both in France and in the UK, lapping up every course that was on offer to add to her growing knowledge.
It was after attending a couple of UK consultancy courses that she commented to a friend that she felt something was missing, that even with all of the training put together it wasn’t quite covering everything she wanted to know. Lorette’s helpful friend suggested she set up her own, what did she have to lose? If it was no good then no one would come. But they did.
The first Slingababy Course had two attendees, the second had three and its format has changed little since then. It is still held over four days and covers all the different sling types with a community project to be carried out afterwards in order for attendees to complete the course. I did it 8 years ago and one of the loveliest memories I have is that she cooked lunch for us all every day. This simple nurturing gesture really stuck with me and demonstrates what is at the heart of Lorette’s business and lifestyle – which is love. This is the point when I ask her about the business and its future, but I already know that Lorette doesn’t see herself as a businesswoman. She is a big hearted person who follows her feelings and takes opportunities when they present themselves, ‘profit’ and ‘scaling up’ are not in her vocabulary. Slingababy is a wonderful way to work because it allows her to be the parent she wants and to help others simultaneously. She works just four days a month and spends the rest of the time with her children.
Before the pandemic Slingababy allowed Lorette to travel, initially with her son and daughter and then with her partner. She has taught all over the world and has spread her unique and focussed perspective as far as New Zealand. This sounds like an incredible way to witness the differences and similarities in parenting the world over, but in fact she has seen very few big cultural differences in the way people parent. The hardest thing to hear was in South Africa when one mama on the course recounted how she was only able to see her daughter once a year because she worked away. An unthinkable situation for most of us, but necessary for many the world over, not just in Africa.
When she wasn’t travelling with Slingababy she and the children were taking in the sights of the UK in their campervan which is now also their home. Currently the van and family are at a standstill but Slingababy is not, with online courses and CPD continuing to inspire. Lorette refuses to ease up on her mission to spread love through her teaching. Showing parents and caregivers one of the greatest tools for connection and contact – the use of a sling!