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Monday, January 18, 2016

Tips and tricks for a successful BST experience: Part One

As you dip your toes into the huge world of babywearing you'll notice that there are hundreds of carrier options to choose. Different styles, materials, shapes, and sizes abound. How do you know where to buy? What those acronyms mean? How to pay? It may seem overwhelming at first but know that there's a huge community of like minded babywearers out there and everyone was just starting out at some point! In this first part of a two part series we'll cover some tips to get you started so that your first transaction goes as smoothly as possible.

Listing photo for a woven wrap in natural light.
We get a lot of questions about where to buy. Maybe you've come to a meeting and tried on or even checked out a Library carrier and now you're curious about making a similar purchase. 
Here in Middle Tennessee, we have a few options for purchasing in person.

  • You can find Infantino, Ergo, Moby, Boba, and Ktan at many big box stores like Target, Babies 'R' Us, and USA Baby. 
  • There are also smaller and more local boutiques like Green Pixie Baby, Bump & Rump, and Little Star that carry a changing roster of carriers. 
Many of us will also opt into purchasing carriers new or used online, either through a retailer or through an individual. Smaller companies often aren't sold in stores so your best bet may be starting at the brand's website or online boutique to find where to buy. If the website seems like a dead end with nothing but sold out carriers it may be time to look at the various BST groups.

  • You can often buy directly from a brand's webstore where they have carriers in stock or they may release them at a set date or time. 
  • You can look for an online boutique such as 5 Minute Recess, Purple Elm Baby, and Birdie's Room. Stores such as these will sometimes do layaway, discounts or sales, and exclusive releases of limited edition carriers. 
  • Converters may keep carriers in stock online as well. Check out Ziursrm BabyLil Peepers Keepers, and Chunky Monkey, three of our local converters.
  • BST groups on Facebook such as the "Budget Swap" and the "Big Swap" are hugely populated and full of deals on used or new carriers. Try searching by colorway, brand, or weave. 
  • The FSOT forums at The Babywearer are a fantastic resource.
  • Our local Chatter page has its very own FSOT album too!
Many online BST groups function with the warning of "buyer beware." This means that it's up to you to determine if a listing looks legit. You can always message a seller to ask questions or request more pictures. Ideally, any and all flaws would be disclosed but people are human and miss things- ask if you're concerned about undisclosed permacreasing, pulls, stains, or odors. If your spidey senses are tingling you can always reach out on our Chatter page about whether it seems wise to proceed. Many BST groups will require a "Feedback Link" to proceed with any buying, selling, or trading. Check out the pinned post in the group of your choice to find out if you need one and how to get one set up. They function as a way to leave feedback after a transaction, ensuring that you can check on a buyer's or seller's track record and avoid any potential funny business.  

Listing photo for a ring sling in natural light.
As you peruse your options you may see the same acronyms that keep popping up. Listings can often read like a different language. Just like carriers and carries are shortened the buying, selling, and trading (BST) terminology is in shorthand too. There are plenty of glossaries out there (check out Babywearing 102's huge resource!) but here are a few of the most commonly used terms you'll see when navigating a listing.  
  • BNIB: brand new in box
  • BNWT: brand new with tags
  • DISO: desperately in search of
  • EUC: excellent used condition
  • FSOT: for sale or trade
  • FSO: for sale only
  • FTO: for trade only
  • GUC: good used condition
  • ISO: in search of
  • MMAO: make me an offer
  • MMARO: make me a reasonable offer
  • MV: market value (average price a carrier is sold at on the secondary market)
  • OBO: or best offer
  • PM: private message
  • PPD: postage paid domestic (shipping is included in list price)
  • STIH: soft tape in hand (used when measuring woven wraps)
  • VGUC: very good used condition
Showing the original box in a listing can be helpful.
Now that you've found a place to purchase and chosen a carrier it's time to pay! PayPal is the most commonly used form of payment when purchasing online. It's accepted just about everywhere. Very easy to use, it provides protection to both the buyer and the seller. The peace of mind when you decide to take the plunge on a carrier trade or purchase is well worth setting up an account if you don't have one already. When utilizing PayPal you'll be provided with the most protection by paying Goods & Services. People often consider the associated fees when creating their listing and will expect the transaction to go through Goods & Services. You do avoid fees by paying via Friends & Family but you sacrifice your protections should anything go wrong. You may choose to pay using Friends & Family if purchasing a carrier in person from someone you know locally. Make sure you feel comfortable with how the transaction is going down either online or in person.  

Feeling ready to go even further? Part Two will dive deeper into payment plans, navigating a trade, listing a carrier for sale, and red flags to avoid. Got a question you don't see answered here? Ask away on our Chatter page or in person at one of our monthly meetings.

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