A recap for those who couldn’t attend the BCIA 2018 AGM on Wednesday, Nov 28. Apologies for the lack of recording, technology thwarted us.

  1. Welcome
  2. Board of Directors Introduction
    1. new members: Alisa DeMarco of Tekhni (USA), Tina Hoffmann of DIDYMOS (Germany), Kristi Hayes-Devlin, Columbus Trading Partners (USA)- Kristi is taking on the role of BCIA secretary (Kristi is also the BCIA founder and is returning to the BoD after a few years away).
    2. returning member: Beth Warrell-Leistensider of Catbird Baby (USA) is staying with us for another term.
    3. leaving members: we thank Rachel Ullman of Quirky Baby (USA) and Tiffany Leonard of Wrapped Baby (USA) for their time with us and wish them all the best in their next endeavours. Tiffany has generously offered to continue to manage our shipping needs (labels, brochures etc) which we deeply appreciate
  3. State of the Industry
    1. This has been a difficult year for most, especially in the North American market where nearly everyone has seen a decrease in sales. Market research seems to suggest that carriers on the whole are on the rise. While more carriers are being sold, more companies are also getting into the carrier market (ex. many baby gear companies have added or are working to add a carrier to their product lineup). The industry is still in a consolidation phase with small-medium sized companies looking to sell, merge or partner with larger ones. Ideally companies looking to get into this industry will look to partner with smaller ones looking to grow which will preserve some of the tremendous design knowledge our manufacturers possess, while allowing the ‘gear’ companies to add a successful product lineup to their collections rather than starting from the ground up. The European, Australian and Asian markets do not seem to be in the same state of flux as the North American one, though this is far outside my area of expertise to comment on further.
    2. The face of retail continues to change- we’ve seen a steady decline in retailer BCIA members as well as a number of store closures. Quite a few of our Canadian retailers mentioned that they were moving away from carriers and towards products that were less time and labour intensive to sell, and we are seeing similar in the US (independent) retailer market. The loss of brick and mortar store options in favour of online shopping convenience is something that many industries are working to adapt to (this trend has been strong in the US for quite a while, steadily growing in Canada, and Australia recently reported an uptick in online shopping from consumers). A new generation of parent-consumers requires a different approach to sales and marketing as well, which is something that many long-standing businesses are working to adapt to.
  4. Standards Updates
    1. ASTM: I took over as the 2907 sling committee chair in the spring and Eric Childs (ErgoBaby) took over as the 2236 soft carrier committee chair last year. We have been working together to keep the standards moving forward in a cohesive way. The soft carrier standard committee has been working on adopting ad hoc labeling/language to bring the standard in line with other juvenile products, looking at whether the un/bound leg opening test methods are sufficient, and adding a statement to the current warning label to address re-positioning after nursing in carriers. The sling carrier standard committee is working on adapting the standard to accommodate sling carriers that can hold up to 2 babies, starting the process of adopting ad hoc labeling and language, and also working to assess how/if hybrid/carrying garments/skin to skin products can be adequately addressed by the sling standard. As always, as an industry member your participation in these sub committee meetings is valuable and needed. You are strongly encouraged to join the ASTM as a business member (75$/year) and to participate in sub-committees and task groups- most of the work happens via conference call for ease of participation.
    2. CEN/EN standards: we are continuing our membership as a liaison member with CEN. The committee is working to update the current 13209 standard as well as moving the 16512 technical report towards becoming a standard. This process is quite lengthy and slow, though we will endeavor to keep you updated as it progresses.
  5. BCIA Business Updates
    1. In 2019 we will be attending Future for Baby (Toronto, Canada Jan 2019), ICPHSO (Washington, DC USA Feb 2019) and Kind & Jugend (Cologne, Germany Sept 2019). We are monitoring the US trade show circuit to assess where we should best be meeting our US industry members.
    2. We will be working at updating our compliance and business info for members including editing and redoing compliance documents, putting information in more accessible formats, continuing with our How To columns and addressing relevant issues as they arise.
    3. We are looking at rolling out an a la carte compliance and business help option for members who want to purchase specialized services as needed/wanted (ex. new product consultation, product review before testing etc). We are also rolling out a small increase (10%) in membership rates, which is the first time we’ve ever raised our membership rates. In addition we are exploring the option of monthly or quarterly automatic membership payments. Our aim is to address these items in the new year.

Questions, concerns or comments? As always, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards,

Linnea Catalan, Executive Director