Leaving a Texas-sized boot print on the Babywearing Industry
Do you work in the babywearing industry? Has babywearing touched your life in some way? Then you owe more than you know to Vesta Garcia. Most of you already know Vesta. Many have had the pleasure of getting to know her well during her many years in this industry. If you haven’t though, please take a moment to read a little bit about what Vesta has done for our industry and how instrumental she has been in making the BCIA, and industry as a whole, what it is today.
Vesta Garcia, Industry Pioneer
Vesta Garcia is a one-woman whirlwind. A dyed-in-the-wool progressive Texan, she has been involved in the babywearing industry since its early days in the US, more than 12 years ago. After the birth of her daughter Ella in 2002, Vesta launched peppermint.com where she imported and sold modern and traditional carriers from around the world. At the time these carriers were largely unheard of in the US, except as little whispers in the newfound corners of the internet. Demand for these carriers from different countries grew faster than supply, leading Vesta to found Ellaroo. As president of Ellaroo, Vesta manufactured wraps, ring slings, mei tais and other carriers.
Seeing an industry need, Vesta, along with fellow luminaries Kristen DeRocha (founder of HotSlings), Darien Wilson (founder of Zolowear) and Susan Gmeiner (founder and current president of Maya Wrap), Vesta approached the ASTM to ask that the infant carrier standard be adapted to slings. Instead they were tasked with writing an entirely new standard. With no previous experience, the group rose to the task admirably. Vesta’s MSc in neurobiology was perhaps more of a hindrance than a help as she tried to convince the large group of corporate experts that the standard should be evidence based and scientifically sound. We tip our hat to Vesta- the current ASTM F2907 sling standard that is currently becoming law is a direct result of Vesta’s efforts. For those who are not aware, the development of this standard is one of the pivotal reasons for the survival of slings and wraps as a product category in the US- products that were in previously in danger of being banned for sale.
In 2010 Vesta accepted the invitation to become the first (part time, underpaid) Executive Director if the newly formed Baby Carrier Industry Alliance. She volunteered at least as many hours as she worked for pay. Vesta charmed her way from coast to coast, working with established companies, new companies, the CPSC, ASTM, senators, lobbyists and everyone in between. Vesta became the industry expert, and everyone who knows her has fallen in love with her straight talking, red boot wearing, profanity dropping style of babywearing advocacy.
Vesta moved on from the BCIA in 2012 to pursue other interests, consulting with international babywearing companies and local Texas start-ups. She recently founded Little Day Dresses with DeRocha, charming women everywhere into shedding their sweats to “put on a dress.” A maker at heart, Vesta continues to enjoy front porch culture and a glass of red wine while she explores the challenges of raising a teenager, and now the unexpected diagnosis of ALS.
Here’s where you come in.
ALS is a debilitating disease. There is no cure and this disease moves quickly. Vesta worked for us, and for this industry for years without health insurance. She needs and deserves our full support. How can you help?
1. We want you to donate. A straight donation works!
2. Feel like getting creative? Run a contest, promo or organize your own fundraiser. We’ll make sure all the funds get funneled back to Vesta.
3. Share this campaign broadly- through email, social media and word of mouth.
4. Prefer to send a check? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org/dev and we’ll pass on the address.
We’re sure you have all had this disease in the forefront of your minds due to the incredible viral success of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge campaign. Many of you undoubtedly took the challenge yourselves, donating money for research and encouraging others to do the same. Now we challenge you to give generously, and directly, to an amazing individual who must face this disease. Vesta has given so much of herself, to those who know her personally, and to our industry as a whole. Please show your thanks by helping provide support to Vesta and her family as they navigate this challenging phase of their lives.