trade it

You’re too poor to churn wraps. Or you don’t want to waste the time purchasing, or you want to share the love with friends, or you know you’ll never ever ever get your grubby paws on the highly-sought-after, legacy-only, unicorn-mane-and-elf-toehair wrap. So you turn to temp trades.

Temporary trades can be an awesome way to try carriers and make friends in the babywearing community. They usually go really well. Mamas accumulate feedback without churning, and try carriers without shelling out mucho moola.


Lately, there have been a lot of issues with trades going, well, not quite as planned. Just as FSOT has its own etiquette, so does temporary trading. Here’s some helpful hints to make sure your trade ends happily for everyone.

Act like you’re selling. Go over your carrier for flaws, stains, marks, or demon possession. Warn your tradee about them, both so you don’t blame her for them, and so she doesn’t freak out when she finds them.

Discuss all allergies, sensitivities, pets, smoking, and ill vapors. I have a German Shepherd, and I warn everyone about it: any person or item entering my house is immediately  coated in a fine layer of long black and white hairs. These are nearly impossible to remove. If you or your baby is sensitive to fragrance or scent, allergic to cats, or opposed to anything that’s lived in a house with a Wiccan, let your tradee know up front.

Agree on terms. Make sure everyone knows how long the trade will last, if it might become permanent, etc.

Decide if tradees should wash, and if so, how. This isn’t an issue, usually, for cotton; it can get sticky with wool or a blend prone to thread-shifting.

Make sure everyone understands shipping etiquette. Basics go like this: always ship priority with tracking. Your carrier is double-bagged in Tyvek (which is better than plastic bags because they don’t rip) or ziplock, and then often mailed in a box, though some mamas get away with just the double-layered Tyvek. Use legal names for addresses.

Discuss insurance. The United States Postal Service will only reimburse you for the amount you can prove you paid. So don’t bother insuring for market value if you bought at retail, and you’ll need proof of your purchase to get  money back. Agree on an amount to insure for, and if the wrap is lost, how you’ll handle that.

Consider PayPal backed trades. In a PayPal backed trade, mamas pay each other for the cost of the carriers, and then refund each other. This assures no one runs off with your carrier. Remember: this is the internet, not your neighborhood. It’s easy to scam people. 

Take care of your borrowed carrier. Don’t toss it on the floor of your car, or give your toddler a popsicle in it, or wear it berry-picking. If you do stain/pull/disfigure the wrap, decide beforehand how that’ll be handled. Will the damager pay the difference in market value? Will the trade become permanent then?

Mail back on time. No, seriously. Don’t mess around. Mail at the agreed-upon time, in the agreed-upon manner. Give the person you’re mailing to a tracking number, and if that person is different than the owner, be sure the owner gets the tracking number as well.

Leave the appropriate feedback. Agree where feedback will be left beforehand, adhering to the rules of that feedback group. High-end trades would go into the High-End feedback group; Everyday Babywearing trades would go into Babywearing on a Budget feedback. The Babywearing Swap only allows feedback from transactions that occurred on its site.

Most of all, be honest. Check everyone’s feedback before the trade happens. Be truthful about any damage the carrier sustains under your care. And if you’re the type that abuses your carriers, don’t temp trade with someone who babies theirs, unless you’re prepared to change your habits and do the same.

Anything to add here? How do you make sure to have a good temp trade situation?

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