Monique Harper was pregnant with her third child and her sister had also had her third baby when both siblings were unable to find suitable baby wraps.
“My sister had a really big baby and she couldn’t find wraps that would fit around him,” says Harper. “There were muslin wraps but they had no stretch, then we tried a big cotton wrap but it completely warped when we washed it.”
In order to adequately swaddle their babies in comfort, and style, Harper decided to create wraps of her own.
“The number one thing for me was comfort and breathability, but I also wanted something with stretch and climate control,” she says.
“I began researching what would be the best material for baby wraps and the answer on the internet and everywhere else was always 100% Merino wool.”
The result of Harper’s research is Ewenique, an Australian company specialising in baby blankets made from 100 per cent Merino wool.
“Merino is the safest and most natural choice for a baby,” says Harper. “You can use it year round because it’s not going to overheat babies, you can put it over a pram with UV protection and it is naturally fire resistant and has natural stretch.”
Baby beanies, rompers, sleeping bags and singlets are among the other 100 per cent Merino wool products now offered by the Marrickville-based company Harper runs with her husband Alex Harper.
“We make everything in Australia so we can have complete quality control,” says Harper. “With babies especially, quality is so important, and I love that it only takes me an hour to get to the factory so I can be there as often as I want.”
Every Ewenqiue product comes in a cleansing palette of block colours including Raspberry Sorbet, Bubblegum and Earth, making for a refreshing counterpoint to teddy bears and flowers.
“We wanted to do modern, funky colours because I didn’t want to go down the traditional route,” says Harper.
The next step for Ewenique is launching into the Chinese market with a new range of children’s pyjamas that runs up to size 14.
“I love that the pyjamas are quite a slim-line design because in China you could wear them under your clothes in the winter and they would be considered a thermal undergarment.”
Ewenique will launch a Chinese website in October featuring the new range of pyjamas and a new range of rompers, and the company has engaged a fulltime employee in Shanghai to facilitate sales and marketing.
“In China, Ewenique would be considered a very premium product, and the fact it is made in Australia is a major plus because the Chinese understand that means quality,” says Harper. “We are not throwing anything into production by the millions, we are focused on locally and beautifully made products of 100% Merino wool. We love the fact that we are Australian made, from the fleece that we use right down to the zippers on our rompers.”