Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your hobbies and family: working in Didymos, how it’s like?
There's not so much to tell, I’m the fourth of the children of Erika Hoffmann, the youngest one of the twins the company is named after. I have my own family, I have two children (16 and 18 years old). I have been working in Didymos since I was in school, but I started working full time in 1997. And since 2005 I am the managing director of Didymos. It is always a pleasure managing Didymos but sometimes it's stressful.
My hobbies are: sailing, skiing, gardening and taking care of my turtoises and my dog! Also running! But the turtoises are more for relaxing.
How do you find time for this?
During the week I run at night when everyone else is asleep and once or twice during the weekend. I also go to train 20 minutes of walk in the morning and evening, So the dog gets its walk easily. The turtoises don't need too much taking care of, I like being in the garden with them. Sometimes on a summer weekend I sit for an hour or two in the garden watching them. I like also spending time with my kids, but they are older now so they don't need me that much anymore!
Your kids will also have a future in Didymos?
They are still far too young to decide that, it's up to them, if they wish to we will find them a place, if not we will find something else. There are many nephew’s in the family, we are a big family here!
Most of us know the story of Didymos, we will be happy to hear your side of how Didymos became Didymos, from being one of the first European twins to be carried in a wrap till today.
My mother was pregnant with me and my twin sister, she already had 2 children and she realised she wanted to give us the same body contact she did with our older siblings, having only 2 hands she had to find a solution. She came across the book called “Children and their Mothers,” where she saw that babies was “worn on the body” all over the world, then she remembered a friend gave her a shawl from South America, and she just tried to carry us with that one. So this is how she started, she wrapped it around her hip and around her shoulder (she was the first to flip the shoulder as she could not stand something close to her neck) she lived in a really small village and the local newspaper saw her and thought that's a really nice picture so they had her in the local newspaper, then a really big german magazine saw her and thought that this is a nice story. So they published an article in 1972 I think and after that my mother got many requests. Of course there was no Internet at that time so she couldn’t find out how to carry, there were no instructions or consultants she just did it by herself, and we survived by the way! She got letters from all over Germany, asking for the shawl, and that's how Didymos started, first importing from South America, but it was very difficult because the communication was very hard, my mother didn't speak Spanish nor English so she needed someone to translate and it took a very long time. She couldn't fly there because she didn't have the money for the plane. After a while she also decided to weave her own wraps. The first wraps were made in a industrial building very close to where we are now, 12 kms from us.
Do you have any particular recording of you as a child regarding babywearing?
I don't have any particular recording, we have this picture of me in the wrap.
Surely as a child did you imagine that one day you will be the “boss” of the first European wrap company?
Not at all, I didn’t plan this, I took a complete different direction and it took me some terms to come here.
Which wrap is your DISO, (desperately in search of), and which is your most loved wrap?
That will be the wraps I carried my son with, I don’t give those away! It was Nora and one that was never released. Today I would choose other wraps, it changes every now and then.
I know, also my wife changes her favorite wrap every two weeks or so! What is the product which made you the proudest? Why?
The long baby wrap, because the front cross carry was invented by my mother, the long wraps are now standard for manufacturas all over the world. Showing the front cross carry and then Front Wrap Cross Carry is something which makes me really proud of my mother, not me, because it was her.
Is there a wrap you won’t redo?
We did have wraps long long time ago with linen which didn't work out, maybe in other colors or other blends, there's nothing we won't redo. In some wraps the blend didn’t work as we expected.
Being the first in Europe to believe in babywearing, do you feel responsible for the culture development in Europe?
That would be too much. No, I think we are not really responsible but I think the first 30 years were really fighting all the prejudices about carrying the baby, everyone nowadays thinks it was self understood. But when my mother started we were really struggling, there was a lot of letters, hostile letters about how we spoil the children, how they got damages because of babywearing. We are not responsible but I think my mother made a big contribution in being what we are today. We would have not been here today without my mother, I am pretty sure. The internet changed things a lot, there were not only few mothers carrying their babies without any support, due to the internet they found their support.
What changes do you see in the babywearing world? Where do you think it’s heading to?
The biggest change is that it became self understood, for babies and for the parents. This is the biggest change in the last 10-12 years. Where it’s heading to? I’m sorry but I don’t have the glass bowl for prediction of the future , I would like to know. I realized that a lot of companies that used to do strollers or car seats are now making carriers, but I also see companies who come from carriers now making strollers so it becomes even more difficult every day.
Nowadays we still see lots of not ergonomic carriers.
Yes, that's true but not as many as it's used to be.
Is there a wrap, not made by Didymos, that you wish you have made?
No, I’m sorry, there are so many wraps around, nothing that comes to my mind.
Who is giving the names to the wraps?
That's a tricky one, sometimes it's just me, sometimes we are having a contest or we are asking the community to suggest the name which is always very tricky because we have to check for the names, sometimes it's the colleagues, it's mainly a team process. Some designs are coming to us with names already, so we just use that name.
Whose responsible to designing the wraps?
They come from different sources, sometimes we buy the design from the designer, sometimes we come with designs ourselfs like the “Metro” it was just a drawing on a paper, or we have the “Paris” that came from a French designer. It really depends, sometimes it's one person, sometime it’s a teamwork.
You don't have a designer in Didymos who does this?
No, we don't have a designer no.
With social media in these days, how do you see the future of babywearing?
This is something I really can't tell. I think that with social media the advantage is that people can connect easily with others. The disadvantage is that people can also write mean things and there are not only babywearing things but also regarding breastfeeding, or working mothers, or so on. To me sometimes is really harmful, people wouldn't talk to each other like this if they met in person. So I wish people would write as if they met in person. But I absolutely see that people are connecting to each other, and it's very helpful and very good too, but I cannot say what future brings. Since Internet came the number of companies who produces wraps and carriers has increased incredibly because it’s very easy to make marketing without many costs. I don’t know how it will change the future, I don't know. Everyday I find something new, and new functions and I’m always owed by what other people used or realized which I haven’t discovered yet.
Who run your social media? I know you ran the Instagram page?
It’s mainly me but I have some people who help me with it espacially with Facebook and Pinterest, but it’s mainly me regarding Instagram. I always try to find someone who can do it by her own but I’m hardly satisfied. So I do it by myself!
Like my wife! She is also never satisfied by other people work so we have to do everything by ourselves!
I don't blame them, they do very nice things, it’s mainly my problem!
Ok then, thank you very much for your time.
It was a pleasure.