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Vendor and Hobbyist Guidelines

Who is a babywearing vendor / hobbyist?

Vendor guidelines apply to anyone who:
  • designs and/or manufacturers baby carriers or babywearing (BW) accessories for sale
  • distributes baby carriers/accessories; provides custom or in-stock modifications to baby carriers/accessories (including dyeing, applique, repair, converting woven wraps into slings or other carriers)
  • is an affliate of a babywearing vendor
  • works as a customer service representative (CSR), or other related roles in a babywearing business.
We use the terms vendor and hobbyist because some members who sell part-time or for low/no profit do not feel the term vendor accurately describes them. However, the same set of rules applies equally to both vendors and hobbyists. BW vendor rules apply even if your business is not making a profit, is not formally registered as a business, or has no official website. Below we will use the term "vendor" for simplicity, with the understanding that the rules include "hobbyists" as well as CSRs and those in other related roles.

A member may occasionally sell a DIY "do it yourself" item that they have made or modified for their own personal use without disclosing as a vendor. If a member sells items that they have made/modified without using them, or if a pattern of selling items they have made/modified is established, the member must either identify as a vendor or refrain from posting further "DIY" items. When the pattern of selling is ambiguous, disclosure will be required at the discretion of the site administrators.

Support staff for a BW business includes anyone who regularly performs any activity, including modeling, sewing, stocking and shipping, photography, and customer service (answering emails, answering phones), in exchange for money or goods, including carriers or discounts on carriers in exchange for work performed. "Testers," who receive a free or discounted carrier in exchange for feedback on a one-time basis, are not required to disclose a relationship with the vendor.

Vendors of non-BW products, including other baby products such as diapers, toys, and clothing, are not required to disclose. However, these vendors are welcome to disclose and use the vendor resources detailed below if they wish.

A few special rules and exceptions apply for distributors and customer service representatives/other staff. Please click {here} for these guidelines.

What resources does TBW offer for vendors?

  • VFSOT: The Vendor, Hobbyist, Custom Seller Forum is a paid subscription forum for vendors to list their wares, seek testers for new products, seek employees, customer service representatives, publicize promotions, etc.
  • Signature links: Vendors are required to include your business name. Via paid subscription you may also include a click-through link to your website/yahoo group/blog etc. Promotions and sales may not be advertised in your signature.
  • Vendors' Lounge: A Pink vendor tag (under your user name) is given to vendors that are members of the Vendors' Lounge. In order to qualify for Vendors' Lounge (VL) you must have 30 days membership and 10 posts. You must also have a verifiable BW business (website, B/M Address, etc).
  • Business Forum: Free forum for posting questions about starting and operating a business.

Where can a vendor post items for sale?

Vendors may post items made/modified for their business in the Vendor-FSOT forum, which is available to any vendor via subscription.

Vendors may post items unrelated to their business, made or bought for their own personal use, in the regular FSOT.
Examples:
A mei tai designer selling a used wrap from their personal stash - regular FSOT
Custom wrap dye hobbyist selling a used wrap, undyed, or dyed by another vendor - regular FSOT
Distributor selling a "new in box" wrap bought from a brand to which they have wholesale access - Vendor-FSOT
Custom wrap dye hobbyist selling a wrap that they have dyed and not used - Vendor-FSOT
SSC manufacturer selling off a stash of designer fabrics bought for business use - Vendor-FSOT


Here again, there may be ambiguous situations. For example, a mei tai designer may have a mei tai, made for personal use, that is similar to her vendor items. A wrap dye hobbyist may have dyed a wrap for herself and used it for several months. Again, a vendor may occasionally sell such personal stash items on the regular FSOT. If there a pattern of repeatedly selling "barely used" vendor items in the regular FSOT, this privilege will be suspended at the discretion of the site administrators.

What signature disclosure is required for vendors?

All vendors of babywearing products must disclose by placing their business name - with or without a link - in their signature files.

Please disclose even if you do not operate under a business name and/or are operating as a local distributor only.

Your disclosure must indicate the type of babywearing-related product or the service that you provide and the name of the business if operating under a business name. (It is not necessary to post each individual brand that you carry as long as you disclose that your store sells baby carriers. You may list the type(s), such as ring slings, soft structured carriers, etc.)

Some examples of sufficient disclosure might be:
Creator of the Cool Cat Ring Sling - for a designer/manufacturer
Cool Cat SSCs - for a designer/manufacturer
Wrap-to-MT conversions - for a hobbyist operating without a business name
I dye wraps - for a hobbyist operating without a business name
I sell baby carriers at Cool Cat Carriers - for a distributor
Selling Cool Cat Wraps at the DiggityDogBabyStore.com - for a distributor
Offering Wraps and Soft Structured Carriers at DiggityDogBabyStore.com – for a distributor
Baby Carriers and more at DiggityDogBabyStore.com – for a distributor
Customer Service for the DiggityDogBabyStore.com - for a CSR
Customer Service for Cool Cat SSCs - for a CSR
Cool Cat - this is not sufficient disclosure as those unfamiliar with the brand would not be able to tell that you sell carriers

Vendor Posting Guidelines

What special forum posting restrictions apply to vendors?

Overall, please be extra aware of the tone of your posts when discussing your own products.
We work hard to separate the marketplace from the parts of the forum dedicated to learning about and sharing experiences with babywearing.
V-FSOT and sponsored ads are your arena for promoting your product. In the rest of the forums, your goal should be to help members use their carriers effectively, not to hype your product with the hopes of increasing sales.
Although we understand that it can be frustrating not to respond to posts relevant to your product, we ask that you adhere to our guidelines in the interest of preserving the forum's purpose. If you are ever in doubt, please feel free to PM any moderator for clarification before posting.


Vendors may NOT:
(1) Provide customer service, other than a brief note asking the poster to contact the business.
(2) Promote their own product in any way, including praising their product or its features, providing reasons that their product has an advantage over other products, explaining the benefits of their product or its features, referring to positive reviews of their product or service, etc.
(3) Link to, invite readers to visit, or mention their own VFSOT thread or business website/blog/gallery, with the exception of a link to their website/blog/gallery in their signature line
(4) Post photos of their product, other than action shots in which they are incidentally using the product or stash shots in which their product is an incidental component. You may post general stash pictures that include your product, but not a picture of solely or primarily of your product. You may post a thread that includes an action picture of yourself wearing your product, keeping in mind that your tone should not be to hype your product, but to share your babywearing experience.


Vendors may:
(1) Answer questions about how to use their product
(2) Correct misinformation posted about their product

Examples and further clarification of what types of posts are and are not allowed:


TBW Poster: I am not happy with the quality of the Cool Cat Wrap that I just bought.
[Vendors may not provide customer service other than a note asking the poster to contact the business.]

Cool Cat Vendor: We accept returns within 30 days (NOT allowed)
Cool Cat Vendor:We received your email about this issue already, and your refund is pending (NOT allowed)
Cool Cat Vendor: Please feel free to contact our Customer Service with any issues. We pride ourselves on having the best customer service around, and I'm sure we can work this out with you. (NOT allowed)
Cool Cat Vendor: Please feel free to contact our Customer Service with any issues. (Allowed)
A PM or email to the poster may also be appropriate.

Via PM or email, you can work out the specifics of the customer service issue.

TBW Poster: I wonder if Cool Cat Mei Tais would make a custom applique for me?
[Vendors may not provide customer service other than a note asking the poster to contact the business. Vendors may not promote their own product.]
Cool Cat Mei Tai Vendor: We can do custom appliques and embroidery, just let us know what design you are interested in (NOT allowed)
Cool Cat Mei Tai Vendor: Check out the gallery on my blog for some examples of custom appliques we've done this year. (NOT allowed)
Cool Cat Mei Tai Vendor: Anyone interested in customs, click on my signature link to find out more. (NOT allowed)
Cool Cat Mei Tai Vendor: Please feel free to contact our Customer Service with any questions. (Allowed)
A PM or email to the poster may also be appropriate.

Via PM or email, you can work out the specifics.


TBW Poster: What is the best style of carrier for me? I want something without any plastic buckles. [Vendors may suggest a general style of carrier where appropriate - but please remember the spirit of the forum; you are trying to help someone, not sell your product.]
Cool Cat Mei Tai Vendor: Mei Tais are awesome. Check out my store if you are interested. (NOT allowed)

Cool Cat Mei Tai Vendor: I recommend the Cool Cat Mei Tai. (NOT allowed)


Diggity Dog SSC Vendor: SSCs are the best option for everyone; you should rethink wanting to avoid buckles. (NOT allowed)


Cool Cat Mei Tai Vendor: Mei Tais are awesome. - (Allowed)


Cool Cat Mei Tai Vendor: Mei Tais are awesome. The Diggity Dog Mei Tai [not connected with or sold by Cool Cat] would be a great fit for you. (Allowed)




TBW Poster: Is the Cool Cat Wrap good for hot weather?
[Vendors may not promote their own product.]
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor:Yes, they are really breathable. - not allowed
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: The linen fibers make them ideal for summer. - not allowed
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: I use mine all the time in the heat. - not allowed
Please leave it to the TBW members to post their rave reviews for your product's performance. There is rarely an allowable vendor response to a question like this, because any positive response will be promoting the product.


TBW Poster: I heard that the Cool Cat Wrap will spontaneously combust at temperatures above 70 degrees F.
[Vendors may correct misinformation posted about their product. Vendors may not promote their own product.]
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: Not only will the Cool Cat Wrap will not spontaneously combust at any temperature, it also has an SPF of 50. - not allowed
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: The Cool Cat Wrap is more resistant to spontaneous combustion than any other brand, actually. - not allowed
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: This is not true. The Cool Cat Wrap will not spontaneously at any temperature, per our extensive product testing. - allowed

TBW Poster: Cool Cat Mei Tais aren't going to offer hoods anymore
[Vendors may correct misinformation posted about their product. Vendors may not promote their own product.]
Cool Cat Mei Tai Vendor: I think you'll be amazed at what we've come up with instead - stay tuned! - not allowed
Cool Cat Mei Tai Vendor: We are still offering hoods as a custom option. - allowed

TBW Poster: What brand of ring sling comes with a pleated shoulder and confers the power of invisibility?
[Vendors may not promote their own product.]
Cool Cat Ring Sling Vendor: The Cool Cat Ring Sling has a pleated shoulder and we are working on an invisibility cloak feature. - not allowed
Please leave it to the TBW members to post their rave reviews for your product -- even if your product is the only one available with these features.

TBW Poster: Look at me in my new Cool Cat SSC! We just LOVE it!
[Vendors may not promote their own product.]
Cool Cat SSC Vendor: You guys look so cute. You can see how the Cool Cat's special waistband really supports your toddler. - not allowed
Cool Cat SSC Vendor: You guys look so cute. So-and-so has the same print; check out my gallery for some shots of her using it with her newborn. - not allowed
Cool Cat SSC Vendor: You guys look so cute. - allowed

TBW Poster: I wonder what great features Cool Cat SSC will think of next? They are THE BEST.
[Vendors may not promote their own product.]
Cool Cat SSC Vendor: You might want to check out my blog next week, hint hint. - not allowed
Cool Cat SSC Vendor: Aww, thanks. - allowed

TBW Poster: My Cool Cat wrap is so much bulkier to tie than my Diggity Dog wrap. I want to make it work for me because I like the color. Help.
[Vendors may not promote their own product. Vendors may answer questions on how to use their product - but please remember the spirit of the forum; you are trying to help someone, not sell your product.]
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: I think you'll find that once it's broken in, the knot will be as small as with your Diggity Dog, and much more supportive than the Diggity Dog too. - not allowed
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: You might try breaking it in by repeated knotting and unknotting along the length of the wrap. - allowed

TBW Poster: The straps on my Cool Cat Mei Tai seem so bulky. Am I wearing this right?
[Vendors may not promote their own product. Vendors may answer questions on how to use their product - but please remember the spirit of the forum; you are trying to help someone, not sell your product.]
Cool Cat Mei Tai Vendor: The advantage of the wide straps are that it provides great support. - not allowed
Cool Cat Mei Tai Vendor: You can fold the straps in half or tie Tibetan to reduce the profile of the straps. - allowed

TBW Poster: I can't figure out how to tie my Cool Cat hybrid stretchy woven gauze silk hemp cashmere blend wrap.
[Vendors may not promote their own product. Vendors may answer questions on how to use their product - but please remember the spirit of the forum; you are trying to help someone, not sell your product.]
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: It really helps to tug on the rails while bending over before you tie it, as it can be a little slippery. - allowed
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: I'm starting this thread to provide a tutorial on how to use our new hybrid stretchy woven gauze silk hemp cashmere blend wrap, as I've gotten a lot of emails about how to tie it. - not allowed

TBW Poster: Can I see a photo of a double hammock carry?
[Vendors may not promote their own product. Vendors may not post photos of their product that could be considered promotional.]
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: Here's a photo of us [in a Cool Cat Wrap] when my baby was 8 months old. You can see how the super soft, thin weave of this brand makes it easy to tie. - not allowed
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: Here's a photo of us [in a Cool Cat Wrap] when my baby was 8 months old. You can see how I've spread the rails to provide support. - allowed

TBW Poster: Post photos of your favorite lavender wraps!
[Vendors may not promote their own product. Vendors may not post photos of their product that could be considered promotional.
You may post general stash pictures that include your product, but not a picture of solely or primarily of your product. You may post a thread that includes an action picture of yourself or a family member wearing your product, keeping in mind that your tone should not be to hype your product, but to share your babywearing experience.]
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: Here is a closeup shot of my Cool Cat Wrap in the lavender penguins pattern. - not allowed
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: Here is a comparison shot of the Cool Cat lavender komodo dragons on the right and the Cool Cat lavendar water buffalo print on the left. - not allowed
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: Here are 12 photos of me wearing the various Cool Cat lavender animal series plus 1 of the Diggity Dog lavender antelope jacquard - not allowed
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: Here's a photo of us snuggling when my son was a newborn [happens to be in a Cool Cat Wrap]. - allowed
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: Here is a stash shot of my 12 favorite lavender wraps [1 or 2 of which happen to be a Cool Cat Wrap]. - allowed

TBW Poster: Has anyone stripped and redyed a lavender Diggity Dog blowfish jacquard?
[Vendors may not promote their own product. Vendors may not post photos of their product that could be considered promotional.
Vendors may answer questions on topics relating generally to their product - but please remember the spirit of the forum; you are trying to help someone, not sell your product.]
Cool Cat Custom Dyed Wrap Vendor: Check out my gallery/blog/shop for some examples. - not allowed
Cool Cat Custom Dyed Wrap Vendor: Here's a photo series showing closeups of the lavendar Diggity Dog blowfish jacquard that I stripped and then dyed periwinkle. - not allowed
Cool Cat Wrap Vendor: I would recommend letting it soak in the dye remover for at least 3 hours. - allowed
Cool Cat Custom Dyed Wrap Vendor: Here's a thread showing my latest beautiful creation. - not allowed

TBW Poster: How bright is the chartreuse Cool Cat anteater print?
[Vendors may not link to, invite readers to visit, or mention their own VFSOT thread or business website/blog/gallery/social media page]
Vendor: Here's a photo [link to vendor's website]. - not allowed

TBW Poster: How does the Cool Cat SSC compare with the Diggity Dog?
[Vendors may not link to, invite readers to visit, or mention their own VFSOT thread or business website/blog/gallery. Vendors may not promote their own product.]
CarrierDepot.com Vendor: Here's a comparison chart [link to vendor's website]. - not allowed, even if CarrierDepot.com doesn't sell either SSC
Cool Cat SSC Vendor: The Cool Cat SSC is the only SSC available with a time travel button. - not allowed
However:Vendors may correct misinformation posted about their product:
TBW Poster: How does the Cool Cat SSC compare with the Diggity Dog? The Diggity Dog has an antigravity feature, but the Cool Cat doesn't, is that right?
Cool Cat SSC Vendor: Cool Cat SSC also has an antigravity feature. - allowed

TBW Poster: I ordered my Diggity Dog carrier 6 months ago, and it hasn't arrived yet. Should I be upset?
[Vendors may not promote their own product/service.]
Cool Cat Vendor: Yes, that is way too long. I personally ship all orders within 3 days and follow up with each customer to make sure they're happy. - not allowed
Cool Cat Vendor: Yes, that is way too long. I would contact them and see what's up. - allowed

What special rules/exceptions apply to distributors, CSR, and other staff of a BW business?

All above vendor rules apply to distributors, CSR, and other staff, with the following exceptions:

Distributors: Distributors who are not manufacturers/designers must include the name of their store in their signature.
However, distributors who are not manufacturers/designers may choose whether to include the brands they carry in their signature:
If you choose to include the brands that you carry in your signature, all vendor posting restrictions apply (e.g. you may not post recommending the brand, etc.) The advantage is potentially encouraging more click-throughs if readers see that you carry a brand they want.
If you choose not to include brands that you carry your signature, some vendor posting restrictions are lifted (see below); the advantage is being able to more freely recommend the brands you carry.

Examples of signature disclosures:
The Cool Cat Mei Tai Store.com - includes brand carried
CarrierDepot.com - your source for the Cool Cat and Diggety Dog SSC - includes brands carried
CarrierDepot.com - your source for SSCs and more - does not include brands carried

Exceptions to vendor posting guidelines for distributors whose signatures do not include brands carried:
If your signature file does not contain the name of a specific product, you may recommend and promote the product in response to forum posts, even if you sell that product.
You may not state that you sell the product.

Examples:
TBW Poster: What is the best style of carrier for me? I want something without any plastic buckles.
CarrierDepot.com: I recommend the Cool Cat Mei Tai. We actually have them at 20% right now too. - not allowed
CarrierDepot.com: I recommend the Cool Cat Mei Tai. - allowed
TBW Poster: Has anyone tried the Cool Cat Wrap?
CarrierDepot.com: They are really soft and supportive. Check out CarrierDepot.com for instocks. - not allowed
CarrierDepot.com: They are really soft and supportive. - allowed


CSR and other/support staff:
Customer service representatives / other staff for the manufacturer of a carrier must adhere to all vendor posting rules.
Customer service representatives / other staff for a distributor may recommend a product their employer carries in response to forum posts. You may not state that your employer sells the product.

Examples:
TBW Poster: What is the best style of carrier for me? I want something without any plastic buckles.
CoolCat Mei Tai CSR: I recommend the Cool Cat Mei Tai. - not allowed
CarrierDepot.com CSR: I recommend the Cool Cat Mei Tai. CarrierDepot.com has the best prices. - not allowed
CarrierDepot.com CSR: I recommend the Cool Cat Mei Tai. - allowed

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