I’ve said it before that one of our greatest assets is our library! With over 300 carriers for the caregivers of Central Texas to try out on their babies, it’s an incredible caregiver resource! One of the ways that we grow our library is by writing reviews of products in exchange for carriers. Like always, the carrier company gets no editorial power over the review. None. We write what we want.* Here our VP of Library Management, Rachel, writes up one these reviews for Diva Essenza. Take it away, Rachel:
Last fall, BWI of Greater Austin was given a Diva Essenza Viola woven wrap to review. Essenza is an offshoot of parent company Diva Milano and produces Italian-designed woven wraps at a moderate price point. The Essenza line is a dazzling display of gem colors and earth tones sure to appeal to a wide variety of tastes. The vibrant colors are made with AZO free dyes and come in various fiber blends. One of the greatest things about this line is you don’t have to wait for stockings to get your hands on one. The most difficult part of obtaining an Essenza wrap is deciding which color to order! Once you’ve made up your mind, a size 6 can be yours in about 2 weeks for around $130 total, shipped directly to your door.
Diva Essenza caught my attention well before Viola arrived, and I was ecstatic to finally get to try one! But when it finally landed in my expectant hands, I admired its beauty and exquisite craftsmanship, but then passed it along to the next person to do the honors of taking her on her maiden voyage. You see, I’m not a wrapper. I’m an avid babywearer who wraps, but I’d never classify myself as a wrapper. I began wrapping pretty late in the game considering the lifespan of my wearing days. I couldn’t begin to discuss the difference between all the wrapping quality descriptors out there but I know what feels good to me and what doesn’t. As my 2-year-old son grows bigger and more independent every day, I’m acutely aware that our wrapping days are waning. Each “up” is a gift, and I want to make sure that I’m cherishing it in a wrap that’s both comfortable and beautiful. And Viola? Well, she was thick, stiff, and curtain-y, and I couldn’t imagine my sidekick having the patience to let me wrangle him in such an unyielding wrap.
So our lovely new addition continued her journey and landed in the home of Advanced Babywearing Educator and seasoned wrapper, LeighAnne, who got the first chance to wrap with Viola in our chapter. These were her impressions:
“I spent some time with the purple Diva Essenza. I’m not usually a fan of grippy wraps. When I first picked it up, I couldn’t imagine liking it, especially with my tiny 17lb 3 month old. I quickly wrapped tiny girl in a Front Wrap Cross Carry and proceeded to make breakfast. This is Texas, so I made steak and eggs and a big cup of black coffee. In the twenty minutes it took me to me to make breakfast, the wrap started to sag a bit. I was so sad. The color was perfect, the wrap was soft, but I didn’t want to mess with sag. Fortified with coffee, I decided I needed to try again. I took her down and started over. I tightened strand by strand, bounced her up nice and high and worked with the grip to lock it down. I wore her for two hours and experienced not even the tiniest bit of sag! She snuggled in and took a nap, and I was able to chase my almost four year old all over the house. I really love this wrap. It is more supportive than many other 100% cotton blend wraps I have tried, and didn’t dig at all. I even put her up in a Front Torso Carry that stayed in place amazingly well. Overall, this absolutely is a wrap that I would buy to add to my very small stash. I love the color combinations, and while Lago would have been my first choice, I really liked the way Viola looked on us.”
Next up to try the Diva was Educator-in-training, Jeran. Here are her thoughts:
“When I checked out the Diva wrap from our BWI of Greater Austin lending library, I was still a relatively new wrapper. I was in love with the vibrant color right away, but even happier when I started wrapping with it! I felt like the wrap was soft but sturdy. I was able to get my nine month daughter on my back and wrapped well on the first try! Like I said, I was still trying to get the hang of wrapping and especially back wrapping. Once I had my daughter in a double hammock and secure, it felt great! I never felt like she was sliding or that the wrap was starting to dig into my shoulders. The first few days I had that wrap, she was napping on my back. We loved being able to borrow it, and we both had a great experience!”
A few reviews and several loans later, Viola fell into my hands again and was a completely different wrap! Still full of texture from its intricate design, it had a softness and suppleness you have to feel to believe! Now I was eager to toss my guy up and take him for a spin in it. And it was love at first “up”! On the thin side of medium thickness, it has a nice amount of diagonal stretch. Not much cush on the shoulders while hefting 35 lbs in a double hammock, but still comfortable and not at all diggy. It took a bit of work making the second Rebozo pass due to the grip from all the texture, but it held nice and tight once everything was in place. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend it to a novice wrapper, but once one has learned how to properly tighten a wrap, it’s a skill that can be achieved with an Essenza as well. My wearing sessions don’t go on for hours at a time with my 2-year-old anymore, but we were both very comfortable for the 45 minutes or so that I wore him around a Renaissance Faire. The stretch made for a deep, cozy seat, but I wouldn’t say that it was at all saggy. One of the best aspects of Viola is I felt elegant in it! It elicited many interested gazes and several compliments, as well. I wore it every chance my little guy would let me until I had to put it back into library circulation. I loved it so much that now that I’d definitely considering buying a brand new one for personal use, knowing that the time and effort to break it in are well worth the end result.
In addition to woven wraps, the Essenza line also comes in ring slings and Mei Tais (the latter being of particular interest to me as a future lending library acquisition!). For the fashion-conscious nursing mother, you can even get a matching nursing tank from Diva to complement your carrier! I’m really loving what the Essenza line has brought to the babywearing table, and I’m looking forward to see what’s next from Diva!
BWI of Greater Austin would like to take this opportunity to thank Diva Milano for their generous donation to our chapter and for their continued support of our organization. We appreciate you down here in Austin, TX![*As in our previous review-for-carrier exchanges (one here and here), Diva Milano did not take advantage of the, “send 12 gluten free treats and get more polite wording” clause. Darn. The offer still stands. -Cynthia]