Re-imagining the Moses basket

Moba in Raspberry
Moba in Raspberry

A nursery staple has had a face-lift as Charlotte Harding discovers in Eastbourne.

Moses baskets have pretty much been the same design for hundreds of years.

That was until mother and daughter team, Lesley and Olivia Askaroff, decided to do things differently.

“We just wondered why no one had tried to do something a bit different with the Moses basket other than the traditional wicker or palm oil ones,” explains Lesley.

“They say you shouldn’t have covers or bumpers or all the thrills so we decided we wanted to create something more modern and stylish.”

The Askaroffs are third generation in the nursery business starting when Olivia’s grandmother, who had six sons, starting making items for her own nursery and after requests from other mothers started a manufacturing business.

Lesley and Olivia

Lesley and Olivia

Olivia’s father also imported the traditional Moses baskets to sell to big brands but Lesley explains that as they were from abroad and packed in humid conditions they always had to be fumigated for bugs.

“They are a natural alternative but when they get to the UK they are full of bugs,” she adds.

When it came to redesigning the basket Lesley and her husband took the idea as far as they could, working with health professions and charity The Lullaby Trust, the UK’s leading charity for research and prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), before handing the reins to Olivia, a graphic designer.

“It took about five years to develop,” the creative director of Moba explains.

“We spoke to midwives and health care professionals about what it should and shouldn’t have. And looked at the design of the traditional Moses basket to see what was needed and what we could get rid of.

“Once we had a design we were happy with we made a prototype and took it to a German trade show and people really responded well, John Lewis also registered an interest so we knew we were on to something.”

The results of which is a Moses basket with integrated handles designed to be strong and durable for safety. It is made from a unique material that is anti-microbial and hypoallergenic, it can also be thoroughly washed and has more than 300 ventilation holes to promote airflow.

“The material we use is really hard wearing. At the factory they have tested it by putting the basket on a crane and then lifted a man in it,” reveals Olivia.

“Some traditional ones you have to be careful about lifting it with a baby in.”

Its main competitors are the SnuzPod and Closer to me cribs.

“That is in terms of design and how they work,” explains Lesley.

“Also price point those ones can cost about £200 so some people prefer the Moba because of how much it is.”

“It has been designed as well so that it can be used after,” adds Olivia.

“We have seen a few people after the baby has outgrown it who use it as a toy chest or for storage which is just great.”

Starting at £99 the basket comes with the white cotton lining and also a mattress. Accessories include coloured fitted sheets, a 100 per cent cotton blanket, patterned blankets and a rocking stand. It also comes in a range of colours from dove grey to tangerine, rose and apple.

“We don’t know anyone else who do colourful Moses baskets,” says Olivia.

“We have found that people tend to decorate the baby’s room in a neutral decor and then add a pop of colour to it by buying one of our baskets.

“Although the dove grey is one of the most popular ones we do.”

The basket is 1.5 kilos so relatively light and will hold up to 9 kilos or is suitable until the baby rolls over.

“This can be between four to six months, although some people have had their baby outgrow it at four months whereas others have had them in it until they are eight months old,” says Olivia.

Having launched into the international market Moba is often mistaken in the UK for Scandinavian due to its sleek and modern design.

Moba has also found a celebrity following with Kim Kardashian featuring one on her Snapchat, and here in the UK both Ronan Keating and his wife Storm and The One Show’s Alex Jones have posted pictures on Instagram.

With plans for more products in the future it will be interesting to see what this Eastbourne mother and daughter duo do next.

To take a closer look at Moba’s fill range, visit the website mobauk.com

This first featured in the July edition of etc Magazine pick up your copy now.