Rebecca Sylvain, Chief Executive Officer of Nannies and Kids United. She was born in Miami and raised by an immigrant Parent in a traditional Caribbean Household. Her career in childcare began during college when she began baby-sitting independently for families of all backgrounds and sizes. After 5 years of experience getting to know family needs and spending time with children, she began to see a need in many communities for child-care services.
Understanding this, she soon set out to create a staffing agency where she could train and hire associates to provide professional child-care services to families and corporate employees. This started with her attending various networking events, building new connections with like-minded individuals and corporate representatives which eventually led to her expanding her knowledge of business and the child-care service industry.
Nannies & Kids United track record has landed them a corporate backup care partnership with care.com that has a platform of over 1 million sitters. The partnership provides childcare services to families and backup childcare services as a benefit for corporate employees.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- Creating a business from scratch, learning through trial and error, and thriving without a traditional college education
- The benefits of networking with other entrepreneurs and attending business events and workshops
- Struggles and backlash she faced after dropping out of school and having a lack of experience with business
- Other excellent career opportunities in trades that don’t require a college degree or loans
- Strategic insights on crafting a fulfilling and enduring career as a nanny
- Finding the right nanny.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio. Brought to you by On pay. Atlanta’s new standard in payroll. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:25] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Atlanta Business Radio, and this is going to be a good one. Today on the show we have Rebecca Sylvain with Nannies and Kids United. Welcome.
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:00:36] Hi, how are you?
Lee Kantor: [00:00:38] I am doing well. I am so excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us about Nannies and Kids United. How are you serving folks?
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:00:45] Yeah, sure. So, um, basically, Nannies and Kids United is a babysitting staffing agency that provides back up care services to employees that work at companies such as fortune 500 companies. So I currently have a partnership with Care.com, where we work with fortune 500 companies. And to provide this service, I started it when I was 23. I’m 29 now, so I was able to build it to a successful business and here I am now.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:18] So what was the genesis of the idea? How did this come about?
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:01:22] Um, I was a babysitter when I was in college, and I knew I always wanted more for myself. At the time I was doing modeling, and in my mind I’m like, modeling doesn’t pay. It’s not paying the bills. And, you know, I was running into creepy photographers, so I wanted to create an opportunity for myself versus depending on other people. And like I said, I was babysitting for different families. And that’s when like, you know, the idea came about. And so I remember I was sitting in my living room brainstorming ideas of what I want the name to be, and it just came about. I called it Nannies and Kids United, which stands for Uniting Families with childcare professionals as well who work with children. And so throughout the years, it hasn’t been easy at all, but it’s definitely been well worth it. And so once that idea came about, I decided to drop out of college. And that was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:25] So now you have your babysitter, and where did you kind of pivot to the partnering with the businesses to help their employees, you know, handle that childcare challenge that a lot of them are dealing with? Like, did it go directly there to, hey, there’s a lot of business people here that their employees probably have a lot of childcare needs that I might be able to help with, uh, rather than, you know, putting them in daycare or putting them wherever they’re putting them right now. Yeah.
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:02:57] So when I first started, I didn’t know a thing about business. All I knew was everything and anything that has to do with childcare. So I started off by going to networking events filled with other business professionals. And what I would do is I would just pick other people’s brains, no matter if they were in trucking or credit, because at the time, I was focused more so on doing permanent placements, which was providing full time, part time nanny services directly to families. And that was going okay. I wasn’t really getting a lot of traction because having a nanny, um, if we’re being honest, it’s like a leisure and it’s it’s a leisure to have a nanny. It is. It definitely costs a lot of money. So by me going to networking events, I was able to piggyback off of ideas and it wasn’t like, um, you know, it wasn’t like these business owners were just like, you know, randomly giving me ideas. I formed friendships and by the friendships that I formed and us getting to know each other, um, that’s kind of how I was able to, like, get some ideas.
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:04:05] And so I remember I came across this guy and he said, have you ever thought of, uh, corporate corporate partnerships? And so he educated me on corporate partnerships on how, like a lot of employers, they need this service because, you know, a lot of employees are calling out because majority of the population of like, you know, employees that work for companies are parents. And so most of the reasons why they’re calling out is because of their child, or like the daycare is closing or school is out and they just need that. So, um, when he told me that, um, that’s when I decided to just go into corporate and that involved me doing a lot of cold calling, a lot of emailing. And by me getting that, doing the cold calling, I just needed that one. Yes. And, um, that one yes was through Care.com. And I was been I’ve been able to be able to have like, you know, a partnership with them where I provide back up care service. I dispatch nannies to their the clients that they work for.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:09] Now, when you had that opportunity, that one. Yes comes your way. How did you kind of go about negotiating the terms? Like was that pretty straightforward because they had a need. You had a service or was it something that you had a, you know, maybe pilot a little bit or kind of work together and figure some stuff out?
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:05:29] Yeah, it was pretty straightforward because prior to the partnership, you know, they definitely want you to have experience in the business. I was I’ve, I’ve already been in the business like seven years prior and I’ve already was providing like placement services to other, um, you know, families as well as like contracting, um, other babysitters. So it was pretty straightforward in terms of that. Um, and it made it a little bit easier because I already had experience in like, you know, the industry already because I, you know, I do assume if I didn’t have any type of experience, it probably would have been a little bit of a challenge to land that partnership. So, um, just me just going through the grunt work and just figuring it out just made it easier. But it was pretty straightforward.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:22] And it was because you had laid so much foundation prior to it that made it. You were ready for the opportunity when it presented.
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:06:30] Absolutely, yes.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:32] So then, um, how long did it take working with them to realize, hey, I think we’re on to something here. This thing’s going to really do well.
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:06:40] Well. So with Care.com they have they already partner up with nanny agencies. And so I would say it was more so an opportunity for myself and for my nanny agency. Um, versus like the other way around because they basically had the demand. Um, which was like, you know, the parents working at these companies that needed childcare. And then I had the supply, which was the babysitters. And so that’s kind of what created that partnerships. And like I said, they were already doing it before. And so I wanted to I decided I wanted to plug myself in, like, I can help with that need. Um, you know, and so that’s pretty much how it worked.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:29] So then. Then your business shifted to I got to have a good supply of nannies and and caregivers. Right. Like now I got it’s game on. Now I have to I would imagine now you’re at a point where as many nannies as I have are. A lot of them could start working pretty quickly if I find enough of the right ones.
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:07:50] Yeah, absolutely. I have over 100 nannies on staff in the state, and that’s combined with the state of California and in the state of Georgia, because there’s such a high demand, the day to day business, um, you know, with the team, like with my team, through Nannies and Kids United, we are constantly, always recruiting for babysitters and nannies all the time because it’s such a high demand. So of course, when I got that partnership, we pretty much had to amp up, you know, the interview process and amp up like, you know, just recruiting more childcare professionals because there’s such a strong need in this industry.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:31] So what are some of the qualities of a good nanny or a childcare professional.
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:08:36] Yeah. So some of the qualities would be someone who’s patient. Um, also someone who pretty much has like the understanding of certain child development when we hire childcare professionals. Due to my experience, I like to hire someone that kind of like has qualities of myself. I love children, I feel like it’s easy, um, with children, but someone who has like that experience, who understands, you know, patience is needed. Um, someone who has like a background in either working in the daycare facility. I never count babysitting for your parent, parents, children or relatives as professional experience at all. Um, always someone who has like a professional background, um, experience, whether that’s working for another nanny agency or, um, you know, working as, like a teacher. So someone who has that, um, of course, first aid, CPR certified legally, when working with children, you have to be first aid, CPR certified or willing to be trained for that. Um, not only that, but someone who’s reliable, consistent, um, who also to clean background check as well. So those are like the qualities that we look for and just someone who just we can depend on. Because with childcare, the last thing that a parent wants to hear is that their babysitter can’t show up. And so having someone that’s dependable and someone who has a track record of that is very important. That’s what we look for.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:13] And then how do you find them? Like how do they get on your radar? Is it mostly kind of referral from existing working nannies, or do you have some secret to get Ahold of these folks?
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:10:23] Yeah, so it’s a combination of referrals and doing advertisements. So I’m a part of a lot of babysitter groups. So usually when we’re recruiting or say aside from back up care, we’re looking for, you know, a permanent nanny, I personally like for the team to start internally. And then that’s when we branch out and we’ll either post on Facebook groups. Um, and a lot of our nannies that we have today have came from referrals because we treat our nannies great because it was started by a nanny agency. I definitely advocate for my nannies and how they get treated and making sure that they get paid well. And then, um, but a lot of advertisements.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:08] And then is there kind of a career path for the nanny, or is this something they’re going in there? It’s kind of like project work. They’re going to go in there, do a job for a period of time, and then kind of wait for their next job.
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:11:20] It’s a little bit of both because I do both backup care, which is, you know, on call last minute, um, there’s an option to do both because we have plenty of families that come to the agency and they want a career nanny, someone who’s full time. So this is something that you can work on a full time basis as a career, where, of course, benefits is provided. And then for other childcare professionals who just want this as like a temporary thing, that’s where backup care comes into play.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:50] So like if somebody just wants some part time work, they can say, look, I’m available between these hours on these days and then you just try to help them fill that time if that’s available.
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:12:01] Yeah, absolutely. The great thing about backup care is we are receiving requests on a daily basis. So if a childcare professional decides to apply to us and they said they just want something temporary or on a part time basis, that’s something that we can provide to them. And we let them choose their own schedule.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:21] So does it require for the nanny? They have to go and physically be in the location of the person. Is that. That’s the business.
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:12:30] Yeah, absolutely. They have to be in the homes of the families. And of course, each babysitter before they even step into the home of the family. They’ve already been vetted by us. Extremely.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:43] So what do you need more of? How can we help you?
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:12:46] So I would say, like, a great, um, client for me is another employer looking to provide this benefit to their employees. And then, of course, I’m always looking for reliable babysitters. So any babysitter that’s looking for full time or part time work, either in California and Georgia, you know, that’s where nannies and Kids United, um, is here to support.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:09] Now, when you say Georgia, Georgia and California, those are big states. Like, is it kind of, you know, from border to border of the states, like, or are they primarily in the metros?
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:13:20] Um, so they’re primarily in the metro. So for the state of Georgia, around the Atlanta metro area, um, within a 60 mile radius, and then with California, because California is so big, it’s in the Bay area, which is San Francisco, and that’s also within like a 60 mile radius.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:39] Right? So you don’t go into Southern California. You’re right now in Northern California primarily.
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:13:44] Yes, absolutely.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:45] And if somebody wants to learn more, have a more substantive conversation with you or somebody on the team, what’s the website?
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:13:51] Yeah, it is dot nannies and kids. United.com.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:58] Good stuff. Well, congratulations on all the success. You’re doing such important work and we appreciate you.
Rebecca Sylvain: [00:14:04] Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:06] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you all next time on Atlanta Business Radio.
About Our Sponsor
OnPay’s payroll services and HR software give you more time to focus on what’s most important. Rated “Excellent” by PC Magazine, we make it easy to pay employees fast, we automate all payroll taxes, and we even keep all your HR and benefits organized and compliant.
Our award-winning customer service includes an accuracy guarantee, deep integrations with popular accounting software, and we’ll even enter all your employee information for you — whether you have five employees or 500. Take a closer look to see all the ways we can save you time and money in the back office.