Mumpreneurs’ testimonials: How mum and daughter became business partners in their innovative Granny agency

When we came across Francesca and her mum, we immediately understood how innovative and useful the service they provide can be. Here is what Francesca told us about the idea behind her new childcare service, Granny and I, that places experienced and trustworthy Grannies in families to help with childcare and housework.

How and why did you start the ‘Granny & I’ childcare business?

I started planning Granny and I with my mother, Grazia, soon after my daughter’s birth in
October 2011. Having Penelope highlighted just how important it is to have an
experienced, grandmotherly presence there to guide mum during those early days, help
with caring for baby but also allow mum and dad to get some sleep and time to
themselves.

Everything seemed to flow more smoothly when Grandma was around to
help! Which is how we came up with this idea of finding Granny nannies, maternity nurses
and carers for other families. We realised not everyone was lucky enough to have
grandparents close by, and not all grandparents were willing or able to help out. We also
liked the idea of giving value to the amazing experience of raising children and running a
home that many women have, and channelling this experience into caring for other
families once the kids had grown up and left.


How do you and your mother work together? What are your biggest challenges?

My mum lives part of the time in Italy so I’m in charge for most of the day-to-day stuff,
finding our grannies, interviewing them and checking their credentials; talking to families
and working to find the right granny for them. We do chat often and discuss all major
decisions, so I guess just like a proper Grandma my mum’s role is a consulting one most
of them time. This has worked well for us so far! We have always had a very close
relationship, and like any other it has definitely had its ups and downs, but since
Penelope’s birth we have definitely found much in common that we were simply not able to
find before, and with Granny & I we have turned this common ground into a tangible
project. It’s interesting because as an agency we can understand both points of view: the Granny’s
and the parents’!

What did you learn in the process?

Since starting we have been on the steepest learning curve ever. Although I have worked
in sales and other admin-based jobs in the past, and my mum has a medical and childcare
background, our business is so different to a ‘classical’ nanny agency that we’ve had to
adapt and re-define a lot of our ideas.

What are the main challenges of finding childcare in London?

It’s a minefield! The main problem is that childcare is either time-consuming or expensive, and
can sometimes be both! It’s time-consuming if you do everything yourself trying to
sift through hundreds of CVs, interview lots of unsuitable candidates and be a bit
clueless about what a good nanny needs to have – CRB check, First Aid, references, etc.

Expensive if you end up using one of the big agencies. The good thing about Granny and I
is we understand both these issues so we try to take up as little of your time as possible,
and keep our prices reasonable so that the whole process becomes much more simple
and stress-free. Of course we also realise finding someone to care for your children is a
massive decision, so we try to get to know parents’ needs and are extremely picky when it
comes to selecting our Grannies.

We find temporary or flexible Grannies, as well as more permanent part-time or full-time ones.

All our Grannies are carefully screened and CRB checked, and we meet them in person where possible. They are all professionals in their field and have spent decades taking care of children and homes. We check at least three recent references to make sure they really are wonderful.

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