Building on Stronger Families
Simon and Caitlin Gillett opened a business because they saw a need in the Fairfax community they now call home. “When we moved to the United States, we noticed there were a lot of working families without grandparents nearby,” Simon Gillett says. “We’re a couple like that with a young family.”
The Gilletts decided to open a childcare franchise of College Nannies & Tutors, a national organization that provides caregivers who bring order, organization, and options to family life.
As the name suggests, College Nannies & Tutors provides reliable childcare and tutoring to children “from cradle to college.” “From infancy we provide child care. As a student ages and requires homework help, we offer tutoring up to college.” The company hires experienced nannies and sitters and requires CPR training and First Aid certification. If sitters have questions or concerns while on the job, Caitlin Gillett or another manager is always on call.
When planning his business, Gillett looked up the Mason SBDC. “I was a college professor, and the connection with the university led me to the Mason Enterprise Center,” Gillett says. “When you’re starting a business, there are a lot of administrative details that need to be dealt with, and knowing there is someone to support you when you run into a roadblock is important. The SBDC helped us with a business plan as well as financial aspects, marketing, franchise opportunity, and accounting.”
“We opened in 2014 with 45 employees,” Gillett says. “In 2015 we had 205 employees, mostly part time. This year we’ll double the number of employees.”
In 2016 the Gilletts launched a My Sitters app that allows clients to book a favorite sitter with as little as three hours’ notice. “It complements what we’ve been doing for a long time—building stronger families,” Gillett says. The last three words of that comment, Gillett adds, are the company’s mission statement. “We’re not a website,” he says. “We’re local and based in this community.”
Gillett noted that his business had $700,000 in growth in 2015 and expects a 60% increase in 2016. “The SBDC is about peace of mind,” Gillett concludes. “The SBDC is always there and ready to help if we need them.”