This pop-up co-working space thinks it has the secret sauce: child care
by Sara Gilmore
Washington Business Journal
September, 14 2:57pm
In a world where child care is expensive, time is precious, and working around your young children is difficult at best, a new service wants to lend a hand — by watching your kids so you can get things done.
Enter, The Village at Sospeso. It’s a pop-up co-working space, a collaboration between an event planning company, on-site nanny service and restaurant. Tracy Leaman, founder of D.C.-based Events to a T, created the concept after juggling entrepreneurship with parenting of her daughter, now 5, and son, 3.
“I’ve been trying to run a business with them at my heel since they were born,” she said, “and it’s all but impossible.”
So Leaman tapped D.C.-based NannyTainment Event Childcare to look after the kids, and Sospeso, a Mediterranean restaurant and cafe on H Street NE, to provide the space. Here, parents don’t have to worry about planting a toddler in front of the television while racing to make phone calls before they’re needed again. It’s handled for them.
It targets “people like me, parents and entrepreneurs who are trying to work from home with their kids, but obviously I think it can also appeal to the stay-at-home parent who just needs a couple of hours and a break,” Leaman said. “I think parenting is hard and any way that we can help out and give parents a break is what I really want to do.”
Parents sign up ahead of time through the Eventbrite website, to give the team a headcount, and pay $25 for one child and $12.50 for each additional kid. They bring them to the nannies on the restaurant’s second floor with whatever they may need — diapers, allergy information, snacks — and work, relax or socialize from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. downstairs. A scone and coffee are included, too.
When the pop-up opened Wednesday, two nannies watched nine kids, with a singalong, book reading, coloring and games, Leaman said. The service can accommodate at least 20 kids in this space.
There are three more dates on the calendar: Sept. 22, when D.C. public schools are closed for professional development, Sept. 27 and Oct. 4. But Leaman is viewing this more as a pilot than a permanent model, she said, and hopes to expand the pop-up to other venues throughout Washington: The Village at [insert business name here].
The benefit to the businesses? If successful, it would bring more foot traffic to them, Leaman said. For the Sospeso events, the three collaborators will split the profits, but that could change with future installments.
While it’s relatively common for gyms and recreation facilities to offer forms of child care, and there are similar co-working concepts in the region, it’s far less common in the District to find a structure like that of The Village at Sospeso. And child care alone can get pricey pretty fast — a babysitter for one child in the District runs around $20 for an hour.
Leaman also sees it going beyond co-working, with plans to apply the same child care structure to weekend happy hours or brunches.
Sara Gilgore produces content for our digital and print operation and manages our social media accounts.