Sitter Outfitter

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Eric White


Whether you’re working full time, part time or just want a little “me” time on a Saturday, you mamas know how tough it is finding great care. People you can trust with your most precious possessions, who will engage, care for and nurture your children like you would. Lauren Mansell understood the struggle, so last year she decided to do something about it. She launched the app Hello Sitter that enables mamas to find someone at the last minute and know they are experienced, trustworthy and thoroughly vetted. Whether you’re in New York or the Hamptons, you no longer have to text five sitters right before a fabulous party or business meeting. Payment is also secured in-app and you have the ability to store your favorite sitters to create consistency in your child’s care. We were so floored by this incredible idea, that we had to chat with Lauren on this major light bulb moment and the joys and perils of starting a new business with a wee one at home.


A Wild Dove

 Break it down for us. How do you even begin to develop an app? Do you have a tech background?

 

Lauren Mansell

I have no technical background and that gave me certain disadvantages but also a lot of advantages. Rather than looking at it like an engineer, I looked at it through the eyes of a customer and made a product that I thought was not only great to use, but easy to understand and nice to look at. I have to learn every day and half the time I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, but I worked hard and leaned on people with more skills than myself.

 
 
 
 
 

A Wild Dove

Which is so important that you were able to let go and do that. What was your trigger moment in developing the business?

 

Lauren Mansell

I had left my previous job and knew that I wanted to start a business. While I was researching ideas, I had terrible trouble finding sitters. I didn’t have a 9-5 job and so the guilt of leaving Ady with sitters that I didn’t feel were great was hard. Either I didn’t want them taking her out, or I felt they weren’t engaging with her enough, and the majority of the time I stopped working and rearranged plans so that I could do it myself. I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a better solution and so I decided to make one. The trigger moment was when I started talking to other moms about my idea and they were so enthusiastic and excited, I knew I was onto something.

 

A Wild Dove

You definitely were! It’s a very common dilemma. How do you balance a start-up and being a mom?  

Lauren Mansell

It’s hard and sometimes I struggle, but I try and have dedicated times for each role and in each of them I try to be present. On one hand, it is hard running your own business because the majority of the responsibility lies with you, there is no end time and always something I could be doing (hence why I am writing this at 11pm!) However, it allows you to set your own schedule. I can be at Ady’s school whenever I want or be there when she has a playdate.  I have the ability to swap an hour in the day for one in the evening and for that, I feel very grateful.

 
 
 
 

A Wild Dove

What was this morning like for you?

 

Lauren Mansell

This morning was actually great because it is the first day of spring break for Ady.  Normally we are rushing, trying to be ready and eat breakfast before we have to leave. However this morning, we slept in, played picnic in our pajamas until the nanny arrived and then I jumped in the shower.

 

A Wild Dove

Love that! What is your therapy?

Lauren Mansell

Shopping.  I have a slight addiction and I don’t think my husband will ever understand when I try and explain the peace it brings me when I am shopping or the calm that washes over me when I am in a department store.  It sounds weird but it is my happy place.

 
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A Wild Dove

Um, we can definitely relate!
What has been a mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

Lauren Mansell

I make mistakes daily, I think the best way to learn is to make mistakes.  The biggest one though is thinking I can do it all and do it all well.  This was not the case - I couldn't run the day-to-day, all the social channels, build partnerships, and run marketing, be head of support, head of product and PR. I tried to give ‘everything’ but made errors thinking about too many things at once.

 
 

A Wild Dove

Totally. OK you're stranded on a desert island, what are the five things you need?  

Lauren Mansell

My husband, my daughter, a satellite phone, sunblock and a hammock.

 

A Wild Dove

Hammock! Yes. Lastly, what makes you fly?

Lauren Mansell

Being surrounded by people. I am a very shy person but once I make friends I hold them close and nothing makes me happier than being around good friends and family. Just chatting about nothing, laughing and enjoying each other's company. They say humor heals and I couldn’t agree more.

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for more info

visit Hello Sitter