NEW YORK CITY– Artists, dancers, performers, teachers all play a role in Curated Care’s unique babysitting system. They make up the business’s “Kid Experts,” who are experienced babysitters with a focus on teaching and creative activities.
“We were really invested in creating this new vertical where artists and teachers could make good money doing what they love,” said cofounder Erin McConaghy. “They could connect with people who were excited about that skillset.”
McConaghy, along with fellow cofounder Marlene Veloso, wanted to ensure that families would have an exceptional experience with their babysitters. Families create free profiles on Curated Care’s website and then request Kid Experts for activity-based babysitting, after-school pickup, private lessons, birthday parties, tutoring, and more. Experts go through an extensive vetting process. Applicants must have babysitting experience, provide references and pass a background check before they are interviewed for the position.
McConaghy said that they look for babysitters with both energy and passion, and many of their employees are professional coaches or have performed on Broadway — people who tend to be creative, outgoing and who genuinely love children.
When families traditionally look for babysitters, they often have to rely on a small pool of contacts found locally in their neighborhood. For example, as parents plan a date night, they may text three babysitters and end up waiting several hours before receiving a confirmation — a process that doesn’t work for last-minute schedule changes.
Curated Care takes a different approach. As families sign up, they are encouraged to create a team of Kid Experts that represent all of the different people available for booking. McConaghy explained that teams often consist of around 15 babysitters, or even more. Families can narrow their search down to those with certain availabilities or who specialize in singing or Spanish. When they book a date and time, each person in their team receives an automatic notification to inform them of a potential booking. As soon as one Kid Expert confirms, the request is canceled for every other person. This means that the booking process usually takes minutes.
“Our product is two things. It’s our incredible providers, these super-cool artists and teachers that are not easy to find elsewhere. The other 50% of the product is how fast and easy and feel-good the booking process is,” said McConaghy.
Focusing on families is important, but Curated Care also wanted to make the service as helpful as possible for the Kid Experts, as well. Much like how the babysitters are rated with a five-star system, Kid Experts can also rate clients and are encouraged to discuss any individual issues that come up. Kid Expert Grace Muawad said that she found the system easy to use.
“It’s really cool that most people on the website are either actors, singers, dancers, or artists,” Muawad said. “[The parents] understand the nature of flexibility because most of us are auditioning during the day. I’ve only ever had good experiences, with the parents being super kind and helpful.”
Flexibility and accommodation are cornerstones of Curated Care. Kid Experts can set their own pay — some may start slightly lower as they build a clientele, but the average rate is $25 an hour. Kid Experts can pick and choose which bookings work around their schedule. McConaghy and Veloso also make sure to keep Kid Experts informed with emails about recurring gigs or special parties.
Muawad, like many other Kid Experts, worked as a babysitter throughout high school and college, but she remained localized in the suburbia she grew up in. Curated Care, she said, gives her the opportunity to travel all over New York and meet many different kinds of families.
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That variety is reflected in every aspect of the business. While the service started in New York, they have already breached out to the Hamptons as a seasonal service and recently beta launched in Los Angeles. McConaghy shared that she would love to expand their reach to other cities as they continue networking with talented, artistic babysitters. She also wanted to grow their services. While the majority of the children they babysit are between two and eight years old, she envisioned new programs to focus on both early childcare and SAT prep for teenagers.
McConaghy referred to Curated Care as a passion project, and it’s clear to see that energy in their business. She wanted to create a community that benefitted parents, babysitters, and, most of all, the children. By all accounts, Curated Care was able to do just that — to the point that McConaghy loves having Kid Experts babysit her own daughter.
“My husband and I always joke that she is inherently going to be cooler than I am or he is, and it’s only because she’s been around such incredible people,” McConaghy said with a laugh. “I feel like the coolest mom on the planet because my kid got to spend the night with a Broadway actor.”