Sitting on a great business idea
By Rebecca Edwards
A chance comment at a moms’ group led a former nanny to set up her own babysitting and concierge service in Fernie.
Emma Padgett set up Snow Valley Kids at the end of 2011 to offer a reliable babysitting service to families who live in and are visiting Fernie.
The venture took off immediately - during the holiday period she had 15 sitters out at one time, and many vacation property owners in Fernie have booked her babysitters every weekend for the rest of the ski season.
Several Fernie families have also used her service to find a regular nanny.
Padgett, who was a nanny for 10 years and has a 20-month-old daughter Lenny, says she decided to set up the business after hearing a group of moms discussing how hard it is to find a reliable babysitter in Fernie.
“One of them said I should start a nanny agency – I just laughed at the time but later on I realized it would work.
“You always see babysitters advertising on the local websites and noticeboards, but as a mum myself I know that I don’t want to leave my daughter with someone I don’t know.
“All our sitters are experienced with working with children, have their first aid certificate and have had police checks.
“I send the family a profile of the babysitter and a photo so they know who is going to show up.
“When I am looking to hire someone I look for someone who is good with kids and has lots of energy and ideas on how to create games and activities for them inside and can get them playing outside in the snow and having fun.
“My aim is that someone can arrive in Fernie and know that everything is taken care of, that they have someone they feel comfortable leaving their kids with.
“The sitter isn’t going to call up and cancel just before they head out for a day of skiing, and they know the kids won’t just be left in front of the TV all day.”
Padgett spent time working in guest services at Fernie Lodging Company on the ski hill and says it taught her what visitors to Fernie need during their stay.
As a result, Snow Valley Kids also offers a grocery service – for a fee they will take a shopping list, collect the groceries and deliver them to a vacation home, so that when a visitor arrives in town they have everything they need for their stay.
Padgett also has baby equipment rental, so that families can pack more ski equipment into their vehicle, and bring less baby paraphernalia.
She says the business will continue past the ski season, and she is thinking about expanding the grocery service to include seniors and anyone else unable to get to the store easily.
“I have a lot of ideas of how I would like to expand the business in the future – this has just been our first season so we are still working things out, but it would be fantastic to cater for even more people in the future.”
• Snow Valley Kids website has a calendar for family-friendly events at www.snowvalleykids.ca You can also contact Emma Padgett at 778-519-3201.