Kiid Launches On-Demand Babysitting Service
By: Carli Evilsizer | July 25, 2019
With so many reasons parents might need a babysitter like much needed date nights, vacations, traveling, etc, the demand for an easier way to find childcare created a need for an on-demand babysitting company. The only problem? It didn’t exist. Until Kiid, the Canadian on-demand baby-sitting service looking to disrupt the babysitting game, was launched.
We chatted with Marie-Pier Hébert, Founder & President of Kiid, on everything from the perils of starting a new company from scratch and what it’s like managing a company on top of a family.
Marie-Pier Hébert, Founder & President of Kiid, Shares How She Launched a Babysitting Startup
Kiid is an on-demand babysitting service that takes the stress out of finding quality babysitters, even on short notice. Whether it's a last minute meeting or a much-needed date night, they've got you covered. Simply enter your date and time, choose an available sitter, and confirm your booking instantly. Kiid only uses experienced babysitters that we'd trust with our own children.
After living across four continents, Marie-Pier decided to use her hospitality and customer service background to solve a major headache many parents were facing: finding quality babysitters. In 2017, she launched Kiid to create a platform that would be simple, safe and reliable for parents. Marie-Pier is spontaneous person who adores children and truly believes that anything is possible.
1. Tell me a little about your background!
I worked in the hospitality industry for 10 years, in several different countries. I always enjoyed having an intense and different work life. I specialized in hotel and restaurant openings. It was an insane amount of work and stress but I enjoyed (most of the time) the excitement of it all and that not one day was the same.
One day I woke up and decided: “If I’m going to work 70 hours a week, I might as well work for myself.” A few months later, I left my promising corporate role opening hotels to carve my own path and launch Kiid!
“One day I woke up and decided: ‘If I’m going to work 70 hours a week, I might as well work for myself.’
A few months later, I left my promising corporate role opening hotels to carve my own path & launch Kiid!”
2. What was the inspiration to launch Kiid?
Everyone I knew was struggling to find qualified and reliable babysitters. Also, when I worked in hotels, we very often received babysitting requests from families traveling. On demand babysitting services did not exist. I decided to take the matter into my own hands and fix the problem! I genuinely love helping families.
3. Once you had the idea, what were the first steps you took to begin building the company?
I knew I needed to build a website, so that was step one. The only problem was that I have no technology background and had absolutely no idea where to start. I did my homework and met with local programmers, many of which were too expensive. It was challenging to find the right fit. I ended up outsourcing the website development. After, I applied to several subsidies and grants and started pitching Kiid.. At each step in the process, I reached out to people for advice and guidance to help me reach the next step.
4. Tell me about the branding process!
I know my strengths and weaknesses - and being artistic isn’t one of them! Luckily, I have an incredibly talented friend, Elizabeth, who helped me develop the Kiid branding from A to Z.
She was one of the very first to believe in me and in the project. I had a vision in my head, I wanted Kiid to be professional, cool and fun. I found generally childcare services were either too corporate or too childish like “the magical garden” or “kimberly’s sitters” etc. Elizabeth was able to understand exactly what I wanted. She created mood boards and we worked on them together. She was able to literally create and put to life what was in my head through the colors, fonts and especially the logo. She proposed several options and we chose what was best together. I always trusted her expertise while knowing what I wanted. Funny story - We have known each other for over 15 years and in high school I had started a lunch business in our cafeteria. Elizabeth was creating the advertising flyers for me back then!
As for the name, I hired a professional that helped me find one! The name is so important. I wanted something cool, fun, catchy, but ran out of inspiration. I needed help. After a few brainstorming sessions, the consultant sent me several options including Kiid. The minute I saw it I knew it was the one.
5. What has been your most successful marketing strategy?
I don’t know if this counts as a strategy, but most of our customers find us through word of mouth. Trust is obviously the most important factor when it comes to babysitting - so the best marketing we can get is one happy customer talking to their friends about us.
6. What has been the hardest part about launching an on-demand babysitting service?
The hardest part about launching an on-demand babysitting service is recruiting experienced, qualified babysitters. Only about 20% of sitters who apply make it through our vetting process. It’s also ensuring that the online live schedules are constantly updated, that sitters actually show up to their bookings, that we are quick to find solutions when we need replacements and last minute changes or requests.
7. How are you expanding Kiid services to new cities?
We are mostly focused on the Montreal market because we still see a lot of untapped potential and don’t want to spread ourselves too thin. We recently quietly launched our service in Toronto and will be making noise soon :)
8. As a marketplace, how do you acquire new users?
We use various strategies to acquire new users including social media (Facebook mostly) and Google ads. Generally we find organic word-of-mouth to be the best acquisition channel! We also have relationships with many hotels that refer clients to us who are visiting from out of town. As for babysitters, we recruit lots of students studying in child care related fields (psychology, social work, nursing, etc.)
9. What is one thing you wish you knew before launching Kiid?
The importance of taking a data-driven approach to marketing. I didn’t know the first thing about Google analytics or Facebook pixels.
10. Do you have any helpful advice for new mompreneurs?
Being an entrepreneur and a mother is tough, no question. The mom guilt is twice as strong when you run a business, you are pulled in even more directions than you thought could be possible. You are often under the impression that you can’t do anything fully being torn between your business and your baby.
But it’s doable.
My advice is to build a strong support network, not be afraid to ask for help and just accept that you do things differently. Bring your baby with you when you need to. Book a babysitter for a few hours to be able to work (you never knew how productive you could be during 3 hours!) Remember that you can always make it work, somehow, but that nobody is going to make it work for you. It’s hard work. It’s up to you to make choices, decisions and go get support.
11. What’s next for Kiid?
We recently launched Kiid for Business. We partner with employers who offer their employees access to on demand babysitters to deal with all of life's moments and surprises - like daycare closures and last minute meetings. We already work with a few companies in Montreal and the feedback has been incredible. We are proud to be able to partner with businesses and help working parents!
It’s always interesting when the industry you work in helps spark the ‘aha’ moment for your startup idea. In Marie-Pier’s case, it was the hospitality industry not having a legitimate go-to babysitting company. We hope you enjoyed learning about her successes and challenges while launching Kiid.