Beach Baby Nannies more than child care agency
Although she didn’t realize it at the time, the economic recession of 2007-2009 turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Trudie Reich of Carpinteria.
Instead of pursuing a career in social work, she became the founder and owner of Beach Baby Nannies, which is somewhat of a misnomer because the flourishing agency provides child care specialists in addition to other household staff such as personal and executive assistants, private chefs, housekeepers and house and estate managers.
“I consider myself a matchmaker. I match individuals and families with the right kind of help to make their lives easier,” said Ms. Reich, who earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2009 at UCSB.
“Unfortunately, because of the recession, there were no jobs in social work, so I decided to take a position as a nanny for a family in San Francisco. I had been babysitting since the age of 14, earning money for my cell phone and other expenses all through junior high at La Colina and high school at Santa Barbara High and college. It was a great source of income, and I love kids. I never considered it work,” she said.
Her year as a nanny for two infants was not only lucrative — she earned $100,000 for the year she was there — but she also traveled with the family to Aspen, Hawaii, New York City, London and Paris.
“It was a real eye opener because for the first time I observed the importance of a household staff. I realized that a job in a home could be a career,” said Ms. Reich. “Someone had to connect the family with the right staff person. Families go to an agency to get professionals with experience who are reliable and discreet, which is very important.”
Her observation was reinforced when she went to Los Angeles in 2011 and became a nanny for a number of celebrities.
“It was a glamorous lifestyle, traveling on private jets around the world. It put me on the next level in my career in the industry,” said Ms. Reich, noting that there is a fine line between being a nanny and becoming part of the family.
“The boundary shouldn’t be crossed. You are an employee first and part of the family later if that should happen,” she said.
The idea to launch her own agency came during a traumatic period in her life when she became the mother of Scarlett, her relationship with the father ended, and she came back to Santa Barbara.
“I was in a very dark place. I was 30 years old, had postpartum depression, no job, no income and was living with my parents,” said Ms. Reich.
With the support of her family and therapy, she began to recover and decided to start her own household staffing agency, even though she had no business background.
“I said to myself, ‘What have I got to lose?’ ” said Ms. Reich, who chose the
name Beach Baby Nannies “because the beach is always associated with Santa Barbara.”
After designing her own website — “something I had never done before and the same with business cards” — she launched her company in January 2017.
“I was a one-woman show, making flyers and placing them around town. I had a placard on my minivan. I didn’t get my first client until December, almost a year later,” said Ms. Reich, who describes herself as a one-woman show.
“I’m as good as the people I represent. My background spans over 15 years as a professional nanny/ family assistant/ house manager and with a toddler of my own, I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the agency’s executive role. I’m also very familiar with the Santa Barbara area, having grown up here since I was 2 years old.”
Today, Beach Baby Nannies, which has clients from Ventura and Oxnard to Montecito and Santa Ynez, is a member of the International Nanny Association.
In addition to the nannies, who must have a minimum of three years of child care experience, the agency also provides Newborn Care Specialists, Newborn Nannies and Postpartum Doulas.
“Our biggest need for child care currently is families who are bringing home a newborn and getting help at night, and since the COVID-19 crisis, people want nannies who can help with education in the home in the mornings and basic child care in the afternoon,” said Ms. Reich, who is engaged to Brandon Lopez.
Scarlett, who is now 4 years old, has a 7-month-old brother, Sean.
“The best nannies come to us as referrals from someone we trust. We have a large network of friends and colleagues who are students, preschool teachers and part-time career women. Most of them have worked with children or as caregivers on a part-time basis throughout their lives. We look for candidates with the energy and charisma this job requires.”
She pointed out that nannies are more than babysitters.
“They are child care specialists who participate in the social, emotional and intellectual development of their charges. They are often expected to work with children on such areas as language development, potty training, social manners and more.”
Nannies typically earn $17 to $30 per hour, which includes both full-time and part-time nannies.
“A full-time nanny earns $2,700 to $5,000 per month on average,” said Ms. Reich. “Many families provide benefits that include paid sick days, paid vacation, paid holidays and medical insurance.”
For parents with more than one child, nanny care can be cost effective. Unlike traditional day care, parents don’t have to pay an additional fee for each child.
“Nannies are paid one rate to care for all children in their employer’s family,” said Ms. Reich.
As a mom herself and a business woman, she said that one of the most rewarding aspects of her unexpected career is “when I check back with a family and find I made a great match.