When Vanessa Wauchope was growing up in Westport, Connecticut, she spent her free time doing what many teenage girls did for pocket money: She babysat.
For $2.50 an hour, she was a mother’s helper, accompanying women from her church as they went to the beach with their children. In high school, she schlepped neighborhood kids around their seaside town in an S.U.V. and went along on family road trips to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
In college, Wauchope studied business and figured her babysitting days were behind her. But when a family tragedy prompted her to move to Manhattan at age 21, she began babysitting again for extra money. She soon found herself with more work than she could handle from worldly, well-to-do parents who were utterly desperate for flexible, part-time child care.
“It got to the point where I had too many clients,” says Wauchope. “I began recruiting friends, and it just snowballed from there.”
Now four years old, Wauchope’s company, Sensible Sitters, is a million-dollar business, with 300 babysitters in New York and 150 in Los Angeles.
Photo by Conde Nast Portfolio.
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