As entrepreneurs and owners of childcare centers, we embarked on our journey when we were young parents, caring for four children, all under the age of seven. Our brainstorming sessions took place at the kitchen table, in coffee shops, on the benches of indoor playgrounds, parks, and libraries. The development phase was marked by tight budgets, and while we toured various childcare centers, we couldn't reconcile the price tag with the quality they offered. Hence, we made the decision to operate from home while simultaneously crafting our own chain of boutique childcare centers. However, as non-Massachusetts natives without an extensive support network, our "village" was rather small, and securing babysitters for some uninterrupted work hours was a challenge. The balancing act of working and parenting became increasingly strenuous. The house was perpetually untidy, and our roles as parents left us drained and joyless. We knew there had to be a better solution.
We attempted to join co-working spaces with assurances that our children would be welcome, only to discover that they were deemed too noisy and messy, rendering productivity nearly impossible. During those years, a recurring question arose: "Why isn't there a co-working office that provides childcare facilities?" The seeds of a dream were sown, and we began plotting and sketching out our vision. We envisioned a center where parents could work while their children played, and a business that could contribute to charitable causes. This is where the concept of "POP," short for "play on purpose," was born.
The POP Center is a co-working studio with integrated childcare and play amenities, offering flexible membership options to cater to various schedules. We provide tiered membership choices, starting from as little as a single morning to five full-day memberships, all at an hourly rate that is nearly 40% more affordable than traditional daycare. Parents can choose to work in private co-working spaces or opt for the playrooms situated near their children, equipped with tables and comfortable couches. Membership perks include access to co-working office spaces, high-speed Wi-Fi, unlimited printing, private phone booths, unlimited coffee and lattes, as well as supervised playgroups for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years. Private office spaces are also available for an additional fee. The children's playrooms are expertly designed to provide structured and unstructured play opportunities, featuring an array of toys and themed rooms like a grocery market, playhouse, and garage shop. Family-oriented amenities include nap rooms, cribs, private nursing stations, a fully-equipped kitchen, and diaper changing stations.
The POP Center distinguishes itself from typical childcare centers in three significant ways. Firstly, it operates outside the purview of the Department of Early Education and Care, as our model is exempt from licensing due to the state's requirement that parents must work on-site at all times. Secondly, POP Center caregivers are not responsible for diaper changes, bottle feeding, snack provision, or disciplining children. Instead, we employ technology that instantly notifies parents of real-time activities and communicates when their presence is needed by their child. Thirdly, in contrast to traditional daycares, parents have the flexibility to drop in on their children at any point during the day to engage in playtime, cuddle, share a snack, or create cherished memories.
The POP Center has addressed a significant gap in the market. Working parents require more flexible options, additional quality time with their children, and an improved work-life balance. Our center offers an economical alternative, reducing parents' expenses related to tuition, office rent, nanny taxes, and entertainment costs for their children. Working at The POP Center also contributes to a more harmonious home life and saves parents the hassle of commuting to multiple locations daily.
During weekends, The POP Center transforms into a versatile venue, serving as the ideal setting for birthday parties and events, particularly suited for children aged 8 and under. Our birthday party packages offer various tiers, granting exclusive access to the play space and a spacious party room capable of accommodating up to 75 guests. The POP Center staff manages all aspects of party planning, from theme selection to invitation creation, supplies, setup, and teardown.
We have meticulously applied the same level of care and precision that we employ at our childcare centers to ensure top-tier care at The POP Center. Our model offers enhanced affordability and flexibility compared to traditional childcare centers. We have also established a business model that enables us to engage in meaningful charitable work and expand our presence, making this concept accessible to as many parents as possible.
While we were unable to benefit from such a valuable service when our own children were young, it brings us immense joy to witness it available today.