“We have clients all over the world from the UK, USA, Switzerland, Poland and even the Qatari Royal family.”
Interview with Charlotte Boulton, Co-Founder of Lunachild Collective
Read about Charlotte's journey to discovering and making a success of a unique business with her sister. Now, over the 18-month mark, she gives advice on attaining clients, finances and the importance of family support for entrepreneurs.
Meet Charlotte Boulton (Co-Founder of Lunachild Collective) – Lunachild Collective is a bespoke Nanny agency specializing in placing dynamic candidates with unique skills-sets to UHNW/VIP clients worldwide.
Hello Charlotte, Welcome to Introvert Thoughts, Business Spotlight page. We’re excited to learn about Lunachild and how your business idea began?
Lunachild doesn’t just look for good Nannies, we look for exceptional Nannies who possess additional skills to develop your child’s hobbies and interests, such as children’s yoga, nutrition expertise, qualified ski instructors, bilingual etc.
My sister (Lucy Boulton – Co-Founder Lunachild Collective) was a career Nanny worldwide for more than 10 years.
From her first job in the UK, onto Ireland, Switzerland, and the USA she noticed the different styles of parenting, views on education and nutrition that varied with each family she worked with.
Realising the appreciation behind exceptional childcare and the importance of looking after not just the children, but yourself as their Nanny, Lucy went on to complete her yoga certificate with the desire to combine her two passions.
As a qualified Yoga instructor and wellness fanatic, Lucy started incorporating Yoga and meditation into the daily routine of the children she cared for because she knew how much it could help. The change in their overall wellbeing and behavior was incredible and Lunachild Collective was born. When people think of nannies they think of uniform-wearing, old fashioned, Royal family serving, Mary Poppins types and we want to show that nannies can be so much more than that
Photo: Lucy Boulton, co-founder of Lunachild and Nanny extraordinaire
I, myself, on the other hand completed a Psychology degree and then went on to work in hospitality management both in the UK and Switzerland for 10 years as well as being a qualified personal trainer. However, in all honesty I was never that great with authority or being told what to do and always felt the need to create something bigger of my own.
We could both feel a change in our lives coming and on a Sunny day in Geneva, August 2015 Lunachild Collective was born. We wanted to shake up the Nanny agency world and have more of a modern day approach to childcare.
By combining both of our skills together we set out on a tough yet rewarding journey.
We took the plunge and quit our jobs (I was in Geneva, Lucy was in Boston) and decided to move back home (to Mum and Dads) to fully launch Lunachild here in Manchester.
It was an incredibly daunting but exciting time for us, we had both lived away from home for so long that it was difficult to adjust at first, however with the burning desire and passion to make Lunachild a success it helped push us along.
“Neither of us had any real experience running or starting a business but this didn’t stop us.” We did everything we could to learn as much as possible (for as little cost as possible) to help us on our journey.
I’m quite geeky so I picked up finance, SEO, Marketing, Social media, PR, Analytics and recruitment quite quickly and with Lucy having so much experience working directly with our target market (both clients & Nannies) we placed her as the face of the business, managing new business, Nanny recruitment, client relationships, and leading expert in all things childcare related.
We were very lucky to secure a place on NatWest’s Entrepreneurial spark programme, which with the expert advice and mentorship we received helped accelerate Lunachild to where it is today.
Over the past 18 months as any start up company, we have had our major ups and downs. It has been exciting, exhausting, emotional, stressful and fun all at the same time. The first 12 months looking back, was all about finding our feet, making some mistakes and learning from them and changing direction numerous times.
Almost 2 years in and we are on the path we initially set out to be on. We have clients all over the world from the UK, USA, Switzerland, Poland and even the Qatari Royal family.
What was it like in the first week or two of starting your own business?
A strange combination of terrifying and exciting. This was it, no going back it’s all or nothing I thought to myself. It was a little chaotic at first as we knew what we needed to do but were a little stuck as to how to do it. I look back on them first couple of weeks now and can’t believe how far we’ve come not only in business but also as people.
How did you fund your business idea?
We funded Lunachild entirely ourselves from our personal savings and with a little investment from our parents. However, when times got tough, we applied for funding of many different forms only to be rejected. We were even rejected for a small overdraft. Investment at that time wasn’t the right path for us and a lot of investors these days are more interested in tech than anything else.
Who gave you the most support when you started?
Our parents and my partner have been our absolute rock throughout our journey, we most definitely couldn’t do it without them. My partner works in social media so she helped me learn the ropes and become a whizz like her, as well as putting up/ comforting me when times have been hard. There is absolutely no way I could have done this without her and I am forever grateful. My parents have helped us financially, emotionally and have also helped with the admin/ financial side in times of need! We’ve had my mum doing interviews, chasing references, keeping on top of our accounts, and my dad has been the number one shoulder to cry on and chief taxi!
How did you get your first few clients? What tips can you give to others who are looking for clients?
Luckily, because of Lucy’s successful Nannying career she had a little black book of contacts. Due to Lucy leaving such an amazing impression on the families she has worked for in the past we kindly asked them to spread the word about our new venture. Working with UHNW/VIP clients can be tricky as it’s more about who you know rather than what you know. There’s a huge element of trust in what we do and it is imperative to get that message through to our target market in order to attain new business.
My key advice is to use your stakeholders, build great relationships with them and reward them for referrals etc. Someone you know will always know someone who will be interested in purchasing your product/ service so think about how you can get to them without wasting money on advertising!
5. Can you give other budding businesses and entrepreneurs tips on making it past the 12-month mark?
Personal development and a strong mindset is key. In order to make your business a success and to get through those grueling first 12 months is going to take a lot more than just showing up every day. Nobody really talks about the down sides of being an entrepreneur/ startup. It’s an emotional roller coaster 100% of the time, incredibly lonely, exhausting and you need to be strong mentally to get through the down times. The way to do this is to not neglect yourself, meditate, exercise, read, take some time out to feed your soul with whatever makes you happy and feel alive!
I’m a strong believer in the power of attraction and when I’ve had nothing left to give/ been at my lowest this has been the one thing that has put me back on track.
When we were accepted onto the Entrepreneurial spark programme the first piece of advice they gave us which has stuck is ‘You need to start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable’ – this is so true and has pushed me into doing things I never thought I would. Starting a business is incredibly uncomfortable and pushes you out of your comfort zone daily but if you’re mentally strong you can learn to enjoy it.
‘If you’re going through hell, keep going’ – Winston Churchill.
Charlotte Boulton, Co- Founder of Lunachild Collective