Adventure Nannies’ Brandy Schultz Shares How She Scaled A 7-Figure Niche Childcare Business
Since remote work seems to be the new normal, workers are seeking top-quality childcare for their children beyond the typical daycare options. Additionally, families are looking for caregivers with diverse backgrounds to accommodate various family dynamics and needs.
Forty percent of tech workers alone are now classified as fully remote, according to new Gusto data. Moreover, remote work has increased by 130% over the past two years. As a result, childcare is now at the forefront of a revamp as more people begin to travel and work remotely.
“Our first full-time, long-term placement nanny has been to an Ivy League school, speaks multiple languages, sailed across the Atlantic and has a firearm license in four states,” Brandy Schultz, founder of Adventure Nannies, shares. “She got hired by one of the largest families in the world [that started one of the largest companies]. She ended up working in the company for a while; she’s had this incredible career through it. They were looking for somebody who could expose their kids to things that they couldn’t while they were at work. They didn’t want to leave their kids with someone who’d just play Peppa Pig all day. They wanted somebody who’s lived a life that they could share with their kids.”
Schultz founded Adventure Nannies to start a business and support her aspiring musician boyfriend, now husband, Wesley Schultz, lead singer of The Lumineers. Since its inception in 2012, the company has grown into a multi-million dollar business serving anywhere between 300 to 500 families at any given time. Additionally, its childcare community has grown to 15,000 nannies and received 20,000 job applications last year alone.
Brandy had always been around children through babysitting and nannying, which allowed her to join families on backpacking treks through the Canadian wilderness, trips to Burning Man, and other off-the-beaten-path destinations. In 2007, while in Denver, she had the idea for Adventure Nannies. Initially, she branded herself as the Adventure Nanny. With certifications such as a wilderness first responder, she knew she’d be able to safely protect the children.
Between traveling, she met Wesley, who was serving as a busboy while playing gigs on the side, and they started dating. At the time, Brandy financially supported her and Wesley while he continued to make a name for the band. As more families contacted her, asking her to join them, she knew she could start a business; she had maxed out her earning potential as a nanny and wanted to create something of her own.
“It was pretty crucial to having anything in my life go the way it did,” Wesley shares. “Behind every success story, you hear people have quietly supported or behind the scenes support of that person. I give her a lot of credit because you’re gone a lot and in the beginning, you have to trust each other; it’s a whole deal—it’s amazing. I remember calling my mom and being like, ‘Yeah, I’m living in the basement of this family that my girlfriend’s nannying for.’ The family took pity on me and let me teach their kids music lessons just to put money in my pocket.”
During this time, Brandy and Wesley met Shenandoah Davis, another aspiring musician who now serves as cofounder and CEO of Adventure Nannies. As a way to travel the world, Davis became a singer-songwriter. She slept on floors and trains and even had to figure out how to stretch $150 for five people for food, lodging and making it back to the States. Back home, she used her skill set of being a scrappy musician to work as an assistant for a restaurant group, which eventually turned into the marketing director position.
In 2012, Brandy officially launched the Adventure Nannies. Geared toward finding exceptional travel nannies with unique skill sets for adventurous families across the country, the organization quickly gained traction. At the same time, a song Wesley had written nearly a decade earlier, Ho Hey, became an overnight sensation. The Lumineers embarked on an expansive set of tours, being on the road for nearly 300 nights a year.
Needing help scaling the company, Brandy brought Davis on as a consultant in 2015. It wasn’t long before she was promoted to CEO. When she started, the business was making a little over $150,000. In a year’s time, Davis helped double the revenue. The company quickly surpassed its $500,000 goal, and a couple of years ago, it became a multi-million dollar organization growing from three full-time employees to over fifteen.
“The way that the company was founded,” Davis comments, “we’ve been able to keep some of that ethos of like, ‘It doesn’t matter if you know how to do it or not, because we’re going to figure out how to do it together.’”
As Brandy and Davis continue to scale the company, they focus on the following essential steps:
- Understand the difference between a founder’s mindset and a CEO’s role. As a founder, having great ideas is ok; it’s also important to trust your CEO.
- Trust the people around you. Having an outsider’s point of view can accelerate your goals and objectives.
- Don’t stress over small things. Everything can be figured out when you creatively approach the situation.
“I’m lucky,” Brandy concludes. “I was young and had a healthy dose of insanity. We were getting a surprising amount of business. It was successful, despite itself, just by me not having any business experience. I don’t have a safety net. My parents were not able to support me. My mom was homeless for a while. My dad died. I didn’t have another choice. I didn’t even think about failure.”
Wesley adds, “What I learned, and probably Shenandoah, can attest to this in some ways too, Brandy always lives as if she’s fine when she’s not. She approached Adventure Nannies like, ‘I want to be supportive of this. Let’s make it go.’ I would always be like, ‘I don’t know if I have the money to buy a guitar,’ and Brandy would say, ‘Buy it.’ It was always acting as if; she is the embodiment of fake it till you make it.”