Interview with Liz Moody-Stuart, founder of Officrèche Brighton

Read how Liz Moody-Stuart started, Officrèche in Brighton – a flexible working space with attached nursery – after struggling to balance her own home and work life as a mum.

What’s your career background?

I have worked as a freelance writer, facilitator and in art publishing.

How did your career change after having children?

Even more strands became woven into it! However, three years after I created Officrèche (when my eldest child went to school and my youngest turned three) I had to focus solely on my own business, as I was in danger of being spread too thinly and snapping.

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Where did the idea for Officreche come from?

It came from my own need to balance home and work life, as the demands of both varied.

How did you move from idea to actual business?

With the help of my family (husband, brothers, parents), mentors, experts (some of whom were my family) and some visionary childcare professionals.

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What is Officrèche?

Officrèche is a co-working space with attached nursery offering truly flexible childcare options. We are innovating the childcare model to the fit the needs of modern families and empowering parents with flexible working patterns and entrepreneurial projects.

What’s your USP?

Excellent and truly flexible childcare delivered in an Ofsted-registered nursery.

Who’s your target audience?

Being Brighton-based, our customers are primarily Brighton and Hove residents with young children, who are working flexibly whether that’s as part of a forward-thinking organisation, through working freelance, running their own business or by studying to get back into the game.

However, Officrèche isn’t just a business, but a movement – our vision is to modernise working patterns for new parents and empower parents to make changes in their career – we hope to extrapolate Officrèche by partnering with and supporting similar businesses up and down the country and abroad, sharing our expertise and our intellectual property.

How do you spread the word about what you do?

Social media, hosting events, our staff and members talking to everyone.

What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?

There’s been no one single one. Word of mouth basically, but there are so many forms. It is all about creating a community that wants to talk and that people want to join.

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

I can filter it down to three:

  1. One that came from nowhere – the council planning department decided our deck, that the children play on in all weathers, was illegal.
  2. One that struck at the business advantages I was trying to pass on to our customers – HMRC deciding we were partially exempt from VAT.
  3. One that is perennial to all businesses – making sure that our team is motivated, inspired and rewarded.

And your proudest moment so far?

Michelle, our Early Years Advisor, winning flexible team member of the year this year at the mumandworking award.

The way we have enabled her to combine motherhood and her career is the epitome of Officreche’s success.

Why is work so important to you?

Because I feel like a pioneer innovating the childcare model to suit modern working families. This need is growing and I need to continue to enable more people to access excellent flexible childcare.

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Who inspires you?

Kids in general, and my own in particular.

How do you balance your business with your family?

I work school hours and bring my kids in to play in the nursery in half terms and holidays, when the business needs me more.

What are your three top pieces of advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?

  1. Talk about your idea to everyone – in the bus queue, on trains, at weddings, in the pub, in the playground.
  2. Listen and respond as your market’s needs flex.
  3. Keep everything in perspective by grounding yourself and hanging out with your children.

You can read more about Officrèche Brighton on their website