A letter continued.

Poppy is a dreamer. She was born believing that better is always possible. That if you put your mind to it and work harder than anyone else, anything is achievable.

It’s why she chose childcare. Or maybe it chose her. It’s her calling, her passion, her mission.

It’s why Poppy is dedicated to solving the very real challenges that families face each day.

A year ago I never dreamed we would be where we are today. I started with my cellphone, a small personal investment and big vision. Today, it’s grown almost 100x.  I want to thank you for your support.  Without you, it would still be just me and my cellphone and a dream.

Last week we announced important changes to Poppy, including substantial price changes. Since that time, we have heard from hundreds of families.  I’ve read thousands of texts and I’ve had countless phone calls with parents.  It’s been the topic of thoughtful debate and discussion on Facebook groups and in parent forums.

I’ve heard your feedback, and it’s in two key themes:

 

  • You were caught off guard at how quickly the change was announced and implemented.
  • You were surprised at the amount of increase, with our infant families feeling the biggest impact.

As hard as it was to hear, I want to thank you for your feedback.  I want you to know that our small but proud team has taken a deep breath and read every word that you’ve sent us.  At least twice.

I also want you to know that we could have done a couple of things better.

First, I could have given more notice. The simple truth is that these changes have been immensely hard to make and in my haste to find the courage to do what I didn’t want to have to, I did the last thing I ever meant to do – I caught families by surprise. I apologize for that.

Secondly, and more importantly, I could have shared much earlier that what we started with was for testing and learning, and that change was just a matter of time.

Here’s why:

  1. The caregivers make us great, so Poppy needs to be great for them.
    • As parents, we have all struggled to find the right people to care for our kids. It is hard to find those special few that can care for children reliably, safely and playfully. The fact that only a tiny fraction of applicants become Poppy Certified is a testament to this. It takes a lot of effort to find them, but then also keep them – something we do by making Poppy the place where the best caregivers feel rewarded and supported for these talents.
    • Compensation a big part of this. Many families use Poppy as a flexible part-time nanny option (especially for infants) but this requires a completely different level of experience and skills than the average date night caregiver. A level that expects to make more than $16/hr. These new rates opens up our ability to bring on more of the caregivers that your families will love but that we haven’t previously been able to get.
  2. Professionalizing childcare through standards and accountability is a complex endeavor.
    • Anyone that has ever tried to find childcare on their own knows how wildly inconsistent quality and qualifications can be. We all know what it’s like to be cancelled on last minute and be left in the lurch. Poppy works behind the scenes every day to create a vastly different experience. One that is reliable, delightful and safety-obsessed. We work with caregivers to give them feedback and stock them with resources like age appropriate play ideas or CareCards. We work on our technology to create even better matches and more effective scheduling. We are always on call to respond to parent or caregiver questions or concerns. Creating this higher standard of care is a job that never stops, day in and day out.
  3. Innovating new solutions means investing in technology and exploring radically new options
    • Poppy is not another agency. Our ambition is to completely transform childcare for families though choices like PoppyPool – a coordinated nanny share where we can connect two families looking for care at the same time for similarly aged kids. Think UberPool but for childcare – the caregiver is compensated for their experience and families pay half the rate. That’s just the beginning – other programs we’re exploring are better same-day options, screened high schoolers as mother’s helpers or after-school care with nannies that drive.
    • These are complex problems that require significant investment to make a reality. Poppy is committed to bringing these solutions to you but we need to be a sustainable operation first.

For the past year we have worked to understand whether there was place and a space for this vision of childcare – one that was satisfied with nothing short of delight. One that is built on reliability and accountability.

We now know there is.

So we choose to make some hard but necessary changes to give us a chance to keep fighting for the solutions our families so desperately need and deserve. We want to build a village that will endure for you, and for your family, for years to come.

We have thought through how to address your concerns and want to:

  • Offer 2 months of complimentary membership to our existing families to address the short notice.
  • Involve you in where we’re headed.We have made our Product Roadmap public so you’re able to see what we’re working on, what we’re considering and what we’ve “shipped”. You’ll be able to sign up to test new pilots and give feedback: Poppy Product Roadmap.
  • Continue to hear your feedback – however you’d like to give it – text, Facebook, or otherwise. If possible, we’d love to talk with you.  We’ll be having weekly open houses on Tuesdays at our offices and will be as flexible as you need us to be to call/meet/listen.

Our mission at Poppy is big and it’s bold and it’s rooted in a belief. A belief that better is possible and is necessary for every one of our families.

Thank you now, more than ever, for your belief in us and that this is possible.

– avni

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