We had the good fortune of connecting with Gretchen Salyer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gretchen, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
June Care was started based on my own personal experience as a full time working mom, and a full time stay-at-home mom, but really born out of the pandemic. I was a full time stay-at-home mom when the pandemic hit. Although it was hard, I felt fortunate that I wasn’t trying to work a second job while caring for my kids. My friends and neighbors, on the other hand, were not able to leave their jobs and their childcare completely disappeared. And of course this was happening everywhere, resulting in more than 3 million working moms leaving their jobs over the past 2 years.
In order to help, I arranged childcare swaps locally so that parents could have consistent time each week when they knew they would be able to work / run errands / get a break. It was such an incredible solution. In a time when most of the country / world was feeling isolated and overwhelmed, we felt more connected than ever. Our kids were happy and socialized and we all felt encouraged by the fact that we had, and could provide support to our communities. I started to wonder whether it would be possible to create similar communities of support for parents, everywhere. And that was the birth of June Care. We launched in the summer of 2021 and we are now serving families in cities throughout California and we hope to expand quickly throughout the U.S. Families can sign up and get matched with another family in their neighborhood at Junecare.co.
Social impact: how does your business help your community or the world?
June Care connects parents who need childcare with stay-at-home parents who can care for their kids. In doing so, we help stay-at-home parents get paid for the care work they are already doing while increasing access to childcare for parents who need it.
We have a systemic childcare crisis in our country. 51% of American families who need childcare don’t have access to it today, which results in one parent, typically the mom, stepping back from her career and opportunity to earn income to take care of the children. Consider that most American families need two sources of income in order to be financially secure.
With June Care, we are tapping into the underutilized care work (supply) that is already happening in millions of homes across the country. We make that care resource available to families who need it, thereby increasing income opportunities for parents, everywhere. The work that stay-at-home moms do everyday needs to be valued. We need to close the divide between “working moms” and “stay-at-home moms.” With June Care, we do this. Bringing communities together in support of one another so everyone can thrive.
We’re proud to be creating a support network of families throughout California and L.A., and parents can either sign up as a host or to request childcare at junecare.co.
What is the most important factor behind your success / the success of your brand?
Delight. For everyone who signs up to find or host June Care, we want them to be delighted with their entire experience. We take great care to ensure that every interaction you have with us, the platform and the network is delightful.
Our network of June Care Hosts is already delightful and truly the best form of childcare that we have come across in the market. So we wrap that with personalized matching, top of the line customer service, best-in-class trust and safety practices and a focus on connection and community.
By continuing to deliver above and beyond our customers’ expectations, we have a product and service that moms WANT to tell other moms about. And that is our top marketing and branding strategy and the key to our success.
Work/Life balance. How has your balance changed over time? How do you think about that balance?
One good thing that has come out of the pandemic is that parents no longer feel gaslighted by the expectation that their work day should be from 9-5 in an office, behind a desk.
Over the past 2+ years, working parents have been getting their work done at home, while also trying to ensure their kids are kept alive, educated through virtual school, getting some level of physical activity and hopefully still learning the basic social skills that we used to take for granted. There has been some pretty heroic stuff happening in homes across America. And while it has been HARD, one silver lining is the realization that the “facetime” culture (meaning, time in the office = productivity) of yore is absurd.
Today’s workforce has a new superpower. The understanding that they can do their job as part of their lives, instead of apart from their lives. There will be few employees who will resubscribe to the 9-5 office workday again, which is a win for families’, mental health and society.
We have entered into a new time and approach to work/life balance that might actually achieve “the balance” we’ve talked about for so long, but didn’t really exist. The pandemic was like a big magnifying glass on what’s been broken about our work culture… and what’s broken about our childcare infrastructure. Today’s workforce will demand more flexibility in their jobs, with a focus on outputs (what is actually delivered) vs. inputs (how many hours were spent in a building) and that is a GREAT thing.
As a fast-follow, there are unique models emerging to help create new social safety nets for families who need them in this changing environment. These solutions are creating accessible childcare resources for the families.
For example, June Care is a community-based approach to childcare, which was started in California in August of 2021. June Care is a platform which connects parents who need childcare with qualified host parents (typically stay-at-home moms) who can care for their kids. The beauty of the June Care model is it’s perfect for hybrid, back-up, part-time or temporary childcare needs. Additionally, it’s an opportunity for neighbors and communities to come together in support of each other – whether that’s allowing a mom who is home with her kids to earn an income while parenting, or helping a mom who needs childcare easily find a premium, very low-ratio childcare solution, right in her own neighborhood. June Care’s host parents are background checked and screened for quality and safety, in fact 95% of June Care Hosts have previous, professional childcare experience… and are moms.
I don’t think we should strive to return to “normal.” Normal wasn’t working for working parents or for stay-at-home parents. Instead, let’s look forward and continue to push for new, better ways to raise and support our families, together.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
1. A kids playdate at Cayton Children’s Museum in Santa Monica (fun & interactive), a meetup with a girlfriend on Abbot Kinney in Venice for food and shopping, definitely meeting friends/ kids for a beach playdate, hiking at Will Rogers State Park in Pacific Palisades (kid friendly hike), Pitfire Pizza in Mar Vista is super kid friendly with gourmet pizzas, beer/ wine, cookies and space, Culver City has a great downtown with open spaces and a lot of different restaurants (very walkable), also Stand Up Paddleboarding in Marina Del Rey!
2. Favorite Local Businesses would be Pump Station & Nurtury in Santa Monica (all things baby!), Origin PT in Brentwood (amazing pelvic floor physical therapy), Books & Cookies LA (musical storytime), Nenergy Boost in Brentwood (Vitamin IV), Dr. David Ghozland (OB & Cosmetic Gynecologist- He is my doctor, but a really amazing advocate for women’s sexual health)!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to thank the June Care team (Emily, Heather, Nicole and Tessa) and all of the moms who have joined on this journey to support each other in our most important work.
Other: June Care connects parents who need childcare with qualified host parents (often stay-at-home moms) who can care for their kids. With their mission of ‘moms supporting moms in their most important work,’ June Care provides moms with access to childcare, income opportunities and community. It’s free to sign-up to find or host June Care on their website: www.junecare.co.