Today we’d like to introduce you to Jody Stephenson.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Jody. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
SitterTree started in a college dorm room at Oglethorpe University. Pre-social media, pre-scheduling apps, I started babysitting for families in the Brookhaven area. I had grown up in a small town and wanted to bring my understanding of community to the Big City. Through babysitting, I helped parents to care for their little ones, and they helped me cover the costs of my college education.
It turns out, many Atlanta families and college students shared the need for community. I started growing SitterTree by taking job requests through the landline in my dorm room (Traer 221). Students used the campus mail system to pay small referral fees for their jobs. Soon, 10% of Oglethorpe’s campus was booking babysitting jobs through me.
After graduation, I moved overseas to work with children in Malawi. Still, Oglethorpe students kept booking jobs through “The Playgroup,” as it was called then. Babysitting remained a side hustle as I continued working overseas for seven years. When I moved back to Atlanta in 2010, I decided to get back into the babysitting game.
It didn’t take long to realize families still need reliable child care and college students still needed flexible income. I started booking jobs again. This time, I expanded to more Atlanta campuses, including Agnes Scott, Emory, Kennesaw, Georgia State, Life, and others.
Word continued to spread. In October 2014, I launched SitterTree.
Pre-COVID-19, SitterTree had booked more than 40,000 jobs and was preparing to expand beyond Georgia. When the pandemic hit, SitterTree sitters stepped in and filled more than 1,000 jobs for Atlanta medical professionals at Piedmont Healthcare and Grady Memorial Hospital. As Georgia begins to reopen, they are poised to take on the massive child care needs of parents heading back to work this summer.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Like any start-up, the road to now has been full of twists, turns, surprises, disappointments, and new challenges. It’s easy to go to bed wondering if we are going to make it, and wake up believing SitterTree will one day be a name known in every household.
Ultimately, SitterTree is not just a piece of technology. We started as a community of people and we continue to be a community – served by an app. The current COVID-19 environment reminds us how acutely we feel the needs and challenges of our community members.
Moms and dads who, overnight, added teacher, playmate, and classmate to their parental job description. Sitters who were ready to put on their cap and gown and pass through a major life milestone are now unemployed college graduates. Their struggles are our struggles.
As a business, SitterTree has had to take hard pivots and will rebuild itself from the ground up at least twice this year.
There have been seasons of smooth-riding and seasons of significant struggle. In both, we rely heavily on those around us to celebrate with us – and to journey with us through the obstacles.
SitterTree – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
SitterTree is an online babysitter booking app. Booking a SitterTree sitter is easier than booking your neighbor. Since 2016, our sitters have averaged 98% 5-star reviews from Atlanta families. Our coordinators do everything you would do – and more – to ensure our sitters are the very best. All sitters are interviewed, background-checked, and mom-rated before they reach your door.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment happens every spring when SitterTree announces our Top 10 Sitters. This years Top 10 had earned $89,000 and booked 1,934 jobs. Every year, seeing the faces of these sitters reminds me of the incredible women I have the privilege of working with through SitterTree. They are game-changers as babysitters, and I have every confidence they are going to take the same strength, work ethic, and kindness wherever they go. I am proud to know them for this short season and to have the chance to encourage them as they launch into the next chapter of their lives.
- Parents – Get a Sitter Pass – Save on Unlimited Bookings! $30/mo
- Website: sittertree.com
- Phone: 678-310-8412
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/sittertree
- Facebook: facebook.com/sittertree
- Twitter: twitter.com/sittertree
Photo cred for 7/8 shots goes to Rosetree Photography (Except Top 10 Group – non Rosetree pic)