Amber Chapman and Lisa Hollinshead are serial parent-preneurs and co-founders of One Click Childcare. With 25 years combined experience in public relations, recruitment and startups, the friends and business partners are passionate about making parenting easier. Amber and Lisa are also co-founders of ParentingSocial101, an online platform and directory for parents, and PAR-ENTrepreneurs, Sydney’s first pop-up creche facility designed for co-working spaces and events.
What was your inspiration behind One Click Childcare?
Through our pop-up creche, PAR-ENTrepreneurs, we would meet so many parents who asked (read: pleaded with!) us to set up permanently. Our customers were busy balancing home and work life, and so many of them wanted to be able to access a creche when they did their weekly shop, or even so they could get their nails done.
We’ve also worked with a lot with corporate partners like IAG and Google for Entrepreneurs who cover the cost of our pop-up creche for parents to be able to attend various events – and this got us thinking. Why don’t we get service-based businesses to do the same, as a loss leader to get customers into their business! That’s when One Click Childcare was born. We want to make parenting easier and create more affordable me-time moments for parents.
Looking back at your career, which job helped you get to where you are today, Amber?
It was my first job after university when I worked for an IT sales recruitment company in the UK. My manager was the most intense sales trainer; he’d make us literally memorise objection handling responses to ensure we never hesitated on calls.
Three weeks into the job, and I cold called the Sales Director of a major enterprise data management company. I miraculously managed to get through (must have been the training!), but I completely bombed the call. My manager heard the whole thing, and told me to call the client straight back and tell them I made a terrible call and to give it another go. After about 30 minutes of procrastinating, I did it. I got them to give me a job description for a role they were recruiting – and I ended up placing a candidate there! This taught me never to give in, be resilient and try, try, try again.
Where do you find inspiration, Lisa?
In so many facets of my life! I became a mum at the same time as many of my expat friends, and we were all in a very similar boat when it came to lack of care options since our families lived overseas. I constantly find inspiration from these incredibly hard-working, strong and generous women. And, even though we’re separated by thousands of kilometres now, my parents remain a great inspiration to me. They came from working class backgrounds and worked incredibly hard to live a comfortable life and gave me my entrepreneurial spirit – and for that I am eternally grateful. Finally, we are so thrilled to be surrounded by our fellow SheStarts 3 founders; we are constantly surprised and inspired by them every day!
Before you joined SheStarts, did you ever imagine you would be a tech startup founder?
Amber: It’s funny because I worked in the tech industry throughout my entire recruiting career, but it wasn’t until last year that I actually thought of becoming a tech startup founder myself. Believe it or not, it was actually during a SheStarts event! We had set up our pop-up creche at the event so parents could attend, and we watched this amazing and inspirational panel of women in tech talking about their journeys. Lisa and I said we want to be on that stage someday talking about a revolutionary idea that solves an important problem with tech. Now look at us, talk about the power of positivity!
Lisa: I’ve always wanted to succeed in tech. From a young age I was mesmerised by the internet and websites. I started a blog when I was 21, and grew it into an international platform with over 100,000 UV per month – despite knowing very (read VERY) limited code. I also got accepted onto a graduate UXE course at Billy Blue, which I deferred so I could complete the SheStarts program. I am a big believer in serendipity and am so happy that Amber and I got into the program to make our dreams a reality!
What has been the hardest lesson you have learned so far in the program?
To trust the program completely. Coming from a non-tech startup background, we entered a whole new world and definitely resisted at the beginning. Despite this, we stuck with the program and thank goodness we did! The validation sprint, whilst laborious and time consuming, protected us from building a product that ultimately would never have succeeded. Now, through iterating, we believe we have the right solution to make parenting easier.
Read more: Why this first-time founder embraced lean validation to fail fast and pivot quickly
What is your advice to women who have a bold idea for a start-up?
We’re both huge believers in ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’, along with the power of positivity.
“Reach for the moon, if you miss you’ll reach the stars. Nothing great ever comes from a comfort zone.”
When we saw the women on stage at the SheStarts Showcase a year ago, we dared to dream that we would one day be there. Through grit, sheer determination, and a belief in our abilities, little over a year later we found ourselves in the program!
Read more: Meet Suzy & Susan, serial entrepreneurs passionate about getting mums back into the workforce