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Little Masters and Misses - The Little Masters and Misses Story

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					                                    Little Masters and Misses


                                                              Once upon a time back in 1985 – the year of Live Aid and the
                                                              first EastEnders episode - I was seeking inspiration to name my
                                                              Croydon Nanny and Babysitting agency. I sat on a children’s
                                                              chair in Thornton Heath Children’s Library and eventually
                                                              noticed excited children making a beeline for the Mr Men books
                                                              and so thereafter Little Masters and Misses was born and
                                                              magically my rented bed-sitter became an office!
                                                              I had qualified as a NNEB Nursery Nurse in Tunbridge Wells in
                                                              1977. Even in 1979, I was keen to run a nanny agency and
                                                              viewed offices in Canterbury but I dreamed of travelling the
                                                              world so for 8 years before 1985 I loved working as a London
                                                              Nanny for an exclusive Knightsbridge agency and worked in
Canada, Turkey, France and Spain. 30 years on I remain in contact with my first nanny post children Anouska and Justin, both
of whom now employ nannies for their own children. From 1983 – 85 solely to save for my agency office equipment, insurance
and agency license I worked for a London agency as a nanny, evening babysitter and celebrity cleaner. Today my nanny and
Baby-sitting agency is trusted by hundreds of families living in SE London, Kent and Surrey. Do read a few of my highlights.

   In 1985 quite rightly before being Agency licensed, I was government interviewed and then inspected annually.
    Unfortunately this is not the case with today’s Nanny Agency owners and people with no childcare experience do set up a
    Nanny and Babysitting Agency. I take very seriously the responsibility of being a Nanny Agency owner which involves a
    great deal of admin behind the scenes but I can honestly quickly remind myself every day I enjoy a wonderful career
    satisfaction finding vulnerable children a lovely natured, professional nanny that I am proud to represent.

   1983-89 I personally ran the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club players’ children crèche. Glen Hoddle`s wife offered
    me a Nanny post in Monte Carlo but I could never give up my dream to own a nanny agency – I could have even been a wag!

   Since 1985 I have regularly been asked to write nanny industry editorial for various local and national childcare
    publications such as the Nursery World, Families and Futures Magazine, Croydon Advertiser and Bromley News shopper.

   In 1987 I bought a Croydon freehold shop and for 17 years until 2005 ran the Agency office from there.
   In 1987 I was recommended to Crystal Palace Football Club by THFC and helped to design, set up and staff, within
    Croydon council legislation, a Crèche in their Family Enclosure. I also ran Croydon Allders Shopper and wedding Crèches.
   In 1989 due to recession, unpaid corporate client bills and 15% interest rates I sadly resigned all crèche work, plus
    despite many meetings, had to decline designing and staffing the work place nurseries for Croydon Council Education dept,
    Mayday Hospital, Croydon College and Deen City Farm. I solely concentrated on saving my Nanny and Babysitting Agency.
   By 1992, I had through serious hard work expanded into Kent, Surrey and SE London and every year business expands.
    2010 I also have a huge advantage over the Internet, as over 350 nannies remain in agency contact as do over 500 clients.
   In 1995 alarmingly the Government abolished Nanny Agency Licensing. Every year thereon-new Agencies opened and
    would close within months. Many fail because they assume running a childcare agency is an easy and quick way to make a
    big profit, which over 25 years of business is certainly not my experience.
    In 2010 only an established agency run Monday to Friday can offer an efficient office service. Sadly today parents do
    risk advertising their children on the Internet to avoid up to £4000 in agency fees! If you are thinking about employing a
    nanny our maximum agency fee whether you employ a nanny for 1 or 5 days week is a set £300.

   1997 to 2007 A special mention and thank you must be given to Brian Goodwin of Business Link now sadly deceased
    and agency missed who listened, advised and supported me as I faced numerous `challenges `, as he calmly called them.
    1998 was a very busy year for the Agency with lots of new developments! Emma Pyott, a Marketing and PR
     Consultant who had used Little Masters and Misses to find a Nanny, joined us and piloted us to be the first agency to
     send clients and child carers newsletters with Agency and Nanny industry news. I was also the first Nanny Agency
     owner to approach the British Red Cross to request my own First Aid course. To date over 300 of my nannies and
     babysitters have been trained and I have interviewed over 500 nannies. Also in 1998 Jacqui Lait MP for Beckenham
     invited me to the House of Commons after I contacted her about my concerns about inadequate county police checks
     that were eventually reformed to the CRB. The Beckenham MP has been supportive to my business and in 2008 found her
     responsive to cross check with government our British Red Cross First Aid Course was within Ofsted requirements. 1998
     I was the first Nanny Agency owner to annually organise a summer Teddy Bear Picnic, Christmas Cake Party and Nanny
     Morning Childcare Talks by Doctors on Meningitis symptoms, British Red Cross First Aid and Croydon library.
    1999 I was the first agency to introduce and advise employers to pay nannies on an hourly rate basis as I noticed
     many nannies working a 11-hour day were being paid unfairly the same daily rate as a nanny working a 9/10 -hour day.
     We introduced free school raffle packs for our £50 Babysitting Service – 2010 if you are fund raising contact us!
    The 21st century and the year 2000 I was desperate to move home and business to Kent but could not sell my shop
     at a fair price. I had no choice but commence an 8-year stressful, tearful and awesome shop to 3 flat conversion design
     project within planning and building regulations where throughout for 8 years I faced issue after issue that impacted my
     business. I managed alone a huge team of builders whilst running the agency from a bedroom above the shop amidst
     months of dirt and constant drilling. 2003 somehow running the agency I had to find time to computerise my
     business which for me being used to a traditional typewriter was an overwhelming process. Sarah was made redundant
     after over 10 years much valued employ. 2004 the shop conversion was complete but then I had 18 months of stress
     trying to sell two very nice flats where several buyers’ days before signing unfairly tried to manipulate me to lower the
     sale price. No surprise with my luck the 3rd flat gained planning as a studio as it was one brick short of being deemed a
     flat selling £25,000 less than expected making the agency office move to Beckenham High Street more difficult for me.
    2005 July was actually 20 years to the month of setting up my nanny agency - Sadly I was exhausted and did not
     celebrate this milestone but in this year I was pleased to transfer business to Beckenham and launch my web site.
     2006 April homeless I finally moved out and stayed with wonderful friends the Barkers until I moved to where I am very
     happy my current Beckenham home and DSB Business Centre 30 Beckenham High Street office. Slowly my stress levels
     lowered as I could concentrate on myself and enjoy my business again. With Emma’s PR help together we achieved on the
     Nanny Industry editorial and partnerships with other childcare businesses including NCT, Monkey Music, Simply Childcare,
     Families South East, Futures childcare and nannysharers. I also donated £2 from each Nanny placement to the NSPCC.
    In June 2007 Lorraine and Kate joined. I began to get back in the habit delegating admin with an aim to improve services.
    In 2008 the Woodville freehold shop sale happened and marked the end of a 21-year shop owner era as recession loomed.
     2009 my sole aim was to survive to make 25 years of business whilst competing with the Internet - the 21st century
     equivalent of the sweet shop notice board – where some nanny employers risk advertising to avoid high agency fees.
                  Somehow I managed a personal life and today enjoy a 25-year Magic Circle connection as an ex
                  magicians assistant for 17 years to Hector the son of a famous bullet catch Victorian magician
        Chung Ling Soo but my main focus as I plan to franchise 2011 will always be the safety and happiness of children.
    Against many odds I am only just beginning to believe that Little Masters and Misses will have a well deserved
                                                    MAGIC HAPPY ENDING.

        I would like to dedicate this true story to my wonderful mother Rita Elliff who so deserves a mention
     Since 1985 my mum every week always offered me gentle words of business encouragement, advice and practical help. My mum with
          a smile amidst my tears always cheered me up bringing me her homemade chutney and favourite gypsy tart cake and would
         do office admin, paint in and outside of my shop and even drive from Broad stairs a large hire van with donated office furniture!
                   My mother Rita is an inspiration to women that alone aim to achieve big projects
               and a huge motivation influence to me and very much loved by her little girl Debbie x

				
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