Late night was never so easy
By Kendra Walker
“You saved my life.” “You saved my weekend.” Nowadays, CB Babysitters co-founders Laura Gutierrez and Katie Lawn hear comments like these often.
Since 2015, CB Babysitters has been fulfilling sitter requests from locals and visiting families in need of childcare. The service works as an “Uber” of sorts for babysitting requests, where parents can reach out with their sitting needs—dates, times, number of kids, location, etc.—and CB Babysitters connects them with an available sitter.
“When clients are desperate, and if they’re not from here, they’re not familiar, our role is to help,” said Gutierrez. “For me, it’s a great satisfaction when parents are able to find something reliable where they can go out and their kids are safe.”
The idea originally spurred from Gutierrez’s husband, Anthony Perez, who worked as the concierge at the Grand Lodge in 2007. Families started requesting babysitting services, so he would go down a list of local sitters he put together until someone was available. Gutierrez, who moved here from Venezuela in 2014, took over a year later to coordinate everything. That’s when the referral service transformed into its own co-op group of local sitters promoting each other.
Lawn started babysitting through the co-op in 2017 and soon joined Gutierrez to help coordinate requests. The two have managed the service as a co-founding team ever since.
According to them, at least 65 percent of the families are repeat clients from season to season. The rest of the requests they receive are typically from visiting families coming to town for one-time events such as vacations and weddings. “One of the most satisfying things is when we can fulfill a last-minute request so the parents can go out to dinner for a few hours, or go mountain biking for the day or ski without the kids,” said Lawn.
Gutierrez and Lawn take pride in their reliable fleet of background-checked, local sitters, and stress that a CB Babysitter “is not a person who will just sit and watch TV with the kids all night.”
“We make it fun for the kids because they are also on vacation,” said Gutierrez. “Parents often feel guilty because they’re going out to have fun but their kids are going to have just as much, if not more, fun.” Lawn added, “Parents love us because our sitters have a local perspective of the town, we know what to do here, we know local events taking place here. We connect families with the town and community.”
Denver-based Greg Carlin and his wife found CB Babysitters last summer for their baby, who was three months old at the time. “I think it’s really convenient for people like us who have kids, especially young kids who aren’t old enough to go out and hike or ski, and we’re able to bring them on the trip but also do all the great things that Crested Butte has to offer,” Greg said. “And have someone we trust to leave with the baby and go and get a real vacation for a few hours” he added. “
During that first winter in 2015, Gutierrez received 80 sitter requests. Fast-forward to this most recent winter season—236 requests. Last summer, CB Babysitters received 288 requests and anticipate even more this summer.
Because of the steady growth and popularity of the service over the years, Gutierrez and Lawn realized they had an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment within the community and turn the co-op into a limited liability company, or LLC. They conducted market comparisons with other Colorado ski towns, including Telluride, Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge, and talked with other similar babysitting services. Based on input from these communities and repeat clients, they realized they could make some adjustments that would better align with their goals and help them become more competitive with other ski towns.
“My biggest motivation was all this change from the small Crested Butte Mountain Resort family into Vail Resorts,” said Gutierrez. “We still want to keep it local instead of getting drowned by some big corporate sitting service taking over from the outside.”
Changes they have made this summer include the formation of the LLC, a new website, higher competitive rates and higher wages for their sitters. “Being an LLC, we are growing and there are added expenses—taxes, marketing, hiring an attorney to help us with liability,” said Lawn. Gutierrez also noted their desire to be part of the chamber of commerce and participate in town events like the farmers market, where entry/membership fees will be much more feasible as an LLC.
The new website, cbbabysitters.com, is designed to be more efficient and user-friendly and includes an online request form for families. “We try to make the whole process as quick and easy for parents as possible so it’s one less stress, one less thing they’re doing while they’re planning their vacation,” said Lawn.
Gutierrez and Lawn also expressed how helpful the community has been—hotel services, event planners and businesses—in recommending CB Babysitters to their customers. In return, CB Babysitters makes recommendations to their clients and steers families toward specialized services available in the community, such as CBMR ski lessons, CB Devo mountain biking and Rocky Mountain Biological Lab activities, to name a few.
“We have a goal to work with other local companies and non-profits to help each other and spread the word about what draws families here,” said Lawn.
“We want to support our other local businesses and not step over them,” added Gutierrez. “I’m vey proud of the small town we have and this community, and I want to show families the best and how beautiful the community is. It’s kind of like being an ambassador for our town.”
To learn more about CB Babysitters or to request a sitter, visit cbbabysitters.com.