The Rigolo Comme La Vie crèche network is beginning a new stage in its development. On 12 February 2020, it opened its first mini-crèche in Remaucourt (Aisne) based on a franchise model. Here we interview its manager Laurence Six.
How did the idea come about to open a Rigolo Comme La Vie franchised crèche?
To begin with, I just had the idea of opening a crèche in a nice area I knew well as a weekend destination. But such is life that I found myself wanting to start a full-blown business. So I created “Nous Grandissons Ensemble” to set up the project with Rigolo Comme La Vie.
How did it take shape in real terms?
I knew the area, its people and their habits very well, which is essential when you’re setting up a crèche in a rural location. It helped me gauge the relevance of the project.
Then, I met with lots of different people. A crèche is really a physical manifest of the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”! First, you need to put the financing in place. I managed to get a subsidy from CAF because the project was in a rural area. Even though the crèche was independent of the local authority, I took the time to meet with staff from its maternal and child protection unit. A project like this is built on trust, so it’s important to garner it.
A crèche is really a physical manifest of the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”!
And what about the families?
Word of mouth is invaluable. We already have children from 12 families and I am optimistic of reaching 20 when the schools go back. It takes time to build trust and for local people to see this new offering as part of their life plan.
Has it been easy to recruit staff?
I admit I was worried that this would be problematic. But I’ve had a pleasant surprise and received some high-quality applications.
What does Rigolo Comme La Vie bring to the project?
It makes all the difference! As soon as I start talking about Rigolo Comme La Vie—its values, educational philosophy, mission and managerial culture—people look at it differently. When I explain that we’re not just here to look after the children but to support their development with the parents and create social ties, I get a very enthusiastic reaction. And this applies to the job applicants as well as the families!
What does it feel like to be “on the other side”?
Changing sides has helped me appreciate the strength of our offering. For example, I’ve realized the potential of our back office for managing my staff, creating training paths and drawing on collective knowledge. If I had had to do all that from scratch, it would have taken much longer. I can benefit from my knowledge of the local area AND the combined strength of the Rigolo Comme La Vie network with its years of experience.
I am keen to expand! And I have already been asked to open other crèches; I have a visit from a local authority group coming up very soon. Now the crèche is up and running, it’s even easier to persuade them of its merits!
At the same time I am working on a franchise model for Rigolo Comme La Vie, which is also in contact with other partners… overseas!
More information about the Remaucourt mini-crèche
More informations? https://www.rigolocommelavie.org/