Brella offers working (or just exhausted) parents an exciting new resource
Story By By Jessica Koslow | Photo by Brella
Everything is available on-demand these days. So why should childcare be any different? That’s the concept behind Brella,
a new childcare model launched in Playa Vista in November.
Say you and your friend are new mothers strolling with your babies down Runway. You’re both struggling with the huge, life-altering changes that come with this new stage of life. You’re desperate to connect and chat about your issues, and maybe leave with a few ideas and solutions. But your babies are crying. They need to be held, fed and changed. And all you want to do is stop, sit, breathe and hear your friend’s comforting voice.
That’s the beauty of Brella. Pop into the brightly colored open space at Runway (or better yet, check online on the app) to see if there’s room for two … toddlers. Leave your babies with qualified, credentialed care and score the quiet, uninterrupted time you need.
“We’re seeing how families use our service on demand,” says Melanie Wolff, who co-founded Brella with Darien Williams. “You can book 60 days in advance, but we’re seeing that half of the kids are booked the same day.”
It’s the third week of November, on a Thursday evening — Brella opened its doors just about two weeks ago — and Wolff and Williams are already seeing their vision become a reality. The two moms mentioned above — that scenario happened today.
“A lot of parents are going through first-time separation,” Williams says. “50% of the people who have come in have never been separated from their child before. They’re thinking about going back to work or working from home, and they’re more trusting with a licensed facility than a caregiver coming to their home. We have credentialed staff and accountability. This is a huge life transition moment. And the trust is already there. This was a conversation we had a lot: How do we establish trust?”
At Brella, you can book and pay by the hour for kids ages three months to six years. They’re open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. They’ll feed and diaper your child. And everything can be managed online through the app.
Employers are even purchasing blocks of hours for their workers.
Williams met Wolff three years ago on a blind friend date. Williams, an architect living in New York, brought up the idea of an on-demand childcare space with Wolff, a marketing executive.
The two working moms have been able to follow their passions (spaces and branded experiences) while aiming to solve a painful problem in their lives.
“We saw the massive gap that exists in offerings available to parents,” Wolff says.
“We’re two working moms who felt abandoned in a broken childcare system. We’re trying to liberate parents so they can work, pursue their dreams and do something good for their children.”
“We see the tension in the family when both parents work,” adds Williams. “Life is more fluid, and we’ve created a model that acknowledges that.”
At the front of Brella is a concierge, followed by a lounge with couches and tables where parents can work. (In addition to childcare, Brella also offers a co-working space, individual workstations and small conference rooms, all priced by the hour.)
The first room is a separation space with a play structure, where the parents drop kids off. This allows for less disruption to kids in the classrooms, which border the main room. There’s a creative playroom, art lab with a small attached outdoor space, a library and infant nursery. The kids are put into age-based classes with credentialed teachers in each room.
“There’s intention behind what’s in each classroom,” assures Williams.
Though Williams and Wolff live in Hollywood and Santa Monica respectively, they searched high and low for a location for Brella and landed in Playa Vista.
“This is a dense environment,” says Williams. “Childcare is synergistic with a grocery store, wellness shops, residential and office space. We can be a support system in the community, the heart of the community. Playa Vista is a tightknit community that’s accustomed to a village style of sharing resources.”
“Kids can walk by Brella, their place, all the time,” says Wolff, “It’s part of the fabric of their life.”
Brella is at 12746 W Jefferson Blvd., Ste. 3-3100, in Runway at Playa Vista. Visit hellobrella.com to learn more.