When you’re little, and you need to know why the sky is blue, or how to reattach Barbie’s head, you ask your mom. But when you’re grown up, and have kids of your own, sometimes you still don’t have all the answers. So two NYC moms have turned their encyclopedic knowledge and can-do attitude into a business, Momcierge.
Hilary Valentine (left) and Alyssa Sadoff.
The Tribeca moms, Alyssa Sadoff and Hilary Valentine, met when their daughters were in preschool. They were the moms who volunteered to work on events at the school, and they realized that they had similar sensibilities. They also shared the uncanny ability to amass tons of relevant information; both were the “go to” friends who doled out free advice on where to throw a birthday party, find a summer camp, or shop for shoes. One of their free “clients” who frequently asked for help suggested they start a business, and both agreed.
Sadoff, who has a 4-year-old son, Elliot, and 9-year-old daughter, Annabelle, is a librarian who worked in children’s book publishing; Valentine, who describes herself as an “obsessive Internet searcher”, was a chef and a flight attendant. Valentine has a 5-year-old son, Brooks, and a 7-year-old daughter, Ellie.
Momcierge has two different services: a yearly membership ($150), or a la carte, where they charge an hourly rate of $50. And the service is not limited to family needs. If you are a member, you can get help with pet sitting, weekend getaways, personal trainers, restaurant recommendations, and where to find a tailor. If you just have one specific need, the moms offer services such as checking on an apartment while you are away, preparing for a new baby, or waiting for a repairman. The two have handled such diverse requests as styling an office, finding water shoes in November, and crating a prototype of a bar mitzvah centerpiece for a boy who wanted to make his own decorations. Sadoff says she enjoys solving problems in a wide-ranging arena.
We put Momcierge to the test, asking what to do if you have a 3-year-old, and a 14-year-old nephew comes to town. They made the inspired suggestion of going to the Transit Museum in Brooklyn, followed by the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and then a water taxi back to the city. Other ideas included learning how to make dim sum at Sun Dou Dumpling Shop in Chinatown, followed by bowling at Chelsea Piers — where, Sadoff notes, there are “these great ‘ramps’ that make it super-easy for a 3-year-old to bowl successfully” and where the teenager can visit the newly reopened arcade.
For a new mom of twins in Gramercy Park, Momcierge recommended the new parents’ drop-in center at the 14th Street Sol Goldman Y and the Manhattan Mothers of Twins Club.
Finally, for mothers who are at a loss for where to shop with for tween girls, Momcierge suggests H&M, Old Navy, Tribeca Girls, and Macy's. More expensive boutiques like Z Baby, Lester's and Space Kiddets were cited for their great sales.
“The beauty of this business is that a lot of the work is done online, while the kids are doing their homework, at night when they are sleeping, or before school in the morning,” Sadoff says. This flexibility allows the moms to work, but still be there for their kids after school. And to be up on the best the city has to offer their own families.
For more info: www.momcierge.com.