Britt Riley was six months into maternity leave with her first child when she noticed a startling trend: She kept getting emails from headhunters. Many of the offers were pretty tempting for the former marketing exec, because the positions were remote.
So Britt went to her boss and asked to work from home when her maternity leave was up. “He said, ‘Well, Britt, I have kids. I know that you’re not going to perform to your full potential for the next year, so you’re going to have to prove yourself before I give you any more money or flexible work.”
Moments after hanging up, she quit her job and accepted a position that allowed her to work from home full-time, at the same title and salary.
But the incident sparked a realization for the now mom of two. “I started losing sleep over the idea that the modern working world is not integrating work and life in a way that is at all helpful or positive for dual-income working families,” she says.
Her solution: the Haven Collection, a chain of licensed childcare centers that also offer shared and private workspaces, a gym and a wellness room, with the goal of “trying to keep people from wasting so much time and money traveling between 900 different places every single day.”
A spate of co-working spaces, including the Wing, have started offering childcare in recent years, but none so far have an onsite fitness and wellness center, like the Haven Collection promises.
“We’re shaking up the childcare model in a way that hasn’t been done before,” Britt explains. “It turns childcare into family care. What we want more than anything is to keep people in the workforce if they want to be in the workforce, and to keep parents healthy and happy.”
The first space opened in June in Middletown, RI, a suburb of Providence. Dubbed the Coggeshall Club in honor of the founding family of Rhode Island, the two-story club offers a host of perks to make life easier for working parents. Memberships start at $379 per month for 18 hours of childcare, gym use and office space use.
Downstairs, a Montessori-style, fully licensed center allows parents to book childcare in 2-hour blocks, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday (with some pop-up Saturdays available). And if they need to cancel, so long as they do it more than 24 hours in advance, they receive a full refund in the form of credit for future childcare or wellness services.
The soundproofed second floor offers private workspaces, as well as a conference room, printers and Wi-Fi.
The second-floor fitness area includes Peloton Spin bikes as well as streaming yoga and strength classes provided by Peloton. In the nearby wellness suite, parents can pay for massages, physical therapy, reflexology, reiki, life and career coaching and new and expecting parent support groups.
The Club also hosts monthly date nights from 5 to 8 p.m., allowing members to drop off their little ones and go enjoy a quick dinner. At once recent date night, for a drive-in movie theme, the kids crafted cars out of cardboard boxes and then watched the movie Cars.
There are currently 60 families using the space, and Britt, the founder, is raising money to open four more clubs next year in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, with a focus on suburban locations. Her ultimate goal is to open 100 clubs by 2025.
To that end, it certainly doesn’t hurt that Patagonia’s Head of Global Sales, John Collins, is on the Haven Collection’s board of directors. In fact, the outdoor clothing company, famous for its onsite childcare center and family-friendly ethos, was a big inspiration for Britt. It was the first place she worked after college.
She’s never forgotten how one of her coworkers, just back from maternity leave, would bring her 5-month-old daughter to visit every day, because the baby giggled uncontrollably when she saw Britt. “Everyone would start the day off with this hysterical baby laughter,” she recalls.
She hopes the Haven Collection will offer parents the same opportunity to blend work, life and parenting in a way that feeds their soul.
“We want to improve the long-term mental health of parents in order to improve the long-term mental health of their kids.”