Tatyana Amaryan and Victoria Boeva are not only friends and business partners, but also mothers - four charming daughters for two. It was the appearance of the younger ones, Margarita and Emilia, that radically changed their lives and helped them find their dream job. Tatiana and Victoria decided to open their own children's club - one that would be interesting for their own daughters to go to, and not simple, but English - by the way, the first in our country to receive the right to work under the preschool education program of Harvard University.
Marie Claire: Please tell us how and when it all started: where did the idea for a joint project come from?
Tatyana Amaryan: We have a very interesting story of acquaintance. Our husbands have known each other for a long time, but have never been close friends. In 2010, when our youngest daughter Emilia was born, the husband suddenly decided to call Vicki's husband and talk about this wonderful event. It turned out that their second daughter was also due to be born in a week …
Victoria Boeva:And also - that we live in the same house, our husbands are of the same nationality, my wedding day is September 15, and Tatiana's is September 14. And there are a lot of such incredible coincidences. We have common interests, our children are friends, we often travel together and have become almost inseparable - all the more so now that we are doing one thing, getting great pleasure from it every day. At first, we just thought about a joint business, because, having already two children, we didn't really want to return to the office rhythm …
And why a kids club, and not a beauty salon, for example?
Tatyana: At that moment, our youngest children were six months old. A variety of scenarios were considered, including the option with a beauty salon. But we were looking for something that would give us the opportunity to balance, devote enough time to work and family - now we ourselves can plan our schedules. Moreover, our youngest daughters study in our kindergarten, so we are always with them, and the elders go to Discovery English Preschool for additional classes after school.
Victoria: Actually, it was something like: "Let's open a kids club?" - "Lets do it!" Together we make decisions very quickly and easily. We didn't have any experience in this area, so we acquired a franchise from a popular chain. We rented a large room on Barrikadnaya, and it started.
Five and a half years ago, when you opened your first kids club, what was the picture in this niche? What are the obvious disadvantages of private gardens in Moscow?
Tatyana: Then this market segment was almost not mastered, there were several gardens with an English bias - but with overpriced tuition fees there, while the demand for them was very high. Parents, having no alternative, were ready to pay any money, as long as their baby learns the language. But now the situation has changed, and clients have begun to understand this issue more deeply. Indeed, in addition to the fact that a native speaker will deal with the child, it is also important - in what atmosphere, according to what program, in what conditions of stay, etc. We tested our project on our own children, we wanted to create a kindergarten that would meet the highest standards - an intellectual space where our pupils could develop in an English-speaking environment.
You are the only ones in Russia who started working on the Harvard University's International Preschool Curriculum program. Why did you choose it, and how popular was the program?
Victoria: Starting a business, we were looking for a universal method with a very detailed schedule. But after some time we realized that it does not fully meet the demands of our clients, which are quite high. Two years ago, we prescribed our program for four years - with transparent and detailed reporting by teachers and a clear plan for each day. That is, any parent can immediately see what their child has learned today, what he excelled at, what disciplines he will take in a month, six months, two years, etc. We reserved the copyright and adapted this program to obtain an educational license.
Tatyana: Now we already have two clubs in Moscow, two more have acquired our franchise and are working on it. With three we are at the stage of negotiations, and in the near future we plan to enter the regions. We are now teaching teachers according to our own program. Putting together a good team is the key to success, and at the same time the most difficult task. To find one, you need to meet with 30-40 candidates. In addition to knowledge of the language and teacher education, it is important that the person is very positive and “charged” to work with children. Mostly young specialists work for us - their eyes shine, and they want to change our future.
Besides English, what other bands are there in Discovery now?
Victoria: The main focus is on staying in a group with a native speaker; we also offer a combined Russian-English program. At the same time, we have a large number of evening activities, such as robotics (creating robots from constructors), mental arithmetic, music lessons, drawing, etc. We also have a professional grandmaster in our team.
At the age of three, children of today use smartphones and tablets to their fullest, but there are many supporters of limiting them in every possible way from communicating with gadgets - so that children communicate more with their peers in real life. Do you agree with this position
Tatiana: Partly, of course. We use electronic boards, and some parents had requests to use tablets in teaching, since now there are a lot of great educational programs, but we deliberately refused this - outside the garden, children, as you said, spend so much time with them … In our family, for example, the use of tablets and phones is minimized - no more than 20 minutes a day. Our children like to play ordinary board games - when there are two sisters and they have a little difference, they always have something to do
Victoria: We also try to give children a phone for a maximum of an hour a day. The eldest daughter, she is 12 years old, mainly uses it for communication on social networks, and the youngest one is six, and she enjoys developing creative blogs on how to make various crafts at home.
Every year more and more private children's clubs open, including those with a language bias. How do you manage to survive among competitors, what is your secret?
Tatyana:Now it's getting harder and harder to come up with something new, but without it you won't hit the market. There should be an idea, a belief that everything will work out, and consumer demand should be studied as much as possible. You need to understand what people want, how to make their life better and more comfortable, and offer them this. And yet - to do it the best. It took us five years to fully debug business processes, arrive at an optimal financial model, register a franchise and sell it. At the same time, we try to maintain a very high level of qualifications of teachers, conduct training seminars for the entire team, and update methodological manuals. We are currently working on our own book on intuitive language learning at an early age - when a child learns to understand English in a natural environment, he perceives learning as an exciting game and progresses rapidly. Our goal is to help children learn to think in English, to feel a foreign language like a native language, "absorbing" its rules on an intuitive level. We also pay special attention to food and safety - video surveillance and security, in addition to this, our specialists take Red Cross first aid courses, and each pupil has an insurance policy. We also maintain a very high level of service, our priority is an individual approach to each child and a quick response to all parental requests. Therefore, we can safely say that we know everything about our clients.and each pupil has an insurance policy. We also maintain a very high level of service, our priority is an individual approach to each child and a quick response to all parental requests. Therefore, we can safely say that we know everything about our clients.and each pupil has an insurance policy. We also maintain a very high level of service, our priority is an individual approach to each child and a quick response to all parental requests. Therefore, we can safely say that we know everything about our clients.
Victoria: The startup demanded that we fully mobilize. To keep the bar, you need a high degree of organization, consistency, diligence, sociability, responsibility in decision-making. Starting something new is always stressful. When you work in a corporate structure, you risk only your place of work, and having your own business, you are responsible for virtually everything and risk everything, from investments to relations with government agencies. Of course, it is important to love what you are doing, but at the same time you need to have great knowledge in this area, not to be afraid to make a mistake, believe in yourself and go only forward.
How do you distribute areas of responsibility among yourself? Share your life hacks for successful coworking work?
Tatiana: With a partner, you need to negotiate everything on the shore and share the functionality right away. If two financiers want to organize a children's business, they are unlikely to succeed. Rather, polar people who fully trust each other are more likely to work together. We are very lucky, each is responsible for their favorite part. Victoria graduated from the Academy. G. V. Plekhanov with a degree in Finance and Credit, so she is completely immersed in the “systematic nature” of our business - finance and budgeting. I am a marketer by education - I also have a diploma from the Plekhanov Academy, and in our business I am responsible for promotion, advertising and the methodological part. At the same time, I have mastered a new profession for myself - a room designer (having studied all the norms and requirements of the SES), and also I am engaged in the manufacture of all advertising layouts of our network.
How do you spend your free time? Where are you looking for inspiration?
Victoria: As we said, we have many common interests. First of all, of course, travel. We love Rome and New York very much. We also often host family events and various themed parties. We graduated from sommelier school together, now we periodically go on wine tours. We also love to cook and dream of going on a gastronomic tour to Italy or France. By the way, all our clients are very interesting, they always inspire us to new ideas and achievements.
What are you dreaming about?
Tatiana: Globally - together with our team we want to change the world! Since we see the results: our pupils are completely different from their peers, they see no boundaries in communication, they are absolutely free and creative, they easily adapt in any conditions and successfully continue to study in foreign schools both in Russia and in the West. And in the next few years, we want to turn into a small family network and continue to work for those who share our values and want their children to develop comprehensively and qualitatively.
Photo: archives of press services
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