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Meet Hope Oriabure Hunter of Black-Tie Babysitting in Irving

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hope Oriabure Hunter.

Hope, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My sister was getting married in 2009 and wanted an adult only reception. I was pregnant with my fourth child at the time of her engagement. I explained to her how difficult it was for parent guests not to be able to attend weddings without their children. So, she challenged me to come up with a solution. I hired my then part-time nanny and a few of her friends to watch the kids in a separate room. I packed my children’s toys, a slower cooker of hot dogs and made a sign-in sheet.

It was a win-win for everyone involved. My sister got her adult-only reception and the families got to attend the event together. At the end of the evening, the parents started asking the name of the company that provided babysitting. I immediately claimed it as my business. I didn’t have a name for the business, a plan or a card, but it was mine. I told the parents to write down their email addresses and I would forward them some information in the coming weeks. I had some talented friends create my first logo and help me build my first website quickly.

However, it took three years until I really started running the business like a business and not a hobby. Today, Black-Tie is in 4 states including Texas, Washing D.C., Maryland and Virginia. We have served 3,000 plus kids to date at over 200 events. We have stretched beyond weddings to provide services for business & networking meetings and most recently an exclusive package for event & wedding industry professionals who need care at home for their kids on event days.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?

As a unique service, the road wasn’t smooth as there weren’t many businesses like Black-Tie around the country. I had to figure out what made sense along the way and set standards of our own.

For example, we had no real pricing model at first and just used the same pricing for kids at a drop-in daycare. This was not a good fit and we were priced too low. Then we had to get buy-in from planners, venues and hotels. We had to prove that not only we could control children guests but curate an experience that was unique to them like the adults.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Black-Tie Babysitting, provides onsite professional event sitting at events & weddings. We love serving families at our events so they can attend together. We are fierce UNO players and hope to teach every child who doesn’t know how to play. We go beyond the obvious (kid’s table) to create an experience. We believe we have the wonderful opportunity to create memories with and for our children guests.

What were you like growing up?
I was a very shy child and often played alone. However, I had a strong sense of family and knew I belonged to them. This is why I believe every family should be celebrated. I loved playing with Barbie. I am very particular about the toys we select for our children guests. We have classic board games but also like playing P.E. games from my childhood. Typically, the kids have never heard of them and it’s so fun to see them enjoying something outside of technology.

Contact Info:

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Sponsor Shoutout:
Laine McCandless of DFW Kid’s Directory is hosting a Summer Camp & Activities Expo on February 22nd and 29th. There will be over 40 vendors at the event, parents can meet one on one and get information about so many amazing camps all in one spot. It’s an extraordinary event and one that makes us very proud of our city. Tickets are free. Info and RSVP here: Dallas & Frisco

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