It was an English teaching assignment in China that sparked a business idea in Brienna Remes. She saw the benefits of the early education system in the country and wanted to incorporate the best elements into a childcare centre back home. When she returned to Kelowna she opened Building Blocks, a daycare with a focus on early childhood education.
One of her first students was the daughter of Laura von Krosigk, another local mom who was running an advertising agency in Kelowna. Sharing the same vision of providing exceptional day care to children, they decided to combine their skill sets to expand Building Blocks into a premium childcare facility.
What began as a small daycare in Kelowna has gradually become a premium childcare and development facility for children from birth to 12 years. The program is designed to prepare children socially and intellectually for elementary school and their academic life.
Building Blocks provides quality care, education, nutrition and socialization for students in a safe, secure and nurturing environment. Nutritious meals and snacks are prepared daily by an in-house chef.
Q. What services has Women’s Enterprise Centre provided you and how have these services helped you?
A. Women’s Enterprise Centre was essential to the opening of our business. They provided our original start-up loan. Without their support, it would be very difficult for services like ours to get off the ground.
Q. What inspired you to take the leap and start your own business?
A. Brienna – I knew in my early twenties that I wanted to provide value-added quality care to young children. It was just something I knew I would do.
A. Laura – I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and build a sustainable business. I also saw the benefits of the program for my daughter. It was a perfect fit.
Q. What’s the biggest lesson you learned when starting your business?
A. Brienna – It is important to believe in yourself. If you are confident in what you are doing and stay true to that, things will work out. It may not be exactly the way you thought they would, but they work out.
Q. What are your goals for the business?
A. Laura – We are very fortunate to have an ever-growing waitlist. One of our strong points is being locally owned and operated. Our goal is to grow moderately while staying true to our vision. We will continue to earn the trust our families place in us every day and to be a supportive, fulfilling and desirable work environment for our faculty.
Q. What is your greatest strength as an entrepreneur?
A. Brienna – My greatest strength is determination. As an entrepreneur I’ve also learned to focus on my strengths and evaluate opportunities as opposed to going full steam ahead all the time.
Q. What personal lessons have you learned as an entrepreneur?
A. Laura – I have learned to let go and trust in what we’ve built. We have such a great team at Building Blocks that it is important to delegate. I have also learned to not be afraid of the tough decisions. I have realized the importance of work-life balance. It is not always easy, but we must take the time to be connected with other areas of our lives in order to succeed as entrepreneurs.