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Around Faustine’s desk on the Rive Gauche: an interview with Kamara Mariam of child-minding agency Pikaboonanny
This is the next in the series by our office manager Faustine Cressot, giving you regular glimpses of the neighborhood around her desk on the rue de Verneuil: an interview with Kamara Mariam, founder of upmarket child-minding agency Pikaboonanny.
No.103 rue de Grenelle in the 7th arrondissement (district) is a magnificent, recently renovated complex of buildings that once housed the first telegraph network in the 19th century. I went there to meet Kamara Mariam, founder of upmarket child-minding agency Pikaboonanny.
Hello, Kamara. Can you tell me how Pikaboonanny started?
I was a lawyer specializing in commercial law, and I had the idea of creating Pikaboonanny during an exchange year in New York. In order to finance my studies, I posted adverts at the Lycée Français (French high school) there. Within a short time, a lot of families were employing me as a bilingual nanny or as a language teacher.
After a brief period in mergers and acquisitions, I decided to create Pikaboonanny on my return to France in 2012.
What services does your agency offer?
Pikaboonanny is an upscale agency, offering the services of nannies, au pairs and language teachers for tailor-made and bilingual courses. The latter go to French families to teach the children their native language.
Most of our girls come from prestigious French schools and we check their CV and their references and make sure they don’t have a criminal record. If we have the slightest doubt, we require them to have an interview with a psychologist.
People who want to use our services can contact us via our website and request a quote. We also provide a 24/7 telephone service, so people with an urgent need can contact us immediately.
Who are your clients? Where do they come from?
Our clientele is wealthy, since hiring an English or a Chinese nanny is more expensive than hiring a French one. But that’s mostly people who live in this neighborhood, which is where the government ministries and embassies are located.
Most of our clients live in France, in London and in the U.S., but we are opening a branch in Canada, “French Nannies”, so that we can send young French women to teach their language to Anglophone Canadian children.
Why did you choose this neighborhood?
I grew up in Africa, France and the States. But it was love that brought me to this neighborhood of Paris, since my partner already lived here, and then I realized that it was the ideal place for my business. It’s a tranquil neighborhood but it’s also dynamic and the people who live here are really nice.