“My main purpose and objective is making what is an essential service for the community accessible and affordable for everyone and those who have found it a real struggle, that’s something I feel good about”.
Chrissanthi Tsigolis is the epitome of a modern-day superwoman. She is married with children and successfully runs two childcare centres. And recently, she led the way in making Australia’s childcare centre’s afford for everyone, no matter their socio economic status.
GCT’s Despina Karpathiou sat down with Chrissanthi Tsigolis to chat about how she dropped her daily rates to assist Australian families through the difficult Covid period and help them balance their budgets.
Tell our GCT readers a little about yourself?
My name is Chrissanthi Tsigolis and I am married with 3 children. I am the founder of BLOOMBIRD Childcare Centres in Sydney, Australia.
By next year, all 3 of my kids will be in Highschool and my eldest will be doing her HSC, needless to say that between that and working my diary is pretty full but my life is quite balanced.
I have had a lot of support from my sister Karly who has been working for me since opening my first service in 2007, I have great educators as part of our team and get lots of encouragement from home.
Where are your parents from in Greece?
My mum was born in Kalymnos and my dad in Egypt with a Castelorizo background.
Both my parents came to Australia as toddlers, My Dad was raised in Surry Hills and Mum Bondi Junction.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have gone back to Greece many times during my childhood, teens and as an adult taking my 3 children with me also, they love it just as I did growing up.
What are your top 3 favourite Greek islands to visit and why?
When we are there we pick a different island we haven’t been to before and hope to cross many off the list, but I have a huge weakness and love for Kalymnos, Pserimos , Mykonos and Rhodes where my husband is from.
Talk us through your daily routine?
My daily routine is a good balance between motherhood and family life running my business (2 child care centres ) trying to stay fit and healthy grounding with my meditation and having a social life.
What are your hobbies?
I’d say my hobbies would be training and travelling pre Covid.
What made you drop your prices?
My decision to drop my prices by almost half the daily fee came from the effects the pandemic had on my business and my clients.
After the free childcare scheme ended many families reluctantly opted to keep their children home.
Job keeper stopped for my industry in June 2020, but my operating cost remained the same.
Occupancy rates plummeted to next to nothing as Many of my clients had either no job security, started working from home or were fearful of Covid and what was going to happen, it was a scary time.
We also had quite a few families who did not have permanent residency leave to go back home.
I was forced to look at the real possibility of either selling up, maybe even closing if things got worse. I’ve been in Early Childhood Education since leaving high school in 1995 and opened my first in 2007 it was all very daunting but I knew I was not alone, at the same time people were losing their homes, businesses, companies and livelihoods, we were all going through the pandemic together.
I sat and looked at my business model and recreated it by cutting cost.
This is not an uncommon thing for any business owner to do, only this time I’m passing it all on.
What makes your childcare centres different from others?
BLOOMBIRD Rosebery’s new fee is $88 and our smaller 26 place preschool in Rose Bay is $75.
In doing this I’ve created affordable childcare for families whilst still being able to cover operation costs.
Where do see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years I see myself still active in my business and hopefully working alongside one of my daughters who is born naturally at caring for children, I’d ideally love all 3 to be with me and make a family business out of it but their aspirations are far away from Early Childhood Education.
For more information on BLOOMBIRD Childcare Centres, click here.