Alum Spotlight: Francie Ruppert
Francie Ruppert ‘15 is a SUA alum who started a babysitting company while at SUA! With all the homework and studying required of SUA students, I wondered how it was even possible to balance school and a business! So, I asked Francie some questions to see how she accomplished such an amazing feat.
How and when did you get the idea for SaferSit?
I started the idea when I was a sophomore at Saint Ursula in 2013. The idea came from always saying yes to one family to babysit, but declining a couple others who asked for the same date. I realized that my friends were all looking for more babysitting jobs and would love to take the jobs that I had to decline. Therefore, I created the original company which I called Babysitters R Us. I hung up signs all over Cincinnati and even went door to door in a couple neighborhoods introducing myself and my idea. The clients picked up and by the end of the first year I had over 40 SUA students babysitting for me and over 200 Cincinnati families using my service. My original babysitting company became SaferSit when I joined my business partner Laura Borksy in 2016. Laura was integral to the success of SaferSit and we worked great together! She was a mom who used my service when I started in high school and thought it was a great idea so we partnered together to create what is now SaferSit. We ran SaferSit together for 6 years!
What was it like running this type of business when you were in school?
It was unique because I was managing my peers which is not easy as a 16 year old. It taught me so much about responsibility, managing priorities, and even tough love. I had to “fire” a couple of my good friends for not upholding the standards I wanted in my business – not fun at any age, but especially not great when you are 16! I learned so much about prioritization and customer service – both skills that have served me 10x over in the “real world”
What does Safer Sit look like today?
Laura and I sold SaferSit to Amber Davidson who was a long time manager of SaferSit.
Where did you go to college? What did you major in?
University of Cincinnati in the Lindner Honors PLUS program. I majored in Entrepreneurship and have a Masters in Marketing.
What are you doing today? Are you still involved with SaferSit?
I work in Marketing at McDonald’s Corporation, living in Chicago for the past three years. Since selling, Laura and I do not have responsibilities with SaferSit anymore but we are cheering on Amber as she grows the business!! The website is live at www.safersit.com.
What advice do you have for girls who want to start a small company of their own like you did?
GO for it! Taking risks and putting yourself out there is what life's all about! Worst thing that can happen is it doesn’t work, and you learned something so you can start your next business! Failing is just learning!! SaferSit was super challenging, but so worth it, because running a business teaches you important life skills that will serve you long past your business. Ask questions, find mentors, find people who will champion you and your ideas.