Ask Brie 123 helps families thrive
West Linn resident Brie Winfield remembers her first babysitting job.
"I was 10-years-old," she said. "The children were seven and four and I was paid $70 to have a playdate with them."
The money wasn't of interest to Winfield; she enjoyed interacting with the children. And the families enjoyed Brie; she took every child development class offered at West Linn High and by the time she graduated her client list totaled more than 200 families.
Following graduation she enrolled at Portland State University, but found that was not a good fit. She longed to be back with children, so she signed up as a temporary nanny with NorthWest Nannies in Portland, a business known for its high quality matches between professional childcare providers and families.
"NorthWest Nannies changed my life," she said. For the next seven years Winfield focused on helping families thrive. She served as a nanny for hundreds of families on both coasts and internationally, traveling with families to more than 30 countries. She nannied for the children of actor Daniel Baldwin, Olympic gold medalist Mohamed Farah of Great Britain and many more celebrities, and to the grandchildren of Lake Oswego author Nancy Bush, earning her the title of International Celebrity Nanny. She gained extensive experience in childcare and development, as well as household management, and families increasingly relied on her to provide services outside of childcare which they didn't have time for, or lacked experience in completing.
Winfield graduated from Nyack College in New York, double majoring in business and intercultural studies. All this leads to the launch of Ask Brie 123, which combines her expertise in childcare, love of international travel and culture, and expert household management skills into one career. She refers to herself as "an executive assistant to everyday parents, frugal wholesale buyer and one-stop shop for families."
"I help with all things family-related," she said. "I'm not a psychologist, but I have worked with families through just about everything you might imagine. I've helped families work through going from being a one- to a two-child family. I had the talk about the birds and the bees on Monday, and then talked to kids about divorce on Tuesday. I've traveled with families, helped them on flights — both coaching them on what to expect, and physically going with them."
She wants every parent to feel empowered, and to lift from them the burdens that keep them from being the best parent they can be. There are no surprises in Winfield's world: There are few things she hasn't encountered, and the rest she faces with tenacity and courage.
"Surrogate dads and corporate moms have unique needs," she said. "We're working through those situations together."
Today, four years out of college, her client list has reached 20,000 families, and through Ask Brie 123 she aims to help even more.
For a $35 fee, clients can have a personal one-on-one chat with Winfield about their situation plus two hours of follow-up care. Modern technology (Facetime, Skype) makes it easy to converse with clients regardless of where they are located.
"You'll find tips for taking a Self-Care Saturday," she said. "Everybody needs to take a break for themselves. Do your nails or take a bath."