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Durham moms build co-working, childcare space

Posted August 16, 2015

As Tiffany Frye headed back to work after the birth of her child, she had a particular childcare arrangement in mind: A co-working space that offered care for her daughter.

Frye, a Durham mom and writer, wanted to work alongside other freelance and work-from-home professionals for the networking and camaraderie, two benefits of co-working spaces. She also wanted her baby close. But, after a search across the Triangle, she found nothing that fit her needs. In fact, she found few around the country.

So Frye decided to start her own, posting on a Facebook group that she was interested in launching a co-working space in her Durham home where parents could work and trade off childcare duties. Lis Tyroler, a photographer and mom of one, was on board from the start.

"My immediate reaction was if something like this existed when I was in grad school, I would have finished," Tyroler tells me.

Frye's home-based co-working and childcare space grew to include a close knit group of parents and kids. But Frye knew it could stay in her small home forever. After a lot of research, Frye, along with Tyroler, who became an integral part of the group, founded Nido in the spring.

The business, off Broad Street in Durham, offers a co-working space for parents and childcare for kids, led by a long-time Montessori teacher, in the same building.

The warm, inviting and well-designed space includes all of the expected trappings of an office - a break room with coffee, a conference room, long tables for working and even a craft room for work-from-home artists and crafters.

Just a door separates the office from the childcare area. Here, there's room for kids - from babies to preschoolers - to play, learn, eat and nap. A special spot is set aside for nursing moms.

In other words, there's room for parents to be engaged in their meaningful work and for the kids to focus on their own work - growing, playing and learning, as well, Frye said.

"We wanted it to be really bright and energetic," Frye said. "We wanted it to be a lovely space for our members to come."

The space isn't necessarily designed for hard-charging entrepreneurs focused on 100-hour work weeks - at least they can't work 100 hours a week at Nido. Parents can sign up for as many two to five half-days each week. It's open Monday through Saturday and also includes a drop-in option.

As part of the arrangement, parents must sign up to volunteer at Nido. They can take advantage of Nido events and programs for both the adults and the kids. Nido also offers events to the general public.

Nido isn't just about working and childcare, Frye and Tyroler tell me. It's about building a village for families where they can find support, advice and friends.

"It's really important for us to be a community," Tyroler said.

For Frye and Tyroler, Nido has taken over their professional lives. Tyroler takes care of the operations. Frye focuses on outreach and marketing. They both play with babies every chance they get. And they're own kids have become fast friends. Frye expects Nido will reach capacity by the spring.

The two have visions of building something bigger, beyond their home on Broad Street - perhaps opening up other locations or consulting with others interested in opening a similar business. For now, they're just working to make sure Nido's model is right and enjoying the community they've built.

"We really feel passionate about this," Tyroler said. "Right now, we want to make sure this works well. I think we are definitely on the path."

Nido's website has more information about membership and offerings.

Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.

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