Karen Beninati and WeVillage Bring Simple Childcare to Los Angeles
byRachel WarrickAug 24, 2017
Flexible and affordable childcare with top-notch caregivers
and facilities are every parent’s dream. Karen Beninati, mother to a
15-year-old son, has finally figured out how to make those dreams a reality
with WeVillage, a childcare solution founded on a commitment to provide
exceptional flexible childcare within beautifully designed locations, along
with state-of-the-art programs and activities.
What sets WeVillage apart from other childcare options is
their flexible scheduling and the elimination of complicated long-term
contracts. Offering childcare options anywhere from just a few hours of care to
preschool, WeVillage is certainly breaking the traditional childcare structure.
“Disrupting the norm would be an understatement—we are a
fully flexible, licensed childcare facility with modern and beautifully designed
facilities and an innovative play-based curriculum. From infant care to
preschool, after-school programs and homework help; from school break day camps
to organic meals and French lessons, your child will thrive on every level,”
WeVillage has several locations in Oregon and opened their
first California location in Sherman Oaks last year. Beninati sits down with
Mom.me to discuss how she balances he family time with her growing business.
Describe the moment when you were inspired to
As a busy producer in the entertainment industry, I
was always on the move. This meant I had to find a conducive environment to put
my son in where he would be taken care of while I was busy. I researched and
looked into dozens of places but couldn't find a place where I really felt
comfortable leaving him. I had a nanny at the time but she left
without notice, leaving me desperate for childcare for my son. That's when I
saw the gap in the childcare industry for busy professionals like me, who wanted
flexibility and quality care without the burden of a strict commitment.
What sets WeVillage apart from other childcare
facilities and services?
Flexibility and quality childcare is at the
core of who we are at WeVillage and that's what really sets us apart. WeVillage
provides quality childcare with flexible drop off options (great for date
nights, unexpected meetings, and weekends), no contracts, a state-of-the-art facility, high-standard education and affordable price options!
As a mother as well as the founder and owner
of WeVillage, how do you make it all work?
I wish I could say it all works all the time, but it
doesn't. However, when things do come together seamlessly, I attribute it to a
great team. I have a team of people who understand what WeVillage stands
for and are skilled enough to bring ideas to reality and manage WeVillage
facilities. I also have a supportive family that steps in when needed. I try to
take care of myself as well so I don't burn out. So pamper days, vacations and
me-time are built into my schedule. On off days, I get to remind myself of why I
started WeVillage and that motives me to think and do bigger and
When did you first feel successful?
I first felt successful when I was able to get my
first location up, running and profitable. It was such a great feeling to see
something I had put so much time and into finally come to fruition. I’ve successfully
opened up three other locations since then, which were all very proud moments
As a successful female entrepreneur, what are some
ways that you want to teach your kids about "girl power"?
Although I have a son, I want him to see that
girls can do whatever they set their minds to and can break barriers. I want to
encourage him to be a part of movements that encourage women to fulfil
their potential and be their best selves. For the young girls that walk through
the doors of WeVillage, I want to teach them that they are enough and
they can achieve whatever they want to with dedication, discipline and
perseverance. I want to teach them to dream big and think outside the box and
look out for opportunities to solve problems in their community with
Has there been anything
about creating WeVillage that surprised you or inspired you in a
way you didn't expect?
Honestly, the amount of mothers who have given up
on things they want to achieve because they are engulfed by their children's
lives has been something really surprising to me—and one of the biggest
reasons this happens is because there are a lack of facilities and services
like the ones WeVillage provides. They've almost, in a sense, lost themselves
and can't pursue activities that they love doing. It's always a joy when I see
mothers or even fathers drop off their kids and are able to leave without guilt
because they trust us. That trust allows them to go out and do things they
What's your advice for moms who are looking to
start their own business?
Just do it! It's tough, but you can do it. There
will be a lot to figure out and there will be good and bad days, but push
through and join the league of other female business owners. Find what
motivates you, create a system that works for you and your family, and
surround yourself with people who uplift and contribute to where you're headed.
And bring your kids over to WeVillage while you go out and conquer the
What sacrifices have you made as a mom
and business owner to keep everything in balance?
As a business owner, there are certainly many
sacrifices you make. As the owner, you are the first one in and the last one to
leave and often miss events with your family/children on weekends for your own
business. I have tried to keep my work and family life balanced, but as I grow
the business and as my son gets older, things shift and I have to reprioritize
If you could have lunch with any business
mogul/entrepreneur/nonprofit founder living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would have lunch and a chat with Barack Obama.
He ran a country because he overcame incredible adversity and became the first
black president. I would ask him how he prioritizes his personal relationships
and how he manages such a huge team. He is also so kind, real and doesn’t mess
around. He is smooth in his dealings with people and the most eloquent person I
have ever heard speak.
Are there any new initiatives or products on the
horizon for WeVillage?
WeVillage has two unique
characters—or as we like to call them, “we-peeps” (he-peep and she-peep)—and we
would love to bring them to life in a form of series or educational program
for kids. I would definitely love to branch out or franchise WeVillage in
Los Angeles and other major cities in the United States.