With community in mind, learn how Guidepost and Kin are merging missions to elevate the child care experience in the context of city living
Kin, a real estate brand that builds and operates community-focused housing for young families, launched in 2019 as a collaboration between Common and Tishman Speyer. They are a small team on a big mission to forge tech and shared spaces in a way that creates truly family-friendly urban living. Everything from the design of residential Kin buildings to community programming is rooted in the belief that families live better when they are part of a strong community. When Guidepost Montessori launched Guidepost At Home’s nanny share in the city this last fall – providing trained Montessori nannies to families needing at-home infant and toddler care – our organizations recognized strong overlap in our missions. Now, Guidepost at Home is partnering with Kin buildings to provide trusted childcare and parent community for families in New York City.
Learn more about Kin’s vision for the future of city living and how the Montessori partnership will come to life with this Q&A between Guidepost’s Community Team and Kin’s CEO, Britt Zaffir:
What’s your story, and how has community been a part of your personal story?
My family grew up in Montreal, and my dad’s entire career focused on brick–and–mortar real estate while my mom worked in hospitality. So, there was a clear influence from my parents’ careers early on – I have always been very community–focused and hospitality–oriented. I knew I wanted to build my life in a city, too. I’m a city girl. My first apartment was a fifth–floor walkup in downtown Montreal, and there, much like other cities, I noticed this trend where as soon as people became parents and had children, you moved out to the suburbs. This wasn’t the case for my childhood, though. My family decided to make the city life work, and I never got to fully understand the suburban experience.
When I graduated college, I started my career in management consulting, with a focus on hospitality, followed by roles in traditional real estate and tech hospitality during my time at Airbnb. After then graduating business school, I joined Common, a co-living operator dedicated to providing affordable rental housing for those living with roommates. Fast forward to today, and Common owns half of Kin.
At what point did community become something that was not only important to you, but something you wanted to solve for with the launch Kin?
In my early thirties, while working with Common, I started seeing the trend of all my friends getting married, having children, and migrating out of New York City because they couldn’t make urban living work for themselves. They all actually really wanted to stay, but felt like the city wasn’t designed to keep them around.
Families in NYC settle for environments and apartments created for single millennials. They so often make do with what is available to them, tiny one-bedroom apartments, until they grow out if it and leave. Over time, I grew interested in this concept that families are what make cities thriving metropolises and thought, “Is there a way to make it better for them?” I took my learnings from Common on community and technology to build something that would make living work in a dense environment at an attainable price point. This inspired Kin’s launch a year-and-a-half ago.
Where is Kin today?
We have two Kin locations in New York, with the first in Long Island City. We have about 75 families in the building on the Kin platform. Our second building, Kin on Union in Williamsburg is smaller, with about 20 units, and we manage the entire building so the community is very tight-knit.
How does Kin work; what does it mean to be a Kin family?
We put intentional thought behind building a product that appeals to growing families and a community that keeps them living in cities. We want to make urban living for young families more attainable, and so we took three main approaches:
- Real estate and design – Kin works with developers to build real estate that puts the family renter first. We make design decisions such as stroller parking on every floor, play spaces for children, baby-proofed outlets, noise proofing between units. Our model is flexible enough to retrofit existing buildings but also to plan from the ground up within sites.
- Community Programming – Kin organizes programming for the entire building that’s both focused on learning and playtime for kids. These events, like circle times for young families, help create that sense of community and allow families living in the building to get to know each other, look out for each other. Most of our focus is early childhood development, and so our programming is in line with this stage. All of these offerings are included in rent.
- Childcare – Kin plays a big role in terms of childcare given we are a housing brand focused on young family experience, and so it’s imperative that we help families secure childcare and create a true family ecosystem. We’re so thrilled that Guidepost At Home is coming to our New York locations! Securing quality childcare is so often overwhelming for parents, and I cannot wait to broaden the options for Kin families.
How is Kin adapting to the new normal in light of COVID-19?
Social distancing does not equal social dis–engagement, and maintaining a strong community where you live is even more important during physical isolation. Right now, Kin’s community is completely virtual through our centralized technology—families are checking in with each other through the app, attending Zoom learning events, and more. We’re also taking precautionary operational measures in all of our buildings with increased cleaning protocols using high-quality, CDC-approved disinfectants. Unfortunately, our shared spaces are closed to tenants at the moment, but we look forward to getting them back up and running so that they can be used as a home base for some of our upcoming Kin x Guidepost at Home programming!
To learn more about Kin, go to kinfamilies.com.
For more about Guidepost at Home’s nanny sharing platform, go to guidepostathome.com.