Food for thought lunch at Gymboree Basel

I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a Lemon-soup but if I had, I’m sure this one would have been the winner! Phyllis cooked us a lunch that a fancy restaurant could have been proud of!!

Last Friday, around 13 ladies joined the Food for thought – Business visit lunch and it was so tasty and inspiring! We were looking for some informal stories from Andrea Schöllnast (owner of – a platform to find trusted babysitters – which I can highly recommend!) and Phyllis Lovelace (owner of the Gymboree indoor playground near Schutzenmattpark). And so it happened: Phyllis offered to host us there, and said she would prepare some nice and simple lunch. Well, I don’t know what simple means to you but everybody was just crazy enthusiastic from the super-tasty lemon-soup and wonderful salads that Phyllis prepared. So tasty, just like her stories!

Both Andrea and Phyllis shared their stories of how they started their business, and what troubles were on their paths. Starting up businesses involving kids care isn’t easy. However, both of them inspired us with their humorous approach, but also their determination to make it work. As Andrea said: “A first no, is not a no!” People will tell you that your solution won’t work. Even after your first bookings, people say: “You were just lucky”. Even after 20 bookings. “Just luck…”. Now, they have over 500 bookings, more than the Red Cross, and their journey is about to take off even further now that the City of Basel will further support them. (Congratulations Andrea!!)

Phyllis, besides being a great cook obviously, is also a real warm, kind and friendly woman. As an entrepreneur, however, she knows just where to stop being “too kind” and where to know how to run a business as well. She took over the Gymboree Franchise after a not-so-pretty episode and decided to start from scratch on a new location, with new energy. The play area is just beautiful and my little 3-year old spent 3 hours jumping up and down there, doing games and being active, while we enjoyed the lunch and stories.

What I personally admired about both women, is their determination to invest their own money, time and effort, and relentlessly search for ways to cooperate with other partners. “Babsy” works with the Red Cross for courses on babysitting and emergency health care. Phyllis always looks for ways to cooperate with people who can offer some after school classes.

Determination. Humour. Business skills. Build – measure – learn! Hard work. And lots of cooperation with a warm heart. Those were the ingredients of our lunch last Friday. It was inspiring, informal, interactive and oh so tasty! We truly thank Phyllis for the wonderful food and hosting, and both Andrea and Phyllis for giving us insight in their journey, where everybody learned something!

Chantal Vroom


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