By Kiersten Tomson
Like most moms, Desiree Vargas Wrigley relies on a few tools to keep herself sane.
“I am a huge advocate of anything that makes parents lives easier,” says Vargas Wrigley.
And if there was an app to get her kids out of the house on time each morning – she’d use that too.
“It is pretty much my least favorite thing to do,” explains Vargas Wrigley. “I would change thousands of diapers in exchange for taking my kids through the front door and to the car.”
Which is why Vargas Wrigley was surprised there wasn’t an easier way to sign up your kids for activities, sports, and lessons.
“Everything is a registration online, and it is 18 fields that you have to fill out several times,” Vargas Wrigley recalls. “Or you have to call someone and when you are a mother at home with two kids in the background, it is really hard to make phone calls.”
Or the kicker – and most parents can relate – you pay all of this money for hockey lessons or dance class, only to have your kid kick and scream to each session because they don’t like it.
It sparked Vargas Wrigley to come up with the idea of Pearachute – a monthly subscription plan for kids.
“Once the idea was implanted into my brain, I could not shake it,” recalls Vargas Wrigley. “I was waking up thinking about it, thinking about it in the shower, thinking about it while spending time with my kids and I was just like I have to build this. I don’t have a choice. I think when something consumes you that much you just have to do it.”
From swim lessons to art classes and everything in between, Pearachute lets kids try different activities without all the headaches for the parents.
“It has the potential to be a much bigger market,” explains Vargas Wrigley. “There’s 75 million millennials who are going to have 75 million babies over the next 15 to 20 years and 80% of millennials would rather invest in experiences over things and that’s how they are raising their children.”
Pearachute took off in January 2016 and in a year, Vargas Wrigley has seven full-time employees and has expanded into Dallas, Kansas City and even Chicago’s western suburbs of Naperville.
“I have a really smart group of women I work with,” Vargas Wrigley describes her team. “They are passionate about the space and they understand the customer point of view so well.”
At Pearachute’s River North office, Vargas Wrigley says they start off each week with Coffee Monday’s where everyone shares their goals and some infectiously positive.
From there, the team gets to work adding new clients, expanding current class selections and growing the mobile app.
“In less than a year, we’ve put almost 250 thousand dollars into local businesses so that’s something that is bigger than just a subscription service for kids,” boasts Vargas Wrigley. “It’s actually helping boost the local economy.”
Pearachute is designed for different parenting styles and kids’ needs. It offers a monthly three class plan, a six class plan or an unlimited plan – giving all families the chance to drop in and try what’s new in their neighborhood.
“It even forces me to be present so I’m on the ground working with the clay with my kids or they are in my lap singing,” explains Vargas Wrigley. “And Mondays are so much easier when you have those very intentional moments with your children.”
But like all moms, Vargas Wrigley tries to find time for herself too.
She loves Zumba, is religious about date night with her police officer husband and reads every night.
“I’ve gotten into fantasy because I feel like business books are really hard to read to right before bed,” laughs Vargas Wrigley. “So it started with Game of Thrones and took me down this path.”
And when she’s not reading, Vargas Wrigley is fantasizing about her next plans at Pearachute from birthday parties to group excursions to possibly family travel down the road.
“I think at the heart of it, what parents crave, is an easy way to create meaningful experiences with their kids.”