We had the good fortune of connecting with Daphna & Yael and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daphna & Yael, what is the most important factor behind your success?
It’s all about people. By developing close relationships with our families coming in for lessons, and our incredible staff, we were able to create a community that we were happy to be a part of. We wanted to come to work every day to a place where people felt joyful to be there! When we opened up our facility, we also wanted that to translate into making sure the space emulated that feeling.
When Little Kickers was first taking off, we spent a lot of time thinking about how biased it was that teachers in classrooms are considered professionals, but swim teachers are often considered less than. We wanted to create a swim school where teaching swim lessons could become a career path for our staff. We truly believe these instructors are some of the most giving, loving, thoughtful, and talented people around!
We are always working to improve and create lasting relationships, and ensure a positive experience for everyone involved. We take great pride in the quality of our instructors and love hearing the stories from our happy families about how much their child now loves the water.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Both of us started teaching swimming in high school, and working with children in the water quickly became a passion for us. Yael continued teaching lessons through college, first in our parents’ backyard and then in the apartment complex pools where she was living. It didn’t take long before she became known as “The Swim Whisperer” and was scrambling for more space to accommodate all her clients.
As more and more families came to Yael wanting lessons for their children, things became more and more overwhelming. She had Post-Its all over her paper calendar with notes about lessons; she struggled to keep track of who was paying her, and couldn’t find time for any vacation because she had no one to cover her. When Daphna moved back to Colorado in 2014, she knew she had to help her sister out, and began providing some much-needed operational and back-end support. We found a pool in an office building to rent, hired our first employee, and just like that, the business was official.
It has definitely been a steep learning curve over the years! While we balance each other amazingly well, it’s also been challenging to make sure our relationship remains stable and healthy. We’ve gotten to a point now, after getting lots of help over the years, where things are more defined and easier to navigate. It feels so great to be at this point and we’re really proud of how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned. One piece that was never challenging, however, was how much we both cared about our clients and our staff. That was truly allowed us to succeed and there’s no way we would be where we are today if that wasn’t true for the both of us.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Where to start?! Growing up in Denver, it’s been fun to watch the change and the growth over the years.
Baker is a must do, with a stop at either Historians or the Irish Rover to sit on their rooftop patio. Karma is one of our favorite hole in the wall restaurants, and Voodoo donuts is conveniently located nearby. Decade is also an awesome place to shop for gifts and jewelry.
Rino is always a hit too, with all the murals and how lively it is. We love Mister Oso, Super Mega Bien, and of course, Barcelona. Throwing a stop in at any of the breweries, Attimo for wine, or at Stem Ciders is a great way to spend a Saturday.
And of course, there’s Capitol Hill/Uptown, with amazing drinks at Hudson Hill, great eats at Humbolt Kitchen + Bar. But one of our favorite activities is to go to Cheesman Park on the weekend when the weather is nice and hang out with friends.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We wouldn’t be where we are today without our amazing General Manager, Brandon! He is a walking representation of our core values, and is an amazing support not just to us, but our staff. He has not only given us the ability to step away from the day-to-day operations, but encouraged it, providing us with the flexibility and time to focus on other things.