How would a daughter of a successful businessman in hotel industry, a mother of two and a well traveled “Cihangir girl”, as she calls herself, combine her extensive experience into a well-thought business idea? In Sevil’s case, she would set up Hotel Momcierge – a babysitting service for families traveling with kids.
I met Sevil in one of Cihangir’s hip cafes to take some much-needed inspiration from her experience as a successful businesswoman who is determined to stay afloat in these turbulent times that have struck us all. Half Turkish – half American, and having lived all across the globe, she found her place under the sun in the heart of Cihangir.
Ever since she first stepped into this popular area as a little girl back in 1978, she has been witnessing changes that shape her neighbourhood and the rest of the city. When she became a mother in 2011, and started travelling with her kid across the country, she cleverly spotted the need for a full scope service for families travelling with children.
This is how Momcierge was born – one and only service in the city that caters for the needs of travelling parents who are in search of some help with their little ones. And today, after more than 3 years in the business, Momcierge employs part time nannies who are native speakers of English, French, German, Croatian, Turkish and Arabic, a professional family photographer and an English speaking driver.
You can also rent any necessary baby equipment, or get advice about activities in the city for your child. She knows it all and she is happy to share her knowledge about Istanbul that she wholeheartedly loves.
Aware of the fact that our own experience serves as the best teacher, Momcierge relies on practices learned within the family. Namely, all the nannies have to pass the “test” with Sevil’s own kids. And when her nannies are overloaded, you might even see her babysitting herself!
A woman of admiring energy, Sevil is confident about her work and life in Istanbul. With an American passport and having lived on several continents, she could easily decide for a life in a more comfortable place, in these days when so many have decided to pack their bags.
Yet, she is determined to stay and to keep adjusting to new circumstances that require a more flexible and innovative approach.
Today, when so many of us complain with fear and anxiety, there is nothing more refreshing than a positive determination and a fresh outlook on the current state of things.
“Comfort is not what I necessarily want for my kids”, she says. “They should see the reality on the streets and ask questions about whatever bothers them. More than anything, with its fascinating history and a mixture of cultures, Istanbul remains one of the most inspiring places to live in.”
When Billur moved from her hometown of Izmir to Istanbul at an early age, she immediately fell in love with its charm and uniqueness. Over the years, she became part and parcel of Cihangir – a zone heavily inhabited with expats and intriguing locals, where today she is known as the real expert of the neighbourhood. Also known as an animal rescuer, Billur currently owns two cats and one dog, all three of them saved from tough conditions on the streets.