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Tess Swallow
t4 Nanny Director

Meet the woman who started one of the most popular childcare services in the Alps

Ellie Mahoney | Val d'Isere Editor | Published: 20 Nov 2014


Tess Swallow: t4 Nanny Director

Sometimes things just happen for a reason, like the need for a part time job to support you through your ski instructor training, which leads you to spotting a niche in the market and creating a new business on the back of it, and a successful one at that. Tess Swallow spotted one such opportunity, and now 9 years later she's running a childcare business with 16 nannies and 2 office staff in 5 different resorts...

Tell us a little bit about your business, how it started out and where you're based...

My name is Tess and I live in the French Alps all year round with my Husband and my 2 year old Daughter.  I own t4 Private Nanny Service and am also a fully qualified ski instructor with New Generation. t4 Nanny started in Val d'Isere when I was training to be a ski instructor. I decided to train for my exams and look after children in the holiday times. That season I passed all of my exams and saw there was a big demand for high quality childcare. The following season I employed 2 nannies and t4 was born. 

How long have you been in your current role and how long have you been with the company?

We started in 2005/06 with just me in 1 resort and we are now in 5 resorts with 16 nannies and 2 office staff. 

What makes this resort a special place to be for someone in your profession?

Espace Killy has so much to offer when looking after children from a visit to the working farm in Val and soft play for the little ones to indoor rock climbing and pony rides in Tignes.

What are the best bits about your job?

When looking after children you essentially get to play all day and that has to be the best part.   

And the worst bits?

Carrying 3 pairs of kids skis back to the chalet after ski school with 3 very tired and hungry children can be a challenge, but there is generally a way to make it fun or I just make sure I have got plenty of snacks to get them back! 

What is in store for the future with your business, any exciting projects in the pipelines that you can share with us?

We have been growing year on year. Our families tell us which resorts they would like to see us in next, so watch this space...!

What are you personal and professional goals for the future?

Personally I am loving raising my family in the Alps and look forward to seeing my 2 year old get properly skiing this winter. Professionally I aim to keep delivering the best childcare service.

What's your favourite piste or off-piste area & top tip to go skiing? 

When teaching I love working on Cruex off the top of Toviere and I quite often ski home down Trolles which is good fun.

Where would send someone who was after that something 'something special' in resort, to stay, eat or drink?

To eat I would send them to l'Atelier d'Edmond in Le Fornet, it boasts a Michelin star and is amazing for lunch or dinner. To eat I would send them to l'Atelier d'Edmond in Le Fornet, it boasts a Michelin star and is amazing for lunch or dinner.

Where will we find the best coffee or hot chocolate?

Grizzly Bar in Val Claret is delicious hot chocolate and has real character with wood carvings all around.  Or Val you need to go to the new Rize Coffee Bar.

What has been your best ever day in this resort?  

Passing my final ski instructor exam in Val d'Isere was pretty memorable however I have no memory of the partying that night!!

Do you remember your first trip to this resort?

How can I forget, I met my husband.  I was 23 and he said he would show me around resort, the rest is as they say, history!

What's your favourite thing to do in resort when not skiing or snowboarding?

Indoor rock climbing, playing squash, swimming and chilling in the wellness to mention a few. 

What do you do in the summer?

Tignes has really grown it's mountain biking over the last few years and of course there is still skiing up on the glacier. Most of my time is spent playing in the sunshine with my Daughter and enjoying all the beautiful hikes on our doorstep.

Which is your favourite shop in resort?  

Mountain Attitude on Rue de la Poste, it is little but has really cool stuff.

Where are we most likely to find you for après-ski?!

Jam Bar or Loop as they have live music most days.

Skiing or snowboarding? What's your preference & why?

I have been skiing since I was 5 years old and it is without doubt my passion. I do like to snowboard but for me it still is not a patch on skiing.

If someone was coming here for the first time, what would you suggest they absolutely must do or see in resort?  

They must go to the top of the Tignes glacier at 3500m it is a pretty impressive view and awesome ski down.


If you're looking for childcare in Val d'Isere then get in touch with the local t4 Nanny team.