We recently caught up with the amazing Carly Moosah, co-founder of KeemEmQuiet - the company which produces travel entertainment packs for kids.
Carly started her career as a talent agent before founding her own business with her husband. Carly is also Senior Fundraising Executive at Grief Encounter, a child bereavement charity which is close to her heart. Here's her story:
Newnham: What were you like growing up? How would your friends/family have described you?
Moosah: I felt I was painfully shy, very studious and a big daydreamer. Friends and family would have described me as a book worm as I was always reading I imagine. As an experiment I asked my big brother how he would describe me and he said "uncomplicated, lover of life, emotional, big eared and simplistic." Gotta love him! I incidentally did had my ears pinned back at 10 years old.
Newnham: What were you doing pre KeepEmQuiet and why did you change career paths?
Moosah: Pre KeepEmQuiet I was a talent agent at Becca Barr Management helping to look after clients like Gemma Atkinson, Alison Hammond and Kate Lawler to name a few. It was exciting and exhausting in equal measure - when I went back part-time after having my son, it became clear that I was going to find the juggle of kids and the pressures of the job too much. Therefore when I had my daughter I knew it was time for a change of career, and KeepEmQuiet was born when she was just a few months old.
It was born out of a necessity that we felt as parents. We were flying to Spain with our two and a half year old and our newborn and I had spent a lot of time and money getting items to keep him busy on the journey. When we arrived in Spain we were chatting about how much money I had spent and how it would have been so much better if something ready-made could have been sent to my home for him, and it was a lightbulb moment for my husband who immediately researched and saw that there was a massive gap in the market. Nothing like KeepEmQuiet existed - that holiday, the business was born. A domain name was registered and the details were thought about.
Initial hurdles were mainly financial to begin with, but my husband was a professional poker player in his 20s and happened to win a tournament around this time which allowed for the money to be injected into the business to get it off the ground. A perfect synchronicity.
Newnham: What is your role within the business and what are the pluses/minuses of working with family?
Moosah: To begin with, I very much took a back seat role. I was in new baby fog and was simply a sounding board for my husband. Slowly the fog lifted and I started to network within the parenting communities - spreading the word about the brand. Nowadays I am over the PR and Marketing for KeepEmQuiet and Dan is very much the business brains. Our worlds don't tend to overlap too much - he works from an office and I'm very much more remote. So far, so good - within my first month of working for KeepEmQuiet in a more official capacity he said I was employee of the month for securing some good press so I must be doing something right.
Our goal with the business is to continue to grow the brand and expand it. To become even more of a one stop shop for holidays and travel and for every family travelling with small children to be entertained with a KeepEmQuiet pack.
Newnham: You have had some great recognition for your work - how does one go about lifting one's profile? What social media tips or advice do you have for new founders trying to raise their brand awareness?
Moosah: As our brand is very much in the parenting domain we immersed ourselves in these worlds, both with social media and the events I started going to. My advice would be to throw yourself into the world of your brand. I started following lots of Mummy bloggers and accounts, and very quickly came across Mothers Meetings. I started to attend their events and met so many wonderful people, some now such close friends, and slowly collaborations and contacts were made. Packs were gifted to some great influencers who raved about them and our name was on the map.
So my tip would be to chat to everyone. I also recently heard the most amazing advice from my friend Gayle at Hustle & Fox. She says when you speak about your business, pretend it is your best friend. We can be so British and embarrassed to shout about our wins, but more than happy to shout about our friends, so I'm going to try my utmost to take this advice on board.
Newnham: And can you tell us about your charity work? Why is it important to you?
Moosah: When I was a talent agent, I was always really passionate about the clients helping charities when they could. I always felt a calling to work for one, and used to put on fundraising events often.
Working for Grief Encounter is one of the most rewarding but toughest roles I have ever taken on. Losing my own Mum at twenty seven, I experienced grief in its rawest most painful form. This grief is still playing such a pivotal role in my world a whole decade later. And I was an 'adult' by all standards. I cannot bear to even imagine a child or teenager experiencing these deeply painful, dark emotions, but the truth is they are and it is happening often. The stats say that 1 in 29 children will lose a parent before the age of 16 - that is one child in every classroom. Grief Encounter provides hope to these children and their families helping them to adjust to a new normal. Being a parent myself it makes my work even more important to me. No child should have to suffer alone.
Newnham: Can you tell us about a day when you felt things were really hard and how you overcame it?
Moosah: If I think about hard days now I sometimes can't believe the human resilience to overcome these times. At one stage before my Mum died there were four of my immediate family members in hospital at the same time. On some of my hardest days I have been in intensive care units waiting to hear if a sibling will survive an attempt on their life, seeing my Dad cry, fear in all my loved ones eyes. Adults looking lost. Those have been some of the hardest days but as a family we have overcome them together. We are a tight, close, loving unit. No matter how dark things have been we have always somehow managed to find some humour that has helped us to come through to the other side. Even losing Mum which was each and every one of our worst nightmares we somehow survived and found joy again through the support from each other and keeping her alive always by talking about her and sharing our memories.
Newnham: What are you most proud of in your career journey?
Moosah: I am most proud of my parenting journey and every day of raising my children, but in terms of my career I am so proud of where KeepEmQuiet is in year 2 after conception. We get sent pictures from friends spying our packs at airports, and the reviews show that we are helping parents all over the world and that makes me feel proud. An idea born from our own need to help us to parent is now helping so many parents and that makes me so proud. And the fact that the Royal Family have experienced our packs at a Royal Wedding is a pretty huge achievement too.
Newnham: What advice would you give a younger Carly?
Moosah: Travel, travel, travel. See more of the world before kids come along. I also look at pictures of myself now and get mad at myself for not being more body confident so i'd have a word with the younger Carly and get quite stern with her. And to appreciate sleeping on your own clock as opposed to never knowing how the night will go. I'd also tell her that the best is yet to come because it most definitely has.