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Teddo Play® is a family-run business that loves to help children to become naturally enthusiastic about learning. They encourage children to gain a lifelong love for knowledge and learning for their all-round development through their play-based learning methods.

Keisha & Amit, the wife & husband team behind Teddo Play® have created a concept where they create many varieties of premium play-based educational learning cards to suit children of all ages, needs and abilities. They’re both very passionate about all things learning and education in a playful environment that gives children the time and space to absorb new information all while having a great time.

Listen in to hear Keisha share:

  • How and why she got started (4:00)
  • How her flashcards differ from others on the market (6:07)
  • How she created and validated her product (11:38)
  • The practical steps she took to get her product ready to sell (16:08)
  • Why she chose to have her product made in the UK (17:34)
  • The importance of getting samples (20:00)
  • How and she chose to launch her product at a baby & toddler show (21:00)
  • How the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the business (25:50)
  • Her advice for working in a partnership (with her husband) (28:06)
  • Her top advice for other product creators (37:33)
  • Room to Read (40:47)
  • The importance of engaged play (43:12)



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A family-run products business - with Keisha Shah, Teddo Play

INTRO (00:00:08):

Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast, practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. He is your host Vicki Weinberg.

Vicki Weinberg (00:00:22):

Hi, welcome to this week's episode. So they have a fantastic interview for you. We have Keisha from the Teddo Play. So Keisha is a mum to a three year old and owns this little brand that I met here called Teddo Play. And she's created a fabulous concept where they create different varieties of high quality play-based education and learning sets for children. So these learnings let's go with the kids, or we can use the costs, children, siblings, and friends at different ages. There are really nice and compact and they come in a gift box. So you can put in your hand bag and take it to the park. When you go for walks or a long drive is when you travel, you know, you name it any way you might want to go. It's a really good resource to cut down on screen time for children and help them enjoy some tangible games, whether they also learn along the way.

Vicki Weinberg (00:01:02):

So Keisha runs the business alongside her husband. They were both very passionate about all things, learning and education and a playful environment. And they really passionate about helping given children at the time and space to absorb and retain information or having a great time and making them naturally want to learn. So this was a really fantastic conversation. We talked about the business and how they started their business ops of the dynamics, have a husband and wife working together with gem. Some of you might find really interesting. I was quite fascinated by that. And yeah Keisha has some great learnings and advice to share, so I really hope you enjoy it. And here's the interview. Okay. So welcome Keisha. I'm so excited to have you here today and I'd love it.

Vicki Weinberg (00:01:43):

If you could start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your business and what it is that you sell.

Keisha Shah (00:01:49):

Hi, how are you? Okay. Thank you very much for having me today. I'm Keisha I, I created and launched alongside my husband, our kids ready for a brand called Teddo Play and we launched it at a national exhibition last year, end of last year, really? And at the NEC in Birmingham, I've always been in the teaching training, urban students. So pretty much all ages and my youngest one and youngest students, if I were to explain with my own little one has been a five-year old and all of this has been at 58 year old, so bad. So yeah, it was always been terrified or, you know, whenever she doesn't do his homework.

Keisha Shah (00:02:30):

So it's not that I'm just going to be a blessing, but it's just, yeah, that, that's the way it's always been in me. I I enjoy the process. I, I enjoy sharing knowledge that I enjoy working with the children when I, when I fell pregnant.

And obviously he has a first time mom, you tend to consume so much content, do a lot of research with many books. And during one of those research sprees, I came across this And absolutely mind boggling

statistics that, you know, our children's brains develop at such a rapid rate. And by age three, that our brains, or like up to 80% of a laugh and 90% that's like nearly fully grown by age five.

Keisha Shah (00:03:15):

So yeah, I share that with my husband and it was that way in a day. I think we decided that we want to do our best and do it as much as we can do to make the early years for our own child. And, you know, as which is possible and learning experiences, Play conversations or whatever we are able to do. And yeah, Aiden came along. He is he's, he's a son, he's three years old. Now he turned three last month. He has basically been in the whole. And so the inspiration behind our business, I I'm, I started making things for him. And then one thing led to another and looking at the progress we were making with him, we literally, you know, honestly we felt obliged to that.

Keisha Shah (00:03:55):

We really do need to share this with other children, other parents, other families, I know flashcards have existed, but there are so superficial, you know, and the right from the quality of it to the, to, to the learning children get from it. I just figured it was just like a flimsy little, you, you, you know, toys that children can't get too much out of it. So I'm all of us. As you know, there are more like learning cards, you know, the real images and there's so much often engaged sort of play and learning experience attached to them. And I, my husband always say is that, you know, animations are, are good when children understand real pictures and animations probably uni, we find them cute, but to run, do they, do they really find it cute for them?

Keisha Shah (00:04:45):

It just becomes a reality. They, I don't know if they can understand the humor behind it. It, you know, if they're really don't know what, what it is and real life. So it's, I just feel like it's really a very confusing for children. And when they see like a giant think hippopotamus, a smiling and laughing are a cute cuddly lines in real life. You you're, you go to this day, you don't go in and give a call to go to the lines. So it, it, it was that, that we felt that, you know, we don't, we can't be confusing children and that right age, you know, when, when they were absorbing information, literally like sponges and you, you want to give them accurate knowledge, you know, to, to, to, to, to lay the correct foundation for them

Vicki Weinberg (00:05:27):

So would you mind explaining to people what your products are. And because, I mean, I've had a good look at your products, and then I've got a really good idea and I will put a link to your website in the show notes to make sure that everyone goes over and can see them for their self because they are, as you say, so visual. That's what struck me when I look at a lot. And they looked at them like the, the images. Yeah. There were there, there definitely visual. You've got some lovely photography. So can you just explain to people? So hopefully people have got a sense that products are flashcards. Can you explain a bit more about sort of how they are and how their different to others on the market? Cause I think that'd be really useful.

Keisha Shah (00:06:07):

Sure. Absolutely. So when we started to, to work on creating our resources, we want it to make sure that it has to be something where children can learn at the same time as they are playing. You know, when children don't know their own learning like that and not know child at the initial age, they liked, they like to like sit down and have a form of lesson sort of based formal learning. But when they, you know, they weren't w w w with, with things like learning resources and learning products where, you know, when you went to raise learning through play a children automatically like they have gained. So they, they end up gaining so much have knowledge and knowledge and the process that they didn't even know. And they were just playing with our cards.

Keisha Shah (00:06:48):

What we've tried to do is divide them basically by things. So there is literally lots of different things from, from learning spellings to learning the accurate words for the sound's that, you know, all the birds and animals or insects made it. Like, for example, you, if you see about, you know, in your garden, and if you know that it's a rubbing, you just say, Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Wow. Look at that. That's a Robin patched on the fence. My, my little brother, he, whenever he says like a seagull flying at the sky, he will say, seagull, it won't call it a burden or a birdie. So I just, I just kind of feel that it's good. It adds a lot to children's vocabulary and gives them that, that you, you know, with the words that they can have always with them and they can use that to express themselves.

Keisha Shah (00:07:37):

So I've tried to incorporate all of that into, into the various teams that we have for our learning cards. And they are like super sturdy, also, like, you know, things, the normal flashcards you find on the market, they would be like, say a hundred, 150 GSM. They like really thin flimsy and sort of paper sheets. Ours are like

1,150 GSM. So you can imagine they like super study having a toddler. I know how I'm forgiving me. They play with things. So I wanted to make, make something that's really durable and long lasting for children to play with. And right from younger children to show, you know, much older children, everybody can play together and still get so much out of town.

Keisha Shah (00:08:22):

So there's a theme by like, sounds that animal's mag or whatever various groups the finding was, God is not always like, Oh, a flock of birds. Sometimes it just call it something else. Or a group of our strategies is called the flock of our struts is OK. But then what is a group have, say, for example, if it was a group of ants call and it's got a colony of ants and things like that. So there are lots of interesting things like was a group of giraffes code and its called the tower of giraffe's. And it's just a very interesting and funny with, with these bite-size pieces of information. And there are also themes with the older children, like a lots of interesting facts. And I was like, really lesson on facts about things from, you know, the fruit in which we eat, what do they grow like I do.

Keisha Shah (00:09:06):

And on whines or do they grow up in wind onto the ground or under the ground or above the ground, do they go and plant trees and lots of stuff to discover about fruiting, where's the tables. There's, there's another theme, all about the absolutely stunning, you know, birds and insects around us. So that's the beautiful birds and in success, which, and children love, love. It. It really the, the younger ones, they look at the pictures and they try to identify and recognise the Byrds, the slightly older ones. They tried to like separate the Byrds from the insects, the further up, or, you know, the, the, the much older children. And then they are interested in learning lots of other facts about these birds and insects, which, which is not just, you know, a regular facts.

Keisha Shah (00:09:49):

There are really those sort of lesson or a really interesting facts that were make you wonder, Oh, wow. I didn't know about this. So yeah. And there's also a maths team around shapes. So you learned about lots of 2d and 3d shapes. Like if I ask you to name, like, you know, it gave me a, give me the name, have a few shakes. We

might be able to recall like six, seven, 10, probably. But the set w with a more than just shapes it, that we have that as about a 34 2d and 3d shapes. There's a lot to learn again at the back of the card, there is information and a really fun information and fun ways, which you're going to remember like an octagon. So apart from the basic that has got eight sides and eight corners, you also learn something like that's the, you know, a shape that is used at the stop sign.

Keisha Shah (00:10:38):

So as to when I wear you out in a bat and you see a stop sign, you can always again, Oh, wow, what shape is, do you remember this and that? And it just gives you more opportunity to, to, you know, have different conversations in lots of learning along the way, while children are still sort of feel that it's still play and not the proper form of a sit-down learning. So, yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (00:10:60):

Yeah. It does seem like a really nice way to Play sort of very ad and sort of easy to Play. And also, as you said, not too far more something you can just, you have in a bag and just bring out And. Yeah. I think I'm like you say, children's love facts as well. So I have two children and yet they both big fans of facts and they've attained them so well as well, which is always amazing to me. So, so it sounds like you started creating your cards for Aiden for your age. And so what steps did you then take to kind of take something you would do in, at home and make it something, you know, make it something that actually be able to sell it?

Keisha Shah (00:11:38):

Absolutely. To, to be honest, we started on a completely clean slate and we took it as a completely new project. And as I, as I mentioned it earlier, like I have a very long background in project management for a large corporate and, you know, we worked with several blue chip clients. And so being organized in sort of this project management way, it comes naturally to me, I know it comes naturally to women anyway, but, but,

but yeah, so you know about it, but honestly, when it's your own business, it becomes like hugely overwhelming. There's always so much to do so much to look at. So much to considered, and so much to work on, but luckily I'm with my, my husband, he is a very practical and level-headed he a, that's a really great to have the quality to have in you're a business partner, honestly, at, especially if your working with someone like me, who wants to do, like, it was like super efficient all the time.

Keisha Shah (00:12:32):

And so he, he tries to keep me on the ground and with his help, we tried to like break down, you know, things initially and really smaller chunks. We started with lots of brainstorming, lots of ideas. We want to do this. We want to do with the app, you know, what's practical as well. And phase two phase three, things like that. But then we said, okay, you know what? I'm going to try all of these things on my own child. You know, what's working, what is not, what is your liking? How is it playing? How is it responding? Is it, is, is it, is it fun for him? It was a stimulating for him and right. So probably, you know, other kids were like it too. So, so it's basically, yeah, initially we take it that way.

Keisha Shah (00:13:12):

And my, my, my, my chances of, you know, success in this business are greater on the sleeve or the things that he likes because he sort of gives me that, that insight you, you know, not just with my child, but then we slowly him, you know, invited our other friends also and other friends to run those children also. And everybody M w we tried and tested for a couple of months trying different things in different ways to learn. And children can do two different activities as well. So, you know, we incurred like a 30 page Play guide with every set and those are those contained like a really nice, you know, create new ways of using the cards.

Keisha Shah (00:13:52):

So with flashcards generally, you know, people do, Oh, what's this and the child, they don't get that. That's the line that says, no, but this line, it will just be looking at one for each of the line. It will have tons of prompt. You will have, you know, Oh, well, have you looked at its names or with the child and knows under the word. And that was the main, okay. And then can you see the whiskers? Can you see how, how, how big it is? You know, wow, what does it lie and say, wow, do you know what you're going to make? It sound like a lion roar is, and can you spell it the lines for me as the Crow? So you can adapt the games and activities that you want to play with a child. So, yeah, and the photos, obviously they are absolutely very, very high definition and they're very clear.

Keisha Shah (00:14:36):

Children tend to have got a couple of years, you know, children with who have been customers of parents have children with autism and Down's syndrome and other learning, you know, difficulties. And they feel at this sort of a natural image of, of, of our natural world, you know, in their own natural habitats as well. So they, they kind of find these images really like calming. I've had a month to a 15 year old autistic boy. And he, he used to throw these like massive meltdowns and they, they go to a set of us and he, he has this like a

couple of favorite ones and especially there's a sheep and a land bond.

Keisha Shah (00:15:18):

And there is a, a, a hippo or one, I don't know if what he loves about them, but he just always has those two, three cards with him. And I'm not saying that it's just a cost that, you know, reduced the meltdowns, but it has in some way, helped them to, you know, have these conversations. And then they sit down with a couple of cards every morning, the mother in the, and, and, and the 15 year-old boy, and they, they talk about it and it helps them to, you know, helps children at many levels, whether they are your, your, your, your children with regular learning abilities, are there children with special needs? So it has been helping that way as well.

Keisha Shah (00:15:58):

So, yeah, that's a really great to know, you know?

Vicki Weinberg (00:16:01):

Yeah. So it sounds like you've come up with all the content for the cards for yourself. So how did you go about getting photography, getting them designed, getting them actually sort of printed and made up. Do you mind talking this through that process a bit, please?

Keisha Shah (00:16:13):

Yeah, Sure. So yeah, at this time, obviously we have, we didn't take any loans or anything, so it's just all our savings and that we have put into this and everything that we've done, we've literally worked on it ourselves, except of course the designing of the logo, which I got it down and professionally, but otherwise yeah, it's just utilize my own sort of knowledge and teaching methods and, and try to design these, using the software I have. So I've done these on my own. And then, then, yeah, again, if it was like, it took ages too to, you know, find the right kind of the material as well, because I, I wanted to be like super sturdy and these, or like absolutely really hot.

Keisha Shah (00:16:60):

They are not both, there are not paper, there's something in between that. And yeah, that'd be from designing. We moved on to looking for manufacturers and I didn't want to, you know, get anything done outside overseas. Everything is manufactured in the, in the UK. And, you know, you know, when you're reading initially and you know, about starting up a business and things like that, and lots of places, the first suggestion is, you know, if it's a physical item, look at getting it made outside of our overseas. So the China comes as the top, top, top country for, for this kind of manufacturing and everything. And yeah, initially we did consider it a way we thought, okay, let's at least get the cost in let's compare.

Keisha Shah (00:17:44):

So we had an M a C like an X amount for, for getting it made in China, M and a Y amount, if we're getting it made in the UK. And obviously that ex, although it was much, much smaller and then the volume amount,

but we said, well, we just know, I know that our profit margins will be a low initially, but we, we got to keep that in our country and try to do as much as we can and support our own, own it, own economic and our own businesses here in the country. So, yeah, we then moved on to looking for, and various manufacturers here in the UK and yeah, from, from literally from labeling two boxes to the cards themselves, to every single element that reaches your home, there are all made in the UK.

Keisha Shah (00:18:35):

And yeah, it's taken a fair bit of research and a way to many sleepless nights, but yeah,

Vicki Weinberg (00:18:45):

Not that that's amazing. And I think you're right as well. I think people do you think of China? And I think China's the first country of people think of the manufacturing in their products, but today and something that I get asked quite often, it should, I source my product in it, you know, oversees, or should I do it in the UK? And actually there's no right or wrong and for a product such as yours or a printer's item. I think actually my, my, my own opinion is at once you pay for the shipping and the customs, as you know, on top of the production fee, actually, I'm not sure if it does work out, perhaps they are much cheaper and you have a bit more control as well, because I'm assuming you saw lots of samples, especially because it sounds like you knew what kind of, what material or where you wanted it.

Vicki Weinberg (00:19:26):

And I had to be right. That's the big element of your card's, isn't it, this really the wipe clean and I guess, yeah. A machine that you saw, lots of different samples and tried to find the right things or easier when someone can just put something in an envelope and post it to you.

Keisha Shah (00:19:43):

Yeah. And also, I think it was taking my life, so worked with several other languages. And so, yeah, for like pretty, a pretty strong background or understanding various, you know, cultures and everything, but, but w w w with getting something made overseas with our products, I just felt like you, as you said, there was no control really here. I can just pick up the phone and speak to someone. And there you are just at the mercy

of someone else was probably understood. You are, or not understand you. And I, there's no control the radio. And, you know, when you want to modify things and you just have to rely on, on that one, very, you know, the first word or brief, and if, if it has been perfect, it's fine.

Keisha Shah (00:20:27):

But then if you need any modifications and it turns out to be even more expensive, I guess, with all the back and forth, and the customs is, you said so. Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (00:20:35):

Yeah. And even if it saves your money, it can certainly cost if there was a bit of a back and forth. Okay. So

now you've got your products produced. So you mentioned that you launched at a show at the end of last year, doesn't seem like fairly long ago. So, so tell me, talk a little bit about the launch in a sense of where you launched, why and how?

Keisha Shah (00:20:59):

Yeah. So it took me at least like a year and a half of them actually completely working in and, you know, in the background, figuring out of the designs and manufacturing and everything, but there was one day we had everything was there with MI. Yeah. It was time to, to, to, to take it out to the market. And I had this M to, from somewhere, and I got to know about the, the national exhibition of the NEC for children's for children and toddlers, the babies and toddlers. And we said, okay, let's, let's, it could be a good place to launch. So lets do it that way. And that was because he had a, I'm trying to basically reinvent the wheel here.

Keisha Shah (00:21:41):

It's, it's, it's very hard for someone to you. You, you have to explain it to someone that this is way different from a flashcard. The first thing is like, even when I put it on Google and SEO and the things like that, I had to use the word flashcards because that's what people are used to seeing. But these are more like learning cars. So this needed a bit of education. And I said, yeah, I can't just start an online store and start selling these. I really want to be able to, you know, when people have to be able to look at the codes, feel the cost and not just the quality of it, but also the value they get out of is one single set outside, I guess, in a pack you get like 10 or 10 or 12 cards for like 10, 12 pounds.

Keisha Shah (00:22:21):

And here we, we give like 40 different and highly like super focused on themed and study cards and in a magnetic box. And, and it also includes like a 30 page Play guy and all of that for a 25 lbs. So again, that I wanted to explain that as well, that, you know, at the end of the day, if you are using those one of those cheap, because you are not getting much value out of it and at the same time you're spending more, you didn't realize it because you're just read or it's just 12. And so you're getting all of the 10 cards and here you get a whole lot of other things as well. So, so that's how, yeah. So we started that there, my biggest challenge, I would say it was luckily I had several, you know, teachers was a thing also like 'cause, it was a PA a section of it was dedicated to just have like babies.

Keisha Shah (00:23:11):

So then for these pregnant moms coming to the show, and then we find a little disappointed at that time we felt, Oh goodness. So that these are pregnant women entering to the dos and our, our product is for the children, at least two to three years old, just tell it with, but, but luckily, so many of them had like a bit of a teacher is coming. There are teachers, there are some where like moms two, those pregnant women, we've had some background in education. And we were like early as a consultant, sort of a professional in that field. And they absolutely connected with it, like straight away. And they're like, Oh my goodness. In my like 17 one lady was not in my 17 years of teaching, I have in part of this.

Keisha Shah (00:23:53):

And then when the turn, and she took like three steps then, and then she was like, I wanted to use that. So that really helped in terms of getting that sort of approval from, from, from, from, you know, from your target market, from a, from a teacher as well. And that gave us confidence. We did make too many things at the, at the show and 'cause obviously we realized that it was not entirely or our target audience and at the show, but yeah, you make mistakes when you're, when you're starting out, we learn from them. But luckily we had some, some good professionals, some working moms as well, hu connected with the educational elements and in, in our college and that sort of help desk, you know, kick it off.

Keisha Shah (00:24:37):

And the, the, the big problem I would say with, with that was a, so in January we launched our online store on our website. Again, that's something that I've just done it on my own. I have no background in the coding or anything, but as a small business. Yeah. Yeah. So your own time doesn't really count on working like pretty much day at night, every day. But so yeah, I was deciding to a website and it was, it was in January when we went to the website, probably, you know, a family and then the corona virus struck will go at the end. And we were like, Oh my goodness.

Keisha Shah (00:25:17):

So now we continued. And we carried on with our show price, which was like introductory price, obviously. And, and then obviously you don't have to pay for shipping or anything. The customers, you can just hand the ox to them. They were right then and there. And so yeah, we said, well, no, it just doesn't. Do you feel

fair? It wasn't fair to increase the price, you know, which would have changed obviously, because it was just the introductory price by the end, we said, okay, let's now, you know, people don't have that much disposable income and kids are home to parents will need different resources to play with. So we thought, okay, will carry on with this introductory price.

Keisha Shah (00:25:58):

And this way it helps them. It helps us to, you know, to keep our business afloat rather than just closing down and, and, and reach more children really. And we may be a part of our early as a sort of a, you know, learning journey. So, yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (00:26:14):

Ah, I was going to ask, see how their current situation has a, has affected your business. So thank you for it for that. And I'm assuming, do you, do you dispatch your cards yourself from home at the moment? Is that how it works?

Keisha Shah (00:26:26):

Yes, that's right. Yes. That's right. Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (00:26:28):

Okay. So in terms of the logistics of the business, I guess it's, it's the same as it would have been previously, right?

Keisha Shah (00:26:37):

Yeah. So in terms of, yeah, so currently if we dedicated like an entire room, just, just for the, just for, you know, all the work related to the Teddo, Play in the boxes and everything. I also sent handwritten messages to every customer and I included the, if you have that in there Play guide. So I'd just like to get that a bit of a personal touch and we give them some more ideas. So yeah, that, that's where everything is. And it's, it's in our home. I'm on initially things where they're in like a couple of different rooms and it is like, no, we need one room. I'm going to be empty. This Room, you keep your stuff in yours is there's been some of yours and mine now. All right.

Vicki Weinberg (00:27:15):

It's lovely that you, you do a handmade written note. That's where they love that you can, when you're a small, it's nice because you can, you can be that person. And I think that's really lovely. Now when you mentioned it there, and I just want to come slightly off the topic of what we feel good about, because I do know that, you know, self love and the business together. And I would just have to know that if you've got any tips or advice for others who are maybe looking to start a partnership, whether that's with their husband, their partner with my friends, because I guess it's a very different dynamic than if its absolute my position is my business. I work, obviously I have a family, but it's my business. I call the shots really, unless I'm doing something that may be impacted, the family has a hole but in general, you know, this mind.

Vicki Weinberg (00:27:55):

So you know, what types, if you got it, because I'm sure that there were people that we would need some advice on it.

Keisha Shah (00:27:60):

So yeah, yeah, yeah. So I am full-time into, into, you know, dedicating all of my time to Teddo Play and it still works. And within his, ah, you know, corporate it role. So yeah, there's, there's a limited time and dedication he can give just to the business. But I think the biggest thing, you know, when we're working with your spouse as a family member, or even your best friend, we realized that the most important thing is if you go through a few must be focused on the goal. So, you know, it doesn't matter what part you take and he has a different way of working. And I can sit down with him and brainstorm for, for like an hour or so.

Keisha Shah (00:28:40):

And it, bam, my work is done. You know, I can get stuff out of it. I'm there for something that I guess it would of taken me like a, a day of research and it is, it was good too. Like, you know, sit down and brainstorm. So

he has a different way of contributing to the business and that's fine. Initially it has to do that. You know, I used to feel like, you know, your way of thinking and your approach is absolutely very different from mine, but, but then yet, no, no, no. We know that if we are both focused on the end goal, it's fine. You know, sometimes both the parts are good. What do you suggest? It goes, sometimes one is the other reason a lot, but I guess unless you have explored both or you don't know which one works better, you know, and, and it's going to work in partnership.

Keisha Shah (00:29:24):

It, it honestly, I just feel that it gives you that one more chance of making it a success. It's it's still people working towards the same goal and it, and especially when you working with a family member, your working with your friends and there's already this dynamic there and you have to sort of understanding things or not super formal. And then obviously, you know, the pros and cons things that you can expect from, from a professional colleague, you may not get it from your spouse, despite all the begging for it. But, but, but again, there are things that they will understand how much more and then an external person.

Keisha Shah (00:30:06):

So you just need to find the right balance, I guess.

Vicki Weinberg (00:30:11):

Yeah. And I guess that is nice as well as like you said, that you're working towards the same, the same goal. So it means as much to both of you that, and do you have sort of defined roles as in, do you say, okay, ideal with the website and do this and this, and this is what you do or is it a bit more collaborative than that? How does it work?

Keisha Shah (00:30:28):

So initially it was that way because I've got this, I'm at home with a lot of the text and I had the same sort of a, have a bit of a creative flair in me. So I said, okay, I'll, I'll, I'll work on the design side of things. So yeah, initially we tried to, you know, distribute tasks amongst in between the two of us. But right now it's become more collaborative now is just not okay. Can you, you know, we recently started this, getting these imperfects, like there was this perfectly imperfect cards and we don't want to like throw them. They we've obviously spent a long time, so we didn't want me to just spend them and, you know, add to our landfills.

Keisha Shah (00:31:12):

So we have started offering a, like a big set of cards, the cards on their own. They are like, perfect. It's just on the printing at the back has gone. And a little bit with just the board has not even the tech. So it is not something that can bother anyone. And it will be probably it's just me being too much of a perfectionist that I see it at. Those may not even see it, but we, we said, no, we just don't want to put this in the bed. So he helps with sorting all of those, you, you know, sort of discarded cards and we cannot include in our work, a full set, but we, we, we can still give them at their highly, like just at a cost basically to two to two other

people who wouldn't mind like getting a mix set.

Keisha Shah (00:31:54):

So yeah, I think it is not easy to be honest, no one has ever said that winning a business is easy, you know, let alone, when you're also trying to juggle a million things as young first time parents. So I will say, yeah, two people looking to start a business and in partnership with their family, just bare that in mind. And I think also ones, when you accept that something is already difficult. You, you, you, so when you go through that phase, you won't find it as difficult and you know, it's, you know what I mean? 'cause you already know that it was meant to be like this, so you're, you know, your brain's and your body will be prepared for that. And then they'll help you move forward with a much calmer head.

Keisha Shah (00:32:35):


Vicki Weinberg (00:32:35):

Yeah. That makes sense. So how, how's your business work? Your family Life because obviously, you know, your baby you're like, wow, I'm assuming you were at home at least some of the time. And Aiden, is he at home with you?

Keisha Shah (00:32:50):

Yeah, he is. And we had decided like, even before the widest that we, we didn't want to, you know, send them to any sorts of nurseries or daycare until she was three years old. So he's never been to any of these so far anyway, but yeah, I would say the clock's in our home had turned completely and just the normal working on, so like say like eight to six 80 in the morning at six. But for me, honestly, the real working down starts at like 10 o'clock in the night. And yeah, I think I finished right, like three or four in the morning. And then obviously trying to catch up on some sleep before at eight and wakes up and in the day, it also, it might go on during the day, its like a proper Stroger because obviously the world is a way to bring the day.

Keisha Shah (00:33:34):

Right. So I have to be there. So when you have to run to the answers where you might have to look for, you know, collaboration is and things like that some day, so I'm trying to constantly work and trying to find these pockets of time at work during that time. And I also feel that I don't want to be seen with my phone and all the time for later on because then yeah, when he goes up and he tells me where we know where he is, M E I find him, it was in the phone constantly, which is going to annoy me like a big time. So yeah. I tried to like hide in and do things like that. That's super stressful going to sleep.

Vicki Weinberg (00:34:08):

Yes, it is very hard. Isn't it? Because he naps do, do they have a sleep and all that stuff.

Keisha Shah (00:34:14):

And in the afternoon there was 1 and a half hours that like divine bliss split for all the time really. But we can be honestly, I just to be something that it is hard for us to like switch immediately. Like I have been meaning to write some blog articles and feature other, other businesses also like sort of in guest blogs and I've got so much content available, but I just, sometimes I'm so tired by the end of the day I call and get those creative

thoughts and the night, you know? And so I ended up working on the website, I ended up doing other things or designing new things, but all the creative stuff that you have to like really have that mindset that I might be ready to do it now it's, it's very hard to do to like switch on and off around your child. Should I do so?

Keisha Shah (00:34:55):


Vicki Weinberg (00:34:56):

Yeah. It is. It it's so hard. I mean, yeah. Personally I've scaled back a lot on what I do and I'm lucky that my products business is mostly automated. So I don't dispatch anything from home and was at the moment. So I can just constant entree it on my own consultancy, but I still have really scaled back on what they offer and what I do. 'cause as you said that at the beginning I was trying to carry on life is normal and because I have one child, she needs a bit of a childcare. And then now if you're in school full-time And and then about a weekend, I just went, no, this isn't normal and I can't keep pretending. It just doesn't know.

Keisha Shah (00:35:29):

Right. Yeah. Yeah. And, but I think when you have a young child, you want to be fair to him as well. And, and you want to give them time too, and it is your time to play as well. Because once this, this moment is going, my God, the regret, I feel sometimes that if I, if I don't make the most of this time with him, I, I would like to have the regret of losing out of this incredibly special. He is in their lives. Yeah. That's what I keep pitching to everyone that you would need to have the sort of fed into the play and engagement and everything. And yeah, I put your hands on myself. So that gets really tiring at the end of the day. Like I like to cook, we both of us loved to cook and with a knife. So we cooked from scratch as well.

Keisha Shah (00:36:11):

And there's lots of activities and things like that. We try to do with Aidan. And right now with it with a lot of times again, you can go out much. So it was just playing in the garden at home. So, so yeah, it does get very tiring. And by the time at like 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock, I sit down to start my work and I'm like, Oh, can I sleep? And then

Vicki Weinberg (00:36:31):

I am wondering to be in when you sleep. Actually

Keisha Shah (00:36:35):

Yeah, I have a really, honestly it just, I just felt that magically the way that they should get a little longer, at least by a couple of hours

Vicki Weinberg (00:36:45):

Would be nice. So, so before we wrap up, what is your number one advice for somebody? So your top bits of advice to someone else who has an idea of, and a passion for a product they like to create.

Keisha Shah (00:37:02):

What I would say is again, and I know I mentioned this before, but you got to say, you know, focus on your goals. You know, once you have done, you're a bit of market research, obviously you need to stop that and find out whether your product idea is for you. Is it, what do you call it? Just take a hobby and just think that, you know, I'm going to put this up on social media and find my customers that are, it doesn't work that way. And in today's day and age, I know social media is, is a great platform. It's great for marketing and great for advertising. Yes. True. But there are lots of other ways. Do you know, there's, you've got Google, you've got YouTube, your car where it is wise to get your product out there.

Keisha Shah (00:37:44):

And I just feel that when I say people and just create something and just start trying to find people on, on, on Facebook and on Instagram, I just feel that that's not how it works. I tell me honestly, how many times have you, when you have gone on social media, do you go there with the intention to purchase something? No. I mean, you, you would, if you want, if you really want to buy something, the first thing would come to mind will be Google or some, some you don't want to learn stores that, you know, and that's where you were going with that intention to buy. So with social media, I just feel that people are, I'm getting a little carried away and thinking that that's where they will get their success from.

Keisha Shah (00:38:24):

But yeah. So that's one top piece of advice I would give is like, you know, do your research. You got to say, I'm so focused on your goal. And I do not give up there is going to be harder because there will be ups and dance. There might be, you might even come across a complete roadblock, but don't give up it. It is going to

be tough. No one's ever said, you know, running our businesses easy. No one is literally know whenever she said, so accept it. And as long as you focus on your goal, you will make it happen again, to do better in my mind is, and you know, we live in a very dynamic world. So we, we got to be able to do adapt. If we need to change our way, we should have the courage to do with it.

Keisha Shah (00:39:07):

Unless, you know, I've had that. You would have it at the same that unless they leave the site or on the show, you, you won't know, you know, you won't be able to do if you want to explore new horizons. So keep that in mind and learn from your mistakes and move forward.

Vicki Weinberg (00:39:21):

So that was a brilliant advice. Thank you. And I think you're right about the social media in a way though, I feel like there's, like you say, there was social media and there's YouTube, there's a group there's almost too much you could do. So I also think you need to kind of, as you say, figure out what is going to work for you, what is going to work for you, your product, your customers, and just focus on that. Because I think something, and I say to me that it was my very first business, I set it and he made the mistake of trying to do everything and doing it all quite badly. Whereas now I do a lot less, hopefully I'm doing a bit better.

Absolutely. I have a bit more time to dedicate if you're not spreading yourself too thin because you are by yeah. Depending on who your customer is, they might not even be on social media.

Vicki Weinberg (00:40:03):

It, depending on how you were looking to target potentially or yeah. They, or they might just be on one platform. I don't know. It's kind of depends on the books. Hey, so one final thing before we go Keisha is I know that you're involved in something really exciting called Room To Read that? Do you want to talk a little bit?

Keisha Shah (00:40:22):

Oh yes, please. Yeah, we, yeah. Given our, and sort of this passion for knowledge and education and all things learning and, you know, making that impact and change in children's lives in their early years Room To Read was, there was no doubt, you know, our first choice of a charity to partner with Room to Read, you know, the heart all ready. They are at a huge children's education and charity They support children's education programs in gender and gender inequality programs. And in like, I think over 60 16, sorry, 16 countries now. And what we do with them is with, with every, you know, the, the Play learning side that we, we sell it, we support the production of a fan of the local language books for the Room To Read library.

Keisha Shah (00:41:11):

So each time a box is sold and all of the local language book was printed through Room To Read for the long to read the library. So, so it's my honor to let it go with my dream two, to be able to find the entire, the production of my entire life, really, to be honest with you, that library of books for children who need them, who are so passionate finding out that is not just, just babies and toddlers, they, they like just arrange, they go on from you, you, you, you know, from, from very early on two, all the way up to when children get free to start in 14 years old or so, yeah, there are these children who are, have to come from all sorts of backgrounds, have all sorts of Intro different interest.

Keisha Shah (00:41:56):

And they are of a very good age range as well So yet. And I wanted to be able to fill up their life really with, with, with lots of books and a, so every time we do sell a box, we serve with the production of a lot of the local language books for the shoulder through Room To Read yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (00:42:13):

Oh, that's amazing. So in the show notes for this episode, as well as linking through to your website and your social media, I'll also put a link to Room to read as well, so people can go and find out about it. No problem. Yeah. Okay. So is there anything else over here on the first of all, thank you for your time that you spent state everything you've shared, but before we wrap up, is there anything at all that I haven't covered that you would like to talk about?

Keisha Shah (00:42:38):

And I'd just like to, you know, mentioned about engaged place. So this thing that we had at the exhibition, when we launched last year, they were parents come in to us. They were saying, do you have an app for this? I'm like, Oh my goodness, that's my that's interesting that you're asking that, you know, my whole point is for children to move away from the screen. So a little bit, and you do something that's more tactile. And, you know, with children when they see is so much of a movement. And so when you find information on, on screen, even if it's a reveal reveal and, you know, images of a, of the animals or whatever, and they are seeing that there's so much approvement in a movie, you know, in, in the shows and all the songs and things like that, they watched on YouTube on take this as, again, something that they hold it in their hands.

Keisha Shah (00:43:27):

And this is, so this has got this its own sensory experience also for all the children as well. And you have this patients, this calmness to sit down and display as a family. I think people, I know it's extremely tiring. You, you know, as, as parents, there really is very difficult to find time, but with all of that, you know, going on in our lives and a work and everything, but yeah, we have a possibility, even if you're able to you, you, you know, the, the places that one hour, just one hour of screen time with some proper engaged play with your child and it will, it will have a huge benefits for them, for you as well.

Keisha Shah (00:44:09):

And it, it, it, it, it has the bonding like incredibly, and it, it, it it's good for everybody. So, so yeah, if possible is just for me that if people are able to have a more sort of an engaged Play and experience with their children, if not just helps them and helps them to develop and, you know, intellectually, but it does is a huge deal to their confidence as well. And the, you know, kids can sit down and learn how to read books by them on their own, like even with a Teddo Play because there are so many kids, like 40 different chords in the box, and I've seen children to just sit down and keep exploring and keep looking. But that's the same thing. If you are sitting down with them, and if you are reading that book with them, there'll be other things that you will share from your own knowledge, your own experience that, you know, or even the change in a pitch sometimes even that has to create sort of a memorable experience for the child.

Keisha Shah (00:45:03):

And they're able to retain so much more. And so there's so much out of that, but if you stick them in front of the TV, I'm not saying no, there's tons of things you learn from documentaries, obviously, and it is great, but

at least an hour a day, if you're able to, you know, have some sort of a very engaged and that connection with a child, like a parent's parents, that sort of engagement is if that you can give to a child, or just for one hour a day, it doesn't make a huge difference in their lives as they grow up. For sure.

Vicki Weinberg (00:45:34):

Yeah. And that, and that actually, it doesn't really matter, I think because, well, sort of what toys they thought How devices or where they really want to play with U I find that a thing that said most of my house is completely, you know, my children just want to play with each other because I have tea so they can play stuff up. But with me is, well, yeah, they, they, they just, children just in that dressing, just want to put, to play. There are more interested in the play and then perhaps, you know, the toys or the games or whatever it is, is it doesn't matter so much. Does it, and that you, I think learning to play is good for adults to, I think I don't need to think I used to be very good at it. And I feel like the more that I play with them, like, I feel like I'm actually quite good at Play and now when I get more involved in it and that to me, yeah.

Keisha Shah (00:46:18):

So much fun. And to actually, yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (00:46:21):

But why do you think that it can be, I think that might be a fair those, and maybe a fair or may be a reason sometimes parents deign is because sometimes you just don't know, you know, if it were a bit awkward, you don't really know what to do. And that is why I actually, and this, I promise this isn't, I'm a sales pitch, but this is actually why your cards are good, because I guess it's an icebreaker, it's an introduction. It's a way to do that. Start playing and start conversations. So that's a really lovely,

Keisha Shah (00:46:47):

Yeah, thank you. Yeah. I really hope and you know, children can get, get lots of value out of the fit and parental. So when children are sitting down, even on their own, they, they will easily be able to get lots of, you know, quiet play time as well. You don't necessarily always have to keep them like super stimulated, but yeah, they did. They did help at many levels. I'm sure have tried my best to have to design them that way. So hopefully it helps everyone.

Vicki Weinberg (00:47:12):

Yeah, I think so. I think it actually is that I think the The phase will go a long way to do that, because that was my first thought. When I looked at them is at the images of really engaging children, adults were all like looking at a really good at photography. So yeah, I think we've made a difference and I do hope that everyone will go to your website, which is and take a look at your cards. So thank you again for your time today. Thank you for everything you've shared. It's been a really, really valuable and yeah, I think you're so welcome. So I really hope you enjoyed this interview. If Keisha, if you have any questions or comments as always, I'd love to hear from you. So its and please, as always

remember to rate, review, subscribe, and tell your friends about the podcast have a lovely day.

Vicki Weinberg (00:47:58):

Speak to you soon.