Meet Shanrah Randall, the clever mama who, once a corporate climber marketing for various pharmaceutical companies, is now the brains behind “KidsUKnow”. We’ve all forgotten a niece, nephews or friends kid’s birthday, and most of us don’t know what to buy them. Well KidsUKnow is a birthday reminder service that recommends an age appropriate gift for the child then sends it off on your behalf! Genious!!
Tell us a bit about your corporate career? You spent time in London as well.
It was all really full on once I left Aus – but I loved that time in my life. I had a few years in Sydney after I graduated but always knew I had a calling to work and travel. I worked for a large Pharmaceutical company in London for 6 years, specialising in working with treatment for HIV. I covered various marketing and strategic rolls across Europe. I grew a lot both emotionally and professionally and I put a lot of that down to some great mentors I met on my path. When I returned to Aus I had a different perspective on life and had learnt so much about myself.
You’re a mum to two year old Fearne, how has motherhood changed you?
The phenomenon of looking after another human being, day in and day out is huge. You don’t really wake up one day and go, ‘I’m a Mum now’. It kind of creeps up on you along the way. I think one of the biggest learnings in my corporate career was the ability to negotiate, listen and find a way forward. I thought that might work in motherhood but I don’t care what any mum says, you can’t negotiate with a mini-me on any level. I’ve learnt to be a lot more chilled and take the highs with the lows.
Did you try to go back into a marketing role after she was born?
Yes I totally did. I wanted to go back to a partime role but it wasn’t possible with my company on a long term basis, so I decided to leave and start my own venture. There are so many qualified mums out there who want to work part time. I hope Australia starts to follow suit behind the Northern Hemisphere where it’s more normal to support mum’s across all capacities.
We’re guessing KidsUKnow came about once you and your friends started having kids.
Life gets busy post kids. I no longer had time to go to my boutique shop and purchase nice gifts. I was always a little disorganised with gifts but then I started forgetting completely! The trigger was when my nephew, who lives interstate, turned two and I totally missed his birthday. I had that ‘OMG this is so bad, worst Aunty in the world’ feeling. That’s when I started thinking… Wouldn’t it be great if there was somewhere I could go that actually recommended gifts for kids birthdays (as opposed to having to trawl through marketplace after marketplace where it can be exhausting trying to find the right present), somewhere that was cool and different but still local.
Tell us a bit more about how the KidsUKnow website works.
It’s pretty simple really – as we intended it to be!
You save the birthdays of the kids you know, we send an SMS /email reminder 2 weeks prior along with age specific gift solutions. With a couple of clicks you purchase, add a personalised message, gift wrap and have it on its way in 3 hours.
You work with boutique local gift suppliers only. Is this part of your marketing strategy?
We work exclusively with unique and boutique stores and brands – stuff that’s not mass produced and stuff that’s one of a kind. We love working with the in-between guys that don’t do mass online retailing so that we can still support our brilliant locals. We’re somewhere that’s not Amazon and not eBay. We recognise there’s so many sites and brands to trawl over all this cool stuff, so we want to bring that all together for a simple and easy to use gifting experience.
Is KidsUKnow just for mums or does it work for other people?
We hope that not only parents but also friends, aunties, uncles, grandparents and godparents all get use out of KidsUknow. I was recently at a trade show and an uncle came over to tell me how much we’ve saved him! He said it’s like your own personalised Grandma calling you up every time to remind you. Except the right gift turns up and you haven’t forgotten again.
How has it been juggling your business with motherhood?
It’s been difficult at times but I’m really lucky to have a super supportive husband. I solely work on KidsUKnow so when Fearne is at childcare and in bed, I’m plugging away. I also have an amazing mothers group who are a rock of a support network. F and I have a couple of days together that we jam around with friends, do swimming and down baby chinos.
What has some of the biggest challenges been with being a working parent?
I think just the guilt of not always being ‘present’ mentally. In such a digital world we’re so accessible, and a lot of us are guilty of it. So it’s something that I constantly have to remind myself of. To always live in the moment.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received? Both at work and at home?
It’s the journey that matters not the end point. Living each and every second on the journey, not trying to race to the finish.
What’s next for you and your family?
Continuing to grow KidsUKnow to become the #1 place to go to remember all of those kids birthdays. As for the fam, settling in for the rest of the terrible twos!
You can find KidsUKnow at www.kidsuknow.com.au