Come and meet MCC's co-founders to find out what drives them and get an insight into their lives as busy working moms and entrepreneurs
Starting an ambitious new business in the middle of a global pandemic was always going to be challenging, but that didn’t stop MCC’s co-founders achieving the seemingly impossible. Driven by their shared entrepreneurship, friendship and the community spirit that infuses everything they do, Nouf Miteb, Sarah Faisal and Sara Khaled launched Moon Community Club in March.
Since then, the site has flourished, providing a unique members-only concierge service for Saudis looking for a space to meet like-minded people and maximize their lives. But the work hasn’t stopped there. With a brand-new app in development and a program of real-life membership events being planned for next year, there’s even more to look forward to in the months ahead.
We caught up with Nouf, Sarah and Sara to find out what motivates and inspires them, how they work together and their collective vision for the future of MCC...
Tell us more about how the three of you met?
NM I was in London when I had a call from Sara K. She and Sarah F were in Majorca and had discussed the idea of a parenting website, so Sara K shared the idea with me. I’d already started an MCC website but wasn’t fully focused on it due to the amount of work it needed. Her call was the best of the summer of 2018 – one week after we met, it all kicked off! There was a lot of brainstorming and we changed MCC from parenting to lifestyle and a membership community.
SF I had the idea of creating an online community where moms in Saudi could connect and support each other. I needed a partner to start it as I had my other business to run and I was not based in Saudi, so I thought of Sara K. She was very excited about the idea. We started talking and then Sara K had a lightbulb moment and thought of Nouf, as she was the one who started the WhatsApp group. We then all connected and that was the beginning.
SK I couldn’t have put it better!
What inspired you to launch the business and what’s the goal?
NM Our main objective is giving back to the community. We had loads of data on the Moon community WhatsApp group and we wanted to share the directory so our members could find all they needed. We also decided to add a lifestyle magazine to offer articles and information and to build a community of like-minded members who could exchange knowledge and ideas.
SF As Nouf said, it’s the real sense of community that’s inspiring. It’s knowing that you are not alone and that there are people out there who are going through the same experiences as you, people who are looking for the same information. Basically, it’s creating an environment where we support and help each other as much as possible.
SK All well said – it’s a sense of community.
Can you tell us about different qualities each of you brings to the table and how you work together and support each other?
NM We are blessed to work together. We respect and listen to each other. Yes, we agree and disagree on various things but our main objective is the success of MCC – if we disagree on something we always find a middle ground. We are all equal in our work responsibilities – we’re on call throughout the day.
SF We are blessed to have found each other and I’d say that we agree more than we disagree. We each bring different things to the table: Nouf has great business instincts, she has run Moonfame for years plus she has great connections.
I am the techy in the group – I love dealing with the development and technical aspects of the business and I’m very methodical in my thinking and working style. I also run Anamil Tech, a successful digital consultancy. Sara K is the creative one of the group – she brings in her ideas and direction. She is also very well traveled and has great taste and connections.
SK I think we all complement each other. I learned so much from Sarah F and Nouf as they are both previous business owners – they guided me along the way on technical stuff and how to maintain a successful business.
You’re all busy moms with other businesses on the go, how do you manage your time?
NM We try to strike a balance between work and family responsibilities.
SF Juggling work and personal life is very challenging and difficult. I am on my phone around the clock answering emails, on calls or on WhatsApp. My kids tease me as I’m always telling them to get off their phones! But I do try my best when I’m with them to put work aside and spend quality time. I also make sure that I put aside an hour for myself during the day to get on my Peloton (I am obsessed) and I do need that for my sanity.
SK It was tough in the beginning because Covid happened and we launched MCC in the middle of the pandemic. Trying to stay on top of things was pretty challenging with the kids and online school as well. But they are my driving force – just setting an example for them makes me feel whole. However, settling into the situation at that time happened organically and everything went smoothly. I also focused on getting my fitness back on track and really enjoyed boxing – it’s such a great stress reliever!
Are you morning people or night owls?
NM All three of us are morning people.
SF Morning person 100 per cent!
SK Morning, morning, morning – breakfast is the best part of the day!
Do you have a morning routine or ritual to get your day off to a good start?
NM I start my day with a workout.
SF My coffee for sure. Then I’m ready for the day. I drop off my little one to school, walk my dog and get ready for what’s ahead.
SK Coffee, a good breakfast, seeing my kids ready for school and definitely a workout.
Who are the people that have inspired you the most?
NM I’m always inspired by my parents, my husband, my sister and my brothers. They’re my main supporters.
SF My mother and father – they’re both hard working and have always given back to the community; my sister and brothers for their support; my husband for always being a perfectionist and a deep thinker, and my kids for always persevering and trying their best.
SK My mother and father – they taught me perseverance and never to give up; my sisters for supporting me and showing me it’s never too late; my husband for being my backbone and biggest supporter when we launched, and finally my kids – they inspire me to do better.
Tell us about your greatest accomplishments professionally
NM MCC and MoonFame, my previous corporate work led me to this.
SF Seeing two of the brands I’ve been working on develop into TV shows. And then MCC and everything that it’s become in less than a year. We’ve seen a great uptake as well as positive feedback.
SK For me it’s MCC. I'm so proud of what it has become, I truly feel hard work pays off. Just seeing the sense of community flourishing makes my heart happy
What are the main ways MCC benefits the community?
NM Connecting like-minded members together, helping start-ups and making their lives easier, helping businesses connect with the right partners, meeting family needs, looking at lifestyle etc.
SF I would say making our members' lives easier and providing them with trusted services and information that make them feel part of a larger community.
How does MCC set itself apart from other online businesses in KSA?
NM We make sure to meet all requests.
SF We never say no, and do everything we can to satisfy our members' requests in a timely and professional manner. We are always there around the clock for our members.
SK We aim to make them feel they belong to a community that supports them.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far as entrepreneurs?
NM Team work. SF Never give up, it's not always easy. You have to keep going and persevere. A big lesson that I’ve also learned is to be flexible, think outside the box and listen and adapt based on the circumstances and what your audience needs. SK I’ve learned a lot about connecting and collaborating with other businesses.
Is there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect?
NM I couldn’t ask for anything better – my dream came true – thank God.
SF Of course I’ve made mistakes along the way to get where I am now. As painful as they were, I learned from them and developed. I am who I am now because of all that I have gone through. So I have to agree with Nouf, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am proud of all I have accomplished, of my wonderful partners and team.
SK I couldn’t ask for more – we are blessed with the best team and we all have each other’s back . The work flow is just perfection.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who want to get their business up and running?
NM They should do their ‘due diligence’, ask experts in the field, and start with a strong heart. It’s okay to fail once or twice but learn from your mistakes. Be creative and don’t copy others – set your own path.
SF I would add that if you have an idea that you are passionate about, just do it. Clearly define what you are trying to do, start small, listen to others and to the market and be flexible. Your idea might evolve into something different from where you started, and that’s okay. Learn from your mistakes and keep going.
SK Don't give up! The way forward may not always be easy, but you'll find a way if you keep looking.
What plans do you have for MCC over the next two years?
NM We have a lot of exciting plans, let’s take it one step at a time.
SF Stay tuned, we are just starting! What's coming is very exciting.
SK Honestly, I'm so excited for the future of MCC. It's going to be very special.
What would you say are the biggest challenges facing female entrepreneurs in KSA?
NM In my opinion, Saudi women have proved themselves.
SF Saudi women are resilient and hardworking and this has led to there being many successful female Saudi entrepreneurs who have proved they are as good, if not better, than their male counterparts. A lot has changed in Saudi over the years with legislation that makes it easier for women to own and run their own businesses and this has opened many opportunities for women – the sky is now the limit!
SK It's incredible to see what Saudi women are achieving at the moment. So many new businesses are female-led - and this will inspire the younger generation of female entrepreneurs.
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