We first met Syreeta and her husband Rob at a trade show. Our stands were next to each other and over the tough two days we got to know one another, about each other and the journeys we'd taken in life that had eventually led us to having our stands next to one another in central London for a long weekend. Syreeta is behind MOSS (Moments of Sense and Style) a beautiful stylish company that happens to sell, among other things, quite possibly the prettiest box of matches we have ever seen! Her journey is not without it's up or downs but one we knew we wanted to share on KINN.
How would you describe your personality in three words?
Loving, determined, hopeful.
When you wake up what are the first three things you do?
I tend to wake at 6am, at least an hour before my husband Rob and ensure I have solid time to myself. Most morning’s it’s yoga and a cup of tea. Whether it be a 5 minute stretch or 30minutes, it all helps me feel more grounded in my thoughts for the day ahead. As the world of brain injury can mean that no day is the same; I have to have an open heart and open mind.
What does your dream day look like?
Seeing as we are dreaming; a wonderful start to the day would be with a yoga session, with a luscious fresh fruit breakfast. A massage and relaxation session. Then a swim, and an afternoon with a good book by the pool, all in the beautiful surrounds of the greenery of Ubud, Bali. Living the dream! (note to self must make this happen again one day soon!)
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever given and received?
Inch by Inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, it’s very hard. It was offered by a dear friend at the very beginning, when Rob suffered his near fatal haemorrhage and I had so much to face and handle. I interpreted it in my own way; it encouraged me to slow down and take it one step at a time. Not get too caught up in the future and enjoy the mad old road I’m on! I now offer it in return; my version of it is now the foundation of our brand. To slow down, embrace your sense and do it in style. Life is to be lived and we should soak it all up whilst we have the chance to. As we know more than anyone who damn precious very day is.
You’ve lived all over the world and then had a pretty life changing experience, can you tell us what your personal philosophy is and how MOSS came to be?
It’s quite a tale. My boyfriend at the time Rob and I were living and working in Hong Kong, when 27th September 2014, Rob suffered a near fatal brain haemorrhage and stroke. To make things more complicated, we were on the second day of a holiday in Sydney. Rob was in a coma and I was told he wouldn’t make it, but here I am almost 4 years later balancing life as full time carer, Rob’s slow rehabilitation, starting life over again and able to share this with you!
After being stuck in Sydney for 3 months, we realised life in HK was over and moved back to the UK to be with family. I had to move countries, start life in a city and home not my own, whilst dealing with Rob’s needs and care. Trauma on all levels. I lost my identity and sense of self, my home, my job, all in one go, whilst having to radiate love and support to Rob.
I realised that’s all I had. Love. And that’s what has carried me through.
In all this, caring and rehab and grief, I needed an outlet. I started a brand, as a blog at first and it’s slowly evolved and become a creative space for both of us.
I taught Rob to draw again and this was how we communicated for a really long time, and we still do on bad days. He now draws for pleasure and is pursuing a new path as an artist. Rob suffers with Aphasia which affects his reading and writing as well as speech. He is learning, but essential it was like having a six-foot baby; he’s having to relearn everything.
MOSS is short for Moments Of Sense & Style. The ethos is simplicity, to encourage people to embrace their senses and do it in style. The brand has been a creative saviour; a loving, healing and cathartic project but also way to try and get back into the world again. To establish ourselves and earn a living around our unconventional life. As full time traditional ways of working are just not viable.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt since starting MOSS?
It’s been a rough few years, the levels of trauma and complexity are hard to articulate. But the one thing I do have in abundance is LOVE! And hope! It’s the thing that can carry you in the darkest of times. But the business is only as good as I am. Self care is a must in these situations to avoid burn out. I can be everything I want to be, but cannot DO everything.
Where do you go or what rituals do you have for those moments you need to feel inspired or energised?
Where I once travelled for inspiration, I now travel in a different way. Through solace and reflection, through meditation at home. Our world is very different to most and at a very different pace. I carve out time with a ritual of breathing deeply. I hold space for myself and mark that time by lighting a candle, a MOSS one of course and using the time to reflect and choose light in any situation. Or if all else fails, stick on some good beats and shake it all off!
At Kinn we believe in clean beauty, for you, your family and your home, what is family to you?
Everything. Through the good and the bad and all the changes that life brings, they are always there. And frankly, without them, there’s no me. I have deepest gratitude for my parents and how hard they worked to offer me a better chance than they had.
What's your favourite thing about your home?
That we finally have a one to call our own. It will be a year in October that we have lived independently since Rob’s brain injury. We had been living with family before then, on others terms. Now it’s all ours! Huge steps which we all for granted normally. It’s a rented one bed place, but all ours and something we never even thought would happen four years ago. The dream is to create our own home, one day soon. Inch by inch though!
Favourite podcasts and other digital inspiration?
I love Pinterest, for ease of creating moods, the same as Tumblr.
Podcasts, I am fan of Sara Tasker’s Hashtag Authentic, so it was an honour to be featured by her recently. Also obsessed with Russel Brand’s Under the Skin and my absolute favourite is Desert Island Discs.
Which five sites are always in your browser history?
Our website, Pinterest, The Pool, The Guardian, Instagram
You say that MOSS is not a brand, but a design studio and creative outlet, where would you like to see MOSS in the future?
We are socially and ecologically aware, that yes, we wish to create products, but not creations for the sake of it. Each product is deeply considered and aligns with a need or desire from our life as it is now, with respect for the provenance and raw materials. By embracing the path of a studio along side our wares, we are able to work on projects that compliment our ethos and help spread awareness of not only brain injury, but the importance of wellbeing to our health and inner world too. It’s more of a movement, a fluid label, one that leaves room for us to grow and change. As change is the only constant we have in this world. Life is always changing and shifting and we have created a space in which to evolve.
How important is it to you that your beauty and homecare products are clean?
It’s extremely important to us since Rob’s brain injury. We pretty much have a plastic free, organic led bathroom, apart from the toothpaste tube although I am on a mission to resolve this! I use natural beauty products and have even reverted to traditional pure coconut oil as my night moisturiser, just like my Mauritian grandmother used to (I am half Mauritian, half English). Although she used it for everything - hair, body, face, cooking...everything!
Which are your favourite Kinn products?
The body and bath set is divine. The strength of the natural oils scent is a beautiful way to wind down in a hot shower at the end of the day. Topped off with the lavender bathroom cleaner which made my day to be able to pick it up in our local Waitrose!