Feeling both inspired and overwhelmed by the amount of beautiful artwork created by her children, Jules Waller set out to find a way to embrace and showcase every child’s unique creativity. At Storybook Design, they transform children’s artwork, photos and creations into stunning books, unique cards, wall decals and posters, professionally photographing or scanning each piece to produce beautiful, bespoke products. The result is precious mementoes that you can keep forever. Here, Jules talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind Storybook Design, her business journey so far, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
The inspo behind my business was being overwhelmed by all the beautiful artwork created by my children. I wanted to keep it all (at least the favourite ones) consolidated in one place, in a way that we could actually view and enjoy them.
A photographer and designer by day pre-children, this was the perfect fit for me! I had previously worked designing beautiful wedding books for a high-end photographer as well as other photographers along the way. Also, having a degree in social work and having worked with children, we often used artwork to convey thoughts and feelings. Artwork has an amazing ability to bring out the “true child” through creativity, giving the books a beautiful authenticity and meaning.
To me, children’s artwork is truly amazing. They just draw, straight from the heart – just as they see things, with no thought about “what will people think?” or “does this look right?”. Their ability blows me away every single day.
My 3 children started out as 4-years-olds at a Reggio Emilia school, which focussed on thinking for themselves and “outside the box”. This was reflected in their art, and the creations of all the children were truly amazing. There were beautiful, unique pieces of art proudly displayed all over the school.
This idea of “thinking outside the box” is what inspired my business slogan of “storybook design … colouring outside the lines”. At storybook HQ, we prefer to focus on the perfection of imperfection. This rawness is what makes life interesting and we fully embrace each and every child’s unique creativity.
Being a photographer/desktop designer and having artwork and photographs of the kids scattered everywhere, it was obvious to me to put their artwork (and photos) into beautiful books. The products we create are next-level – stunning, bespoke, magical coffee table books, the most unique of greeting cards, and other products.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I originally started making books for my own children. Other mums just loved (and wanted!) them, so I started making them for others too. After a while, it morphed into a business. I was doing what I absolutely loved and had flexibility in hours to work around my children’s lives.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough with your business?
To be honest, I haven’t really had any “breakthrough” moments. It started out with school mums and I have broadened it from there, but it has been a lot of hard work, trial, error, persistence and determination to make it work.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
Family is number one as my kids are still in school (aged 9, 13 and 14), so I always work around them. I make sure I am always available for the things going on for them, for example, sports days, school excursions, camps, etc …
I work every day from 9 till 3 while they are at school and then evenings after dinner when they are often doing homework and other things. Being older now though, I often find they are up quite late so it’s a lot different to the days they were all in bed by 7pm. I often find myself working late into the night.
I prep for the upcoming week on the weekends (meals, shopping, preparing uniforms, etc.) so that saves a lot of time during the week.